Ten Things I Think I Think About Satan And Demons

1. I think I think that the spirit realm is a lot more prevalent in the Scriptures than it is in our thinking. And that’s a problem. There is something about the western mindset that causes us to read countless biblical passages while (unintentionally) ignoring references to angelic/demonic forces. As I’ve been following The Crossing’s 2009 Bible Reading Plan along with some additional reading in the Scriptures, I’ve been once again surprised at how many times that Satan or one of his minions is mentioned.

2. I think I think that This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti created a lot of inappropriate fear among Christians. Now that doesn’t mean that the book was “all bad.” Not even close. One of the good aspects of the book is that it helps people blind to spiritual realities “see” them in a fresh and powerful way and imagine what the spiritual world might look like. But I’m not sure that on the whole the book leaves you with the confidence that God is in control of all things–including demonic forces. It’s good to remember that in the first two chapters of Job Satan is able to do only what God grants him permission to do.

3. I think I think that the biblical strategy is to resist Satan not cower before him. James 4:7: Submit yourselves to God, resist the Devil and he will flee from you. That word “flee” is interesting. According to Louw and Nida it means: to move quickly from a point or area in order to avoid presumed danger or difficulty. So when a Christian is submitted to God and resisting the Devil, the demonic spirits are the ones that are afraid, not the Christian.

4. I think I think that just because God is in control and that Christians shouldn’t fear demons, doesn’t mean that they don’t attack Christians. The Bible is full of warnings to the contrary. Here’s a sobering one: Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).

5. I think I think that Genesis 3:1-7 gives us a reliable paradigm of how Satan normally works against Christians. First, he disguises himself as a serpent (3:1). Satan almost never launches a frontal assault. Second, he makes God’s loving commands sound unreasonable (Did God really say…?! 3:1). Third, he calls God a liar (You will not certainly die…3:4) by suggesting that there aren’t negative consequences for our sin and rebellion. Fourth, he casts doubts on God’s motives that lie behind his commands (3:5).

6. I think I think that Satan (and his demonic forces) targets our mind in the same way that he did Eve’s. 2 Corinthians 11:3 But I’m afraid that just as Eve was decieved by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may some how be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. So Paul is afraid that we might believe Satan’s lies just like Eve did.

7. I think I think that it’s not easy to distinguish your own thoughts from Satan’s. In Acts 5 we find the story of Ananias and Sapphira lying to God (and the church) about how much they sold their property for. Peter says to Ananias, “…how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit….” I doubt that Ananias thought to himself, “This idea to lie to Peter and the church leadership is really from Satan because he has filled my heart to sin against God.” Instead my guess is that Ananias thought the idea was his own. My conclusion then is that we all need to be a bit more questioning of where our thoughts and ideas come from.

8. I think I think that one of Satan’s primary tactics is to accuse people. In Greek the word “devil” literally means slanderer. Then in Revelation 12:10 Satan is called the “accuser of the brothers.” This should give us great pause because it means that when we participate in slandering or accusing others (whether by speaking or listening), we are helping Satan accomplish his goals.

9. I think I think that the devil takes people captive to do his will. I know that’s an uncomfortable idea but it is exactly what 2 Timothy 2:26 says. And when he takes people captive, the way out is through repentance that comes as a result of gently presenting the truth of the gospel (2:25).

10. I think I think that the best books to read on this issue are Screwtape Letters by Lewis and Power Encounters by Powlison.

There’s more to say but it will have to wait for another post.

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