You Can Stand Firm Against Satan’s Machinations

Do you recognize the existence of an invisible enemy who is determined to mitigate God’s sovereignty and man’s allegiance to him?

You Can Stand Firm Against Satan’s Machinations
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”—Ephesians 6:11

By Olaide Ekunsumi
Does Satan really exist? Many people have erroneously argued that in the Bible, “Satan” refers only to the evil within man. Contrary to this argument, the Bible tells us in the gospels of Matthew and Luke that Jesus Christ was directly tempted three times. Jesus, however, answered by way of rejection, quoting from the Scriptures. Jesus used the Scriptures in the form of an answer each time he was tempted because the Devil himself misapplied those scriptures in order to make him sin and fail miserably in his mission as God’s seed.—Matthew 4: 1-11; Luke 4 1-13.

Satan wanted to break the integrity of the promised seed. Wise to his crafty ways and machinations, Jesus firmly rejected the ancient Tempter. How did Satan react? “So the Devil, having concluded all the temptation, retired from him until another convenient time.” Satan was frustrated “and look! Angels came and began to minister to Jesus.” — Luke 4:13; Matthew 4:11

According to a historian, “To deny the existence and central importance of the Devil in Christianity is to run counter to apostolic teaching and to the historical development of Christian doctrine.”
This presents a challenge for all the people on earth today. Do you recognize the existence of an invisible enemy who is determined to mitigate God’s sovereignty and man’s allegiance to him?

The Devil’s True Identity
Satan is a powerful spirit creature. He was originally created as an angel, with access to God’s heavenly court. (Job 1:6) Satan, however, exercised free will in opposition to God; and deceived Adam and Eve into disobedience and death. (2 Corinthians 11:13). Thus he became Satan, which means “Adversary”—a rebel, a demon, a manslayer, and a liar (John 8:44)

Remember how Paul described him in 2Corinthians 6:14 that “Satan himself keeps transforming himself into an angel of light,” when in actual fact, he is the ruler of this dark world. (Ephesians 6:12)
W.E Vine describes the Devil as “being the malignant enemy of God and man.” The great Adversary is not sitting pretty or idle. (1 Peter 5:8) That is why a proverb says “The Devil finds work for idle hands to do.” We have to understand that he is out to subvert all genuine Christians (2Timothy 3:12) He concentrates on God’s people for only one reason: he already has the rest of the world in his grip. (1 John 5:19). Because of this, he will resort to every crafty and diabolical means as well as subtle acts or suggestion in order to subject God’s people to his rulership—Mark 4:14; 15; Luke 8:12.
Satan has studied human behaviour and psychology for so long that he understands our inborn and acquired defects. He knows how to play on our weaknesses and vanity. What do you think would happen if your enemy knew your weaknesses and you failed to recognize them yourself? This means you are ill-equipped to defend yourself, since you are not aware of the chunks in your spiritual armour. (1 Corinthians 10:12; Hebrews 12:12, 13)

Being able to see ourselves as others see us, especially as God or Satan sees us, requires honest self-analysis and appraisal as well as the will to make a change. It is so easy to fall into the trap of self-deception (James 1:23, 24). It is baffling how we often rationalize and justify our course of action! And how easy it is to say, “Well, no one is perfect, you know.” Satan knows and he does not hesitate to take advantage of our imperfection. (2 Samuel 11: 2-27) With subtlety Satan has probably led us through life using our inborn selfishness to blind us. We have failed to capture the essence of the true mind of Jesus Christ—love, compassion, and kindness. (1 John 4:8, 11, 20)

In order to resist Satan, we must examine ourselves. Do you have a weakness that Satan could exploit or is exploiting? Do you have an ego problem? Must you always be number one? Is pride eating away at your integrity? Is it your motivating force? Does jealousy, envy or love of money distort your personality? Do you have a chip on your shoulder? Are you hypersensitive when offered suggestions or criticism? Are you cold, cynical and unapproachable? Do you resent or refuse counsel? If we know ourselves and our weaknesses, we can rectify such problems before they become a tool in Satan’s hands. Let us avoid leaving ourselves open to his machinations (1 Timothy 3:6-7; Hebrews 12:7, 11; 1Peter 5: 6-8).

Satan also has the ability to undermine our spirituality in a subtle, insidious way. Many people in recent years have fallen into Satan’s trap of immorality. The Devil knows that mankind’s sexual impulses are powerful, and through this world system, he highlights, perverts, and distorts the role of sexuality. (Numbers 1-3) Unmarried Christians may be tempted into fornication or other sexual abuses (Proverbs 7: 6-23).

We live in a world where lies, deceit and violent anger are rife. Satan makes use of the media to put across this degraded mentality. If we allow that thinking to affect us, we may start giving way to “minor” sins, which become a thin edge of the wedge of “major” ones. Satan’s subtle suggestions easily insinuate themselves into our thinking. But how can we resist such influences? Never “allow place for the Devil,” as the apostle Paul counselled. That means to control whom you allow to your home through the television. (Ephesians 4: 23-32)

How to Resist Satan and Remain Faithful to God
With such a powerful, superhuman enemy, raging against us day and night, how can we keep our integrity? The answer is found in James 4:7: “Subject yourselves, therefore, to God, but oppose the Devil and he will flee from you.” This involves loving God’s will and hating Satan’s. (Romans 12:9) James further says: “Draw close to God and he will draw close to you. Cleanse your minds, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you indecisive ones.” (James 4:8) There is no room for half-heartedness in our resistance to Satan. We cannot afford to risk our integrity by seeing how close we can come to the line of demarcation from wickedness. We must thoroughly “hate what is bad.” (Psalm 97:10)

The most outstanding counsel on how to resist Satan is found in Ephesians Chapter 6. How does Paul advise us to resist Satan’s “craftiness”, “schemes” or “tactics”? (Ephesians 6:11) “Put on the complete suit of armour from God,” Paul counsels. The expression “complete suit” leaves no room for a sloppy attitude toward Christianity, anymore than a soldier could be sloppy when preparing for battle.
Imagine a soldier with the entire suit of armour except the shield and the helmet.  He could have said to himself: “That shield is too large, and the helmet is too heavy. I don’t really need them.” How can you be armed to fight without your main items of defence? To repel Satan’s missiles, we cannot omit any part of our spiritual armour.

It is unimaginable for a soldier to be without a sword. “The sword of the spirit” is a fine defence used to slash the weaponry that Satan brings against a Christian. Our “sword” should ever be at the ready.

Olaide Ekunsumi

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