Practical Application of the Word of God
Is it true that Satan and the demons are a constant influence that is not only pervasive in the world as we encounter it with God’s spirit granting us the ability to detect it, but also that is palpably present many times in our personal lives and in our personal interactions with others?
Or is it true, as I’ve recently had someone within the ekklesia say publicly and to me, in a lengthy conversation, personally, that actual Satanic/demon presence and influence is rare and that most issues and problems we encounter have a physical emotional (trauma, abuse, etc.) or mental (depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc.) cause instead?
Therefore, we will go to the only sure source of truth to find out what God – our ultimate authority – says about the influence on and presence of Satan and demons with regard to us (humanity, including the ekklesia).
God’s word says that Satan has been influencing humans up close and personally from the beginning. We’re told in Genesis 3:1-5 that Satan was in the garden of Eden talking with Eve, influencing her to believe him and not God (see my full discussion of Genesis 3 for context and background).
God’s word tells us that Satan and demons influence people.
We see Satan directly influence David to sin against God in I Chronicles 21:1.
There are key things we learn about Satan and how he works directly to influence and attack humanity – but especially those of us who are committed to following God – in the book of Job. And if it is true about Satan, then it’s true about the demons too.
We’re told by the word of God that:
We learn from God’s word in the New Testament even more about Satan and the demons and how pervasive their influence and presence is in our lives as followers of God and Jesus Christ.
We start with Matthew 4. While we see the last phase of Satan tempting Jesus Christ, be assured that Satan was breathing in Christ’s ear every second of every minute of every hour of every one of those 40 days (in fact, I guarantee that Satan was right there the entire time Jesus was on the earth trying to trip Him up).
This is as up close and personal as it gets. And if Satan did it with our Shepherd, then there is no reason to believe he’s not dogging those of us who are following the Lamb wherever He goes every step of our lives. It’s palpable.
Matthew 4 gives us more insight into the tactics Satan uses and this is all the more reason why we should be satiating our hunger and our thirst continually with the Bread of Life and with the living water that God gives us access to, understanding of, and discernment of with regard to what is true, what is almost true, and what is untrue.
Notice that Satan knows the word of God very well. My opinion is that he knows it far better than most of us Christians do (which is why we need to have God’s word implanted in us and pray continually for God’s spirit to lead and guide us in it and by it). However, Satan takes scripture completely out of its context and twists it to lead astray.
Although I shouldn’t have to do this explicitly, I will connect the dots of what this means for you and me.
We can be deceived and led astray by this misuse of God’s word. And the misuse can be from anyone, including ourselves.
We have to know God’s Word, live it, understand it, stay connected to it continually, praying without ceasing for God’s spirit to lead us into all righteousness.
Satan will jump on any opportunity to get us off the path of righteousness and into the spiritual wilderness of ditches, weeds, and roads that shouldn’t be taken. We have to be careful not to give Satan that opportunity.
That means clinging to what God says He requires of us as believers. Those are the black and white things in scripture (not human definitions) and God’s own words.
It means as well that we do not allow ourselves to get all tangled up in the gray areas of scripture where God simply doesn’t tell us enough or, in some cases, anything to give us a clear directive.
If it’s important to God and necessary for salvation, then He spells it out in His word in black and white. It’s just that simple.
Satan will try to trip us up one-on-one in the gray areas. He will also try to trip us up in general with scriptures out of context, twisted, angled, spun, or otherwise perverted.
If we don’t know and understand God’s word (this requires prayer for God’s spirit, for wisdom, for understanding, dedicated and daily Bible study, and daily periods of uninterrupted meditation), then we won’t know when we’re being tripped up in either of these methods that Satan uses.
Jesus Christ sets the example of how to fight Satan’s attacks with scripture. Christ answers Satan with the exact right scripture that Satan can’t argue with or refute. That, my friends, is the kind of spiritual maturity we should all be praying for.
Throughout the gospel accounts, we see demon possession as a pervasive problem. The same departure from and rejection of God’s word, God’s way, and God Himself that led the Jews into syncretism and even to embracing the dark side from the nations around it exists in our society today.
Why would we not think that demon possession is as much a problem for humans today (and some within the ekklesia, because they have not girded up the loins of their minds) with a culture that embraces evil – magic, sorcery, vampires, walking dead, horror – as dark and as macabre as the human imagination can make it?
We see from Christ’s own words that Satan asks for us individually by name to try to shake our belief and our faith and that God allows him access (Luke 22:31-32).
We see that we are in continual spiritual warfare – this, my friends, is hand-to-hand combat – against Satan and the demons and that we must continually wear the spiritual armor from God to stand (it is God who fights for us).
We have a reminder of Satan’s own words in Job with the explanation that Satan hunts us down and will devour us if we are spiritually weak (I Peter 5:8).
And in the book of Revelation we’re told that Satan accuses the ekklesia day and night to God at His throne, leaving no doubt that he and his demons are very close by and in our lives, tempting us, waiting for us to take the bait, and in those times that we take the bait then Satan runs back up to God and says, “See? I told you so!”
So now that we’ve done a brief tour of God’s word with regard to Satan, demons, humanity and the ekklesia, let’s answer from God’s word which of the two questions posed at the beginning of this post is true.
God’s word definitively says that Satan and the demons are a constant influence that is not only pervasive in the world as we encounter it with God’s spirit granting us the ability to detect it, but also that is palpably present many times in our personal lives and in our personal interactions with others. That is truth.
As a warning, if we really believe the second question is true, then we’re in spiritual danger. If we deny the power of Satan and demons and we do not believe that there is a spiritual war going on with them, then we don’t recognize our enemy and our adversary.
We make excuses for Satan and the demons and that is a form of being deceived. That’s ground I don’t want to walk anywhere near and I pray that God will intervene with all of the ekklesia, even those near that ground now, and will correct our paths back to the solid ground of His word in mercy and compassion.