There are two main delusions when it comes to thinking about Satan.
The first is thinking that he can’t exist. “What?? You mean there really is a supernatural realm with angels and demons? I mean, there is a God, but isn’t the rest of that really not true?”
The second is giving him way too much credit and power and resorting to speculations that the Bible doesn’t teach. “Satan is prowling, and I have to be watchful! If I’m not careful, he’ll take away my faith! I guess I’ll try [this weird unBiblical ritual] and try to keep him away. Maybe I can resist him by learning more about him!”
But neither of these are what the Bible teaches. The Bible clearly teaches that Satan and a spiritual realm of angels and demons do exist. But on the other hand, the Bible does not tell us to resort to supernatural rituals to avoid his power.
Let’s take a look at what the Bible actually does teach about Satan.
Who is Satan?
A common misconception is that Satan is some kind of anti-God, and that he has the same power as God. In Job, we see proof that this is not true. Satan asks God if he is allowed to test Job’s faith, and this is the Lord’s response:
And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.”
Satan couldn’t do anything to Job until God let him. Satan’s powers do not equal God’s. They are superhuman but not supernatural, limited by the sovereignty of God.
God uses Satan’s deeds to fulfill His own good purposes; sort of like how those who persecute Christians have a completely different goal and purpose with it than God does. He uses what they do with evil intent in order to work some good. It’s the same way with Satan.
Satan does have power. But His power is not nearly as great as God’s.
His ultimate goal is to see Christians renounce God and fall away from their faith. He tries to do this through the various trials that are brought on us in this world. But we are called to resist.
Two Ways to Resist
Satan’s ultimate goal is to see Christians renounce God and fall away from their faith. He tries to do this through the various trials that are brought on us in this world. But we are called to resist.
Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
The first and most important way we must resist the devil is by cultivating a strong faith. This is something that we should be doing anyway, but this is yet another reason it is important.
How do we cultivate a strong, firm faith? By regular use of the means God has provided: reading your Bible, praying, personal worship, going to church, and taking the Lord’s Supper. These are here for a reason, and they are how your faith will be strengthened and you will grow closer to God.
The second way to resist the devil is through fellowship.
Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
-1 Peter 5:9
If we spend time with other believers, we will see that we are not the only ones going through trials in this life. In this way, we can reinforce the belief that we are united in this, that trials are part of being a Christian and through them God is working in our lives.
Please Don’t Joke About Satan
I have noticed that it is extremely common for people to make jokes about Satan, the devil, demons, etc. I have a friend who will often joke that certain people are Satan or even that she is Satan. This really makes me frustrated.
Satan is real. This is a real and serious thing. Messing around with the world of demons and devils is incredibly dangerous, but joking around about Satan is hardly less dangerous.
It makes us too comfortable and makes light of a serious subject.
Talking about Satan should not make us feel comfortable. God told us about this in order for us to be motivated to grow our faith and be watchful. It’s not supposed to be an easy topic, but rather a serious and thought-provoking one. Joking about it undermines all of that.
Satan is certainly real, but remember that God is sovereign, even over the devil. We are called to resist, but remember that God has already conquered Satan once and for all. Be watchful, but be encouraged.
Take Satan seriously, but don’t let fear overcome your life.