I’ve spent some time the last week researching and studying about Satan and spiritual warfare. I really wanted to explore what the “evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” [Eph 6:12] actually do and, more importantly, how to recognize their work in my own life.
Through my work, I kept coming back to this;
Is Satan just getting a bad wrap? Meaning, is it always his fault?
How do we determine if we are under evil attack or just struggling with sin?
Satan didn’t cram that apple down Eve’s or Adam’s throat. He simply got them to believe the lie. Then when God confronted Eve, she said “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” [Genesis 3:13]. I wonder if this is where the whole “my brother made me do it” and “if your brother jumped off a bridge…” conversation first started? I mean the blame game works, right? We still do it today. Sometimes it is just in the name of warding off evil spirits instead of confronting our sin. You ever hear of the “too much social media keeps me from studying my bible” spirit? What about “I’m too tired to get up for quiet time – the spirit of laziness is all over me.” (PLEASE insert your fullest sarcastic tone there – I do not believe in these spirits!) What I’m trying to relay here is to some extent we’ve extended the evil spirits in the heavenly places teaching to somehow name every weakness or sin we encounter.
I am in no way belittling the spiritual warfare we all battle. We must be fully aware of the war we are engaged in prepared at all times with the Armor of God. What I am saying is that before you are quick to blame the demonic forces hanging around every corner of your life, maybe you should ask, “Is it Satan or me?” Satan deserves plenty of blame and certainly has little victory dances when we stumble and fall victim to his temptations attempts.
Satan is absolutely 100% accountable to much of the evil in the world, but we do have free will in the equation. It would be way too easy to just let Satan take the blame and get the full weight of our sinful nature off our shoulders. If it is Satan’s fault all the time, we have a scapegoat. If it is all Satan, then we do not have to come to terms with how totally utterly and hopelessly sinful we are. If it is all Satan, we lose sight of the deep need we have for all that Jesus did for us. Blaming Satan in our own sinful choices is not going to help us in any way achieve the victory over sin we are called to have.
Sin in our lives is a manifestation of our flesh, our human nature, where we have not completely conquered. In Galatians 5 we learn, “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these.” We all have something in our life we struggle with that’s just plain fleshed-out struggle, not a demonic attack. It is exactly this hopeless sinful person that Jesus came to save.
He came to set us free. “Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.” [Romans 6:18] He came so that, “Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.” [Romans 6:14).
Jesus took all our sin and bore the total weight at the cross. “IT IS FINISHED” he said. “In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.” [Colossians 2:15] And “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.” [Galatians 5:24]
Instead of blaming Satan, let’s examine the battle in our life. Let’s make a clear God led acknowledgement of where the battle lies. We need to recognize our sins and walk upright in the truth of Jesus who died for those very sins. Take up the saving promises of Jesus. Be keenly aware of our areas of weakness, where we stumble and confess them. Repent and walk in the light of glorious, merciful salvation. We can face sin head on and say, “we will not be overcome”. Find accountability partners that will hold us up and help us battle through our moments of potential failing. We need to “hide HIS word in our heart, so that we might not sin against Him.” [Psalm 119:11] (paraphrase and emphasis mine)
Let’s stop playing the blame game, hold ourselves accountable and know even though Satan will temp and do all in his power to influence us, we ourselves are accountable to our actions. God has already told us He “will not allow the temptation to be more than we can stand. When we are tempted, he will show us a way out so that we can endure.” [1 Corinthians 10:13]
Our eyes are glued to the one who saved us and we will follow his lead. Because HE is ALWAYS right. In Him there is perfect peace and promise of VICTORY for all who rest in his saving power. “Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world.” [John 4:4]
Pray with me: Dear Heavenly Father God, We are completely humbled to once again be in your presence through prayer. Thank you for always wanting to listen and for your unending patience as we struggle to learn and grow. We are face down in the presence of your holiness. Today, Lord, help us to see where we allow sin to control us and give us the courage to face it head on with full responsibility knowing your son already handled the forgiveness at the cross. May we continually humble ourselves with full accountability, confess, repent and turn from our sinful ways focusing on the Holy Spirit that lives in us and gives us strength. In Jesus name, Amen.
In His Grip, Ashlee