by Sarah Reinertsen
As Christians, we firmly believe in the existence and devastation of evil. The work of the deceiver, Satan, is apparent all throughout history and equally so in present times.
However, although most of us would confirm the contention that he most certainly exists, some of us are not aware of exactly how he operates. As Scripture tells us, our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the powers and authorities of the dark world and
against the evil forces (Eph. 6:12). There is a battle and there is an enemy. And today I want to share some insights with you in hopes of enlightening you to better understanding of our greatest and real enemy.
While the strategies and evil tactics of Satan are numerous, he also is very limited in the
ways he can attack us. First of all, He is NOT omniscient (all-knowing), nor is he
omnipresent (infinite), OR omnipotent (all-powerful). This means that he does not and cannot know your thoughts or inward conversations with the Holy Spirit.
Do you realize how freeing that is to know he cannot read what’s going on inside your mind?!
He only sees the external-- your words and your actions. He’s also, most definitely, a keen observer, and will quickly pick up on what we’re thinking and feeling based on how we react to our surroundings, whether that be a sarcastic or a legitimate reaction.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Satan cannot read our thoughts, but he CAN send you
thoughts, and boy does he love to do this through an entity, an unholy force or power named "sin" - not the act of sin, but the noun sin.
Have you ever had a thought pass through your mind that was so twisted, so wrong, so distasteful, and so quote on quote “sinful” that you instantly felt guilty and gross? Maybe you’ve even questioned your own Christianity a time or two after having a terrible thought twirl through your mind.
The shameful, degrading, prideful, and arrogant thoughts that pass through our minds on a daily basis are always wrapped in the package labeled “I am”.
Satan, using "the messenger boy - sin" (See Romans 7) rarely sends us second person (you) or third-person pronoun lies because he knows it will be blatantly obvious that we did not generate such ideas. But when we have thoughts of, “I am unworthy”, “I am ugly”, “I am stupid”, “I am impatient”, “I am pathetic”, OR of, “I am better than him/her”, “I am the best”, “I know better than they do”, etc. these all sound exactly like us. But I have good news for you… you did not create any of those thoughts!
Each of those ideas came straight from the hand of the deceiver. He coated them in first-person-singular pronouns, and further disguised them to be in your own tone of voice so that you would believe they were, in fact, your own thoughts.
So, wait, am I saying that we Christians are not ever responsible for having, or better put,
choosing bad thoughts? No, not at all. I’m merely saying that sinful thoughts never
originate from or start with us, nor do they ever come from our loving God.
We have been given the mind of Christ; (but we have this mindset - flesh that works with sin to produce unholy thoughts. As believers, we have a choice to walk after the flesh or after the Spirit. The Spirit will never force thoughts on you - the spiritual world of darkness will always try to impress unholy, tempting or selfish thoughts) (we must recognize that we ARE a new creation - the old has passed and the new has come, and because of that we have a choice to walk in the newness of life, we are no longer even able to conjure up a sinful, shameful idea on our own. However, we are still fully capable of taking ownership of an evil thought when it is presented to us. That is why Paul constantly reminded us saints to take our thoughts captive. The threshold of our mind is a raging battlefield; thoughts from God and thoughts from Satan are constantly cascading in our brains.
The victory comes in knowing we are free from the mastery of Satan and sin that the
weapons he fires at us can be dodged and blocked with Truth. You and the Holy Spirit
now construct ideas that are one-in-the-same, making the deceiver’s platter of thoughts
more easily recognizable. The more we saturate ourselves in Truth, the more a lie is
easily spotted. Our duty comes in handcuffing every questionable thought we encounter
and taking it directly to the throne of God. If it is from Satan, Jesus will reveal it and destroy it, and we are left free to rest knowing that we are not in a civil war against ourselves and our own thoughts.
Satan is not omniscient. He also is not omnipresent. He can’t be everywhere at once. He uses the messenger boy to do his dirty work. So, if you feel particularly attacked on a certain day, it probably means you are!
Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). But He also is forced to leave at the mere mention of Jesus’s name. With that in mind, think of the power you have against the enemy just within your tongue! Speaking Truth of our identity out loud and claiming Christ is victorious in every moment are both instant blows to the face of Satan in which he is left with no other option but to retreat.
It’s important to realize that there is nothing more disgusting to Satan than a Christian expressing the life of Jesus. Ever wonder why it seems the worst things seem to happen to the best of people? Maybe it’s because earth is the only place for Satan to try his best to destroy God’s people. And who are his biggest targets?
Christians of course! We are the threat. Unbelievers/unregenerate people are already
within his grasp, he doesn’t have to worry so much about attacking them.
If you’ve ever thought that Christians are unaffected by evil, please think again! We are
his outright enemies, and he constantly tries to convince us, intimidate us and demoralize us into believing that Christ’s triumph over him and his kingdom of evil was not final or successful.
Stand strong! The armor of God is sufficient for you in the fight against evil. Satan may seem strong, but God is so much stronger. God is omnipotent, Satan is not. God is the author and essence of Truth. Satan is the father of lies. Good conquered evil at the cross and won.
Everything about Satan is secondary to our God. We Christians can definitely be affected by evil, but we also are free to escape it. The Holy Spirit is there to convince and remind us of Truth. He speaks inwardly to us where Satan has absolutely no clue what is being said. God knows what the future holds; Satan can only work with the present at hand.
We have the key to victory living within us now, and now, and now. Christ’s life flows
freely out of us. Our thoughts imitate (are) His thoughts.
Satan’s lies can sneak into our minds but we have the authority, in Jesus’s name, to throw them right back out. Dwell on the Truth. Set your mind on heavenly things. Believe the words spoken to you by your Father. Realize that the deceiver is real and his attacks are persistent. If we become blindsided into believing we, as Christians, are in this fight alone, or worse that we are fighting against ourselves, will only stunt our maturing in victory.
YOU are good! There is no dissonance between you and God. You are blameless, acceptable, holy, and SO loved… and Satan does not want you to know that.