Satan: Our Adversary

Screen Shot 2023-01-24 at 3.22.36 PM_cleanupWhat immediately comes to your mind when you hear the name, “Satan“? Some of us may imagine a human like being with horns, dressed in red, wearing a cape, and carrying a pitchfork. That’s the Hollywood version of Satan. How does the Bible describe Satan? That is what I want to focus on with this article.

I. Satan’s characteristics

There are a couple of names that the Bible uses to describe this being. One of those names is Satan. The name Satan means adversary. An adversary is a hostile opponent. An adversary is against you, trying to defeat you. Another name for this being is the Devil. The word devil comes from the Greek word “Diabolos“. It literally means someone who constantly hurls accusations trying to get at least one of them to stick.

13 “But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north.
14 ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ (Isaiah 14)

Satan’s favorite person is Satan. Did you notice how many times the personal pronoun “I” was used in Isaiah 14? Satan has always wanted to be like God. He has always been jealous of God.

No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. (II Corinthians 11:14)

Why does Satan disguise himself?

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (I Peter 5:8)

Satan disguises himself so that he can interact with people and destroy them. Satan cannot be God and he cannot directly harm God so he turns his focus and rage on God’s creation, mankind. How does he do it? What are some of his tactics?

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.
11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. (Ephesians 6)

The word schemes is a translation of the Greek word “Methodeia“. It’s the word that we get method and methodical form. It is a carefully crafted path full of destruction. If you have ever seen the movie, “Home Alone” then you know that the protagonist, Kevin, does not actually harm the criminals himself. Instead, he lays out traps that they step in and harm themselves. This is what our enemy, Satan, does to us. We cannot blame him because at the end of the day, we step in the traps.

II. Satan in action

We do not have to read far into the Bible to encounter this being in action. Satan is revealed in Genesis 3 and he is manifested as a serpent. The root of the Hebrew word that is translated “serpent” in English is “Nachash“. That root word is translated into English as “divination“. There are many synonyms for divination. Several of the more common ones today are “fortunetelling“, “horoscope“, “palm reading“, and “omens“. Divination comes to English from Latin and it means, “god like“. Do you remember what we learned in the previous section about Satan? He wanted to be like God. This word serpent points us to the one who wants to be godlike.

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden ‘?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat;
3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’ ”
4 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!
5 “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3)

The first thing that this adversary does is to cast doubt on the Word of God. Satan is not creative. He uses the same tactics over and over again. Then, he moves to direct lies. Satan directly contradicts the Word of God. Finally, he convinces the woman to disobey God by promising her that she can be like God. Satan knew that this was not possible because it did not work for him. He fell because of his pride and now he sets the same trap for the woman and the man. They fell for it, just as Satan fell for it. All Satan did was lay the traps. They stepped in them and harmed themselves. He works the same way today. He wants us to doubt the Word of God. He wants us to follow his lies. He wants us to give in to our pride and fall as he fell. Does victory exist or are we doomed to fall for these traps over and over again?

III. Keys to victory

The keys to victory were already mentioned in the texts quoted in the first section of this article.

  • Be sober in spirit (I Peter 5:8)
  • Be strong in the Lord (Ephesians 6:10)
  • Put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:11)
  • Be sanctified in the Truth (John 17:17)

Let me unpack those statements just a bit. The word sober means to be calm, to be steady, not extreme ups and downs. Another way of saying it is to stay focused. Don’t let the the enemy distract you with his shiny traps. The Lord lays His strength at the disposal of the followers of Jesus Christ. Stand in that strength and walk in it. Buckle up the armor of God that is at your disposal. Stay firmly connected to the Word of God so that you will not doubt when Satan lies to you. Victory is at your disposal. Are you walking in that victory?

May the Lord help us be sober and on the lookout for the enemy’s traps.

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