How does Satan work?
Something I state fairly often is “I don’t know the technical interaction of how Satan, Demons, the sinful nature of man, fallen creation, free will and evil; I’m not sure how they work.” What I can say without a doubt is they do work. There is evil. Satan is a fallen angel who is condemned already to hell forever. He knows where he is going. So what does he want to do? How does he work? What’s his purpose? I’ve learned there are four things the enemy wants to do.
1. Satan the Separator – Judas Iscariot was able to be a part of The Twelve. He had he same power the other eleven had. He went out on the same mission trips the others did. He at some point chose to follow Jesus. He experienced Jesus healing, feeding 5000, teaching, and living out the gospel. Yet, at some point in time, Satan put it in Judas mind, his heart to live a life separated from God and the other eleven.
Scripture says, “Now by the time of supper, the Devil has already put it into the heart of Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, to betray Him [Jesus] ~ John 13:2
We can be so close to the things of God and God Himself, yet we can live a compartmentalized life. We can all be Judas. Satan wants to separate us. Satan hates the people of God. Satan is evil because he chose to be and he cannot be changed now. It’s too late for him. So Satan’s one purpose is to work against God. Satan can’t touch God, so he often goes for the next best thing: God’s people.
Jesus prayed His desired purpose for unity because He knows the church is strongest when it’s together. Jesus said, “May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one is Us so the world may believe You sent Me” ~ John 17:21.
Satan is a separator. He wants to separate the people of God. If you see separation in the church where you live and serve, you can know Satan is behind it. He wants to separate your friends, family and faith family. If Satan can separate, he is well on his way to messing up our families, our churches.
Do you see God wants unity and Satan wants separation? The next time you have relational separation happening, remember Satan is behind it (Matt 16:23). And remember it may not just be you who are viewing the situation from the outside angle. Satan will use anyone to bring division in his people. I’ve learned to be careful at every angle. God deserves it.
2. Satan the Isolator – Peter the Son of Jonah became the mouthpiece of the church in Acts 1-12. He was a fisherman before Jesus called him to join up. Peter, never scared to jump up with a bold proclamation, said, ” …. I will lay my life down for You” (John 13:37). We all know Peter ended up denying Jesus around the fire barrel and left weeping and broken (Mark 14:72). Peter left disappointed and demoralized. That’s what happens when Satan isolates a Christian. He wants to isolate because he works in isolation. He will talk a person out of church, of out fellowship, away from accountability in community, away, away, away, from everything God, etc.
The next time you find yourself isolated? Remember who wants you there. It’s not God (Psalm 133)
3. Satan the Demoralizer – Judas. Peter. Both got demoralized after Satan worked in their lives. Once separated, then isolated, Satan works on our emotions. Our souls. He gets us alone and makes us forget God, forget Jesus work on the cross, he makes us have mental conversations that are time wasters and hate breeders. He gets us alone and make it rain. Judas committed suicide. Peter left weeping. Jesus knew Peter was hurting to the extent that He gave news of the resurrection specifically to Peter (Mark 16:5). Satan can depress us. He desires to suck the spiritual life from us like a new vacuum on a dusty floor. But Jesus, he restored Peter to the ministry as Peter repented and made himself available to God again (John 21).
The next time you feel demoralized, look back to see how Satan is working. Get your identity from the cross of Jesus Christ. Claim Gal 2:20 as you run forward for God.
4. Satan the Decimator – Peter knew this better than anyone. He experienced the works of Satan, the influence of evil and the restoration and healing of God. Peter blew it, lived with it, came back from it and learned from it. He knew what Satan did to Judas. Satan decimated Judas life. Satan doesn’t just want to sideline or sidetrack God’s people . He want to take us out. That is scary, but it’s true. Peter said in his letter, “Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour” (1 Pet 5:8). He wants to take believers out of action. He wants to get us unprotected, separated, demoralized so he can decimate us in isolation.
Does seeing Satan’s activity as a decimator put urgency in you to walk close to Jesus?
What can we do to protect ourselves, our families and our church families?
- Stay in the word and live from it; take a Bible everywhere you go – Matt 4:1-11
- Pray at all times, especially with a few other passionate praying people – Acts 4:31; 1 Thess 5:17; Col 4:2
- Remain humble no matter what – 1 Peter 5:6-7
I heard a great quote somewhere. It this, “Obedience brings the presence of God; humility keeps the presence of God.”