In sports, there is a high value placed on knowing your opponent. At the professional, college, and even high school level, coaches and players will spend countless hours studying their opponents and game planning in order to prepare for their upcoming events. Similarly, during times of war, leaders and soldiers in the armies involved spend lots of time and energy scouting the enemy, learning their locations, strong points, and weakness, and training daily so that they can be better equipped to defeat their enemies.
What many people don’t realize, however, is that we are fighting a similar battle every single day! Every day, all of us are battling temptations. And similarly to those coaches or military leaders, we have to continue to study our game plan and understand our opponent so that we can be better equipped to defeat him. That opponent being Satan.
That’s going to be our topic for the day – Satan. You know, that old serpent from the story of Adam and Eve. The Great Deceiver. The antithesis of Christ and salvation. But how much do we really know about Satan? That’s what we’re going to explore a bit today – who is Satan, and what does he want?
As a quick note, something we won’t be touching in this post is the origins of Satan. That’s a topic that will have it’s own post at a later time.
As I like to do quite often with key terms from the scripture, I would like to first point out the definition of the Hebrew/Latin word for “satan” – to show enmity to, to oppose, to plot against. A really good example of this word being put to use is in Matthew 16.
But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
It should be pretty clear that Jesus wasn’t saying that Peter is Satan as we typically think about saying. What Jesus was doing here, though, is pointing out that what Peter was saying was contrary to the will of God. Therefore, Peter in this case, by definition, was satan – an opposition to Christ.
So then who is actually Satan, the being that we give the name of Satan? We have a lot of descriptions of Satan through the scriptures. He’s described as a serpent, as we all know in Genesis 3.
Now the serpent was more cunning that any beast of the field with the Lord God has made
Satan is also described as our adversary and a roaring lion in 1 Peter 5.
1 Peter 5:8
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
And in the book of Revelation, chapter 12, we also see an illustration of a great dragon.
And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the devil, and satan, who deceives the whole world.
With all of these descriptions, the mental images we have of Satan are very fearsome – a serpent, a great dragon, a hungry, roaring lion. That should give us some insight as to what Satan’s goal is, which is to ultimately destroy us so that we can suffer as he suffers.
Let’s take a look now at what Satan does to try and bring us down. We know that Satan is a liar and a tempter, but he is also a murderer, doing what he can to destroy our souls. But we also know that he is a betrayer and does not stand in the light of God.
You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it
But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your hear to lie to the Holy Spirit?”
And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him,
1 Timothy 3:6
lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.
Clearly, Satan is not against using any tactic to try and tempt us into doing evil. He wants nothing more than to destroy our lives and bring us down into misery, that we might be tempted to sin against God and lose our salvation (more about falling from grace in a later post).
But the evil of Satan is not limited to just mere men. No, Satan will try and tempt anyone into sinning, including Jesus Himself! Take a look at Matthew Chapter 4.
Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
5 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:
‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’
‘Intheirhands they shall bear you up,Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”
8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”
Time and time again, Satan tried to tempt Jesus into doing things that were not according to God’s will. But Jesus’s responses to each of these trials gives us a great example that we can follow today.
4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
7 Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”
10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”
But we don’t always follow Jesus’s example. Temptations are hard to overcome some time, and no man can possibly be as strong as courageous in the face of adversity as Jesus. But here’s the good part:
You don’t have to be!
Of course we don’t have the same powers as Jesus had. He had powers to walk on water, to heal the sick, and to forgive sin on earth. Nobody today has those powers. But what we do have is the word of God, and by following the commandments we have been given, we can have power over Satan and however he decides to tempt us. Check out what Paul says in 1 Corinthians:
1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
There is literally nothing that Satan can tempt us with that we simply cannot withstand. God will not allow us to be tempted in such a way! Any sin that we fall into is something that we have the strength to overcome so long as we put on the whole armor of God!
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the DEVIL.
Thanks for reading today! If you have any thoughts, feel free to comment or send a message. If there are any topics you would like to see discussed here, please let me know!