The Bible explains that we are engaged in a war of the worlds, a spiritual battle of good against evil. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”1
Once we have received Jesus as our Savior, we don’t have to worry about or fear Satan’s power because we are protected by the power of the Holy Spirit, which is far greater. The Lord’s protection is just like a force field around us, and the Devil cannot penetrate it! We are overshadowed, we are enveloped. “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”2 The Devil’s aim is to hinder God’s children in any way he can, but he has no power over us because we are the Lord’s. Satan cannot so much as touch us without God’s permission, which God only gives when He has a reason and knows it will have a good result.
But while the Devil has no direct power over us physically, he can try to influence our thoughts, attitudes, and decisions. So we don’t need to fear the Devil, but we do need to be on our guard. In order to not be outwitted, we should not be “ignorant of his devices [schemes].”3 To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
The Devil is clever and cunning. If he were to always use obvious methods and come around with horns and a pitchfork, we would instantly recognize his attacks. So instead, he shrewdly twists the truth. For example, you or someone you love is sick or has had an accident, and you blame yourself. You feel that maybe if you had done things differently, the whole thing might never have happened. Such feelings are only natural. God may also be trying to help you avoid similar problems in the future. But if once you’ve prayed for the Lord’s forgiveness and to learn what you need to, you still suffer from overwhelming feelings of guilt and remorse, this is the Devil’s doing. If you’ve made a mistake, the Devil tries to continually remind you of it and magnify it until you lose all hope and faith in God’s love. His goal is to convince you that God can’t forgive you, others can’t forgive you, you can’t undo the damage, so you might as well quit. Take a ride on that train of thought, and the Devil has won.
Discouragement and condemnation are occupational hazards for a Christian. The Devil would like nothing better than to get us to take our eyes off of God and His promises. In place of faith, hope, and promises, he will gladly weigh us down with fears, discouragement, and lies—and it often starts with some problem we encounter. He tries to pile his worries and fears and doubts so high that we can’t see over them to the answers and solutions that Jesus has guaranteed us in His Word.
God has given us a Bible-full of wonderful promises of deliverance, victory, overcoming, protection, healing, wisdom, success, and everything else we need to be happy and whole. These assurances are ours to claim, but our natural human minds tend to hold on to the things we can see and feel. We have difficulty trusting or believing in that which is unseen or unproven to our senses. God wants us to go beyond that. He wants us to trust Him and believe He is able to work everything out for the best, even when things couldn’t look worse.
Another trick the Devil often uses is this: we pray and ask God to help or change a situation, but the answer doesn’t come immediately, or it’s not the one we expected or wanted. The Devil will try to seize this opportunity to get us to doubt. He will tell us that because God is allowing us to suffer, He is breaking His promises, therefore He must not love us or care about us. If we give in repeatedly to this train of thought, our faith becomes weaker and weaker.
So it’s important to learn to recognize these thoughts for what they are—lies from the Devil, intended to drag you down, make you miserable, and rob you of your faith. So fight back and resist the Devil by calling on Jesus to deliver you from the wiles of Satan.
There’s always going to be opposition from the forces of evil, but it’s no match for God’s power: “I give [My sheep] eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.”4 “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the Devil.”5 We may lose a few battles, but we’ll win the war. We’re on the winning side and cannot lose!