Many might say that Satan cannot influence us. After all, we belong to the Church of the Eternal God and are therefore members of the Body of Christ. But do we understand how Satan exerts influence, how he operates, how he deceives us? A deceived person is not aware of being deceived.
We find a statement in Ephesians 2:2 about Satan, who is “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience…”
Satan, the god of this world is “the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.” Now we might assume that this excludes true Christians, who would have nothing to worry about, since as a matter of principle, they are not children of disobedience.
That would be a terrible mistake. When we are tempted by Satan and fall for his devices, we are no longer obedient. Satan broadcasts his waves through the air, and just like receiving electrical waves through the radio or the internet, they can be received by us. We may not see them or hear them, but if we have the “right tuning” and frequency, we receive Satan’s waves like one receives radio waves.
Satan implants his message into our heads through the human spirit. Our reception is, by default, tuned to Satan’s wavelength.
He does not broadcast in words or in pictures, but rather, he broadcasts an attitude of self-centeredness, vanity, lust, greed, jealousy, envy, competition, strife, violence, hatred, resentment, bitterness, rebellion and defiance of authority. All this describes human nature; respectively, the nature of Satan.
God’s Way, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. It is the Way of love, of concern for the well-being of others.
Now, properly baptized Christians have received the Holy Spirit and can reject Satan’s impulses through regular Bible study, prayer, and Church attendance. And likewise, the children of converted Christians can reject Satanic impulses through Bible study, prayer, and Church attendance. They ought to be close to God, and this is the only way they can succeed in resisting Satan, because Satan cannot impose his will on us.
Paul writes about those for whom the gospel was hidden. In 2 Corinthians 4:4, he speaks of those, “whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”
Paul feared that the Corinthians would be deceived by Satan, who still existed and was working powerfully, as was the case with Eve. In 2 Corinthians 11:3, we read: “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
Satan is still working, even in the members of God’s Church, just as he did in the Corinthians who were also members of the Church!
Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus, which was part of the Church of God, in Ephesians 6:10:
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”
He continued in verse 12: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” And in verse 11, he said: “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
These admonitions apply to us today. We must never think that Satan cannot tempt or deceive us. Satan is stronger than us, but not stronger than Jesus Christ. Some have left God’s Church because Satan deceived them. But a deceived person does not know that he has been deceived. He may think that he is correct. If that person knew about his deception, he would think and act differently. We must therefore approach God in prayer and ask Him to deliver us from any temptation. All of us must rely on Christ.
Satan is powerful, clever and acts quickly. His greatest trick was convincing people he didn’t exist. But he does indeed exist!
Satan’s way is neither better than nor as good as God’s Way; otherwise, God would tell us to “walk Satan’s way.” We are not to compromise either. What did Elijah write in 1 Kings 18:21? “And Elijah came to all the people, and said, ‘How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.’ But the people answered him not a word.”
Again, we need to watch out and be on guard. We need to be mindful of our environment and our “friendships”. For a little leaven leavens the whole lump. One rotten apple in the basket will infect the apples next to it and they will rot, and so on, until all the apples in the whole basket are rotten.
This must not happen in the Church of God.
Satan still has influence. It requires constant vigilance to keep our minds and spirits focused on Christ, on His work and on the things of God, and to avoid falling for Satan and his demons by adopting the attitude of self-centeredness or focusing on respecting the person.
We must not allow ourselves to be distracted from God’s Way. For example, if we have neglected Bible study and prayer, we should not be surprised if we are irritable or judging others, if we have thoughts of competition or divisiveness, or if we mistakenly side with others. This all originates from Satan, for whose spirit of discord we have fallen. This would quench the love of God in our hearts.
That is why Christ warns us through Peter in 1 Peter 5:8: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” The Living Bible adds “hungry” – a lion that roars out of hunger.
Satan is trying to destroy us and the Church of God. There is a reason why God inspired Peter to write down the above-stated warning. We would be terrified if a hungry and roaring lion stood before us. Peter continues in verse 9: “Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”
What do we read in James 4:7-8? “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
It is possible for Satan to make use of us, without us knowing it. We must acknowledge and confess our sins, and God will be faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness:
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
If we have such a God-pleasing attitude and mindset, we will be able to avoid Satan’s influence in our lives better and better.
Lead Writer: Christoph Sperzel (Germany)
Initial Translation: Daniel Blasinger