“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I, [Jesus Christ], have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” — John 10:10.
Satan’s priorities are stealing, killing and destruction. Let’s look a little closer at those priorities:
First he steals, but what exactly does he steal? What is the most important thing humans have that Satan wants? There are many very wealthy persons on Earth, having extremely large amounts of money; is it their money Satan wants to steal? No, Satan is a spiritual being who has no human needs or desires, so it is unlikely that stealing money is his primary goal. Some of the wealthier people also possess large amounts of land; does Satan want to steal their land? No, land for Satan is a no brainer since he already has control over all the empires and kingdoms of the world (Matthew 4:8 and Luke 4:5-6).
Satan always tries to steal the most valuable thing we have, the most important gift God ever gave to us: HIS WORD. If he is successful in stealing the word from our hearts, he can easily influence our minds and turn us aside from our walk with God. In order to do so, he desperately needs to separate us from the Word of God. Everything we receive from God, including His word, we receive by faith.
Secondly, because our faith comes from Jesus Christ, Who IS the word, Satan’s desire is to kill our faith. He knows, and every Christian should also know, that faith ONLY works by, and through, the word of God, making Satan’s first priority to steal the Word.
Faith is a spiritual substance which does not work through the flesh; but just as a physical muscle can be strengthened and made larger by proper diet, proper exercise and repetitious use, our spiritual substance of faith can be strengthened by proper diet (The word), proper exercise and repetitious use. And just as the physical muscles can also be weakened by neglect and sloth, so can faith be weakened, to the point of being useless.
Faith, when exercised, gains in strength and power or to put it in a simple term: It grows. Just as a man with large, well exercised muscles is usually a terror to a bully, so a man with growing faith is a terror to Satan. In fact, Satan’s greatest fear is of the Word, and because the Word is received by faith, he MUST steal the word from you in order to kill your faith. Yes, Satan fears the Word more than anything on this earth because Jesus (the Word) has already soundly defeated him and taken all his authority, using only His word.
One way Satan works to destroy our faith is by convincing us that we do not need to add anything to our faith for it to be productive. He would love to convince us that as long as we “have faith”, nothing more is required, but God’s word contradicts that premise. In the Book of James, we read: “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works (James 4:14-18)
So then, what is meant by works? Simply put, it means putting your God-given faith into action and doing the things that proves that God’s love lives within us. If Satan can get us to refuse to act in faith, he has already placed us in the dangerous position of having our faith weakened and easily killed.
Finally, Satan’s desire is to destroy. But what is it that he wants to destroy? Anything he can do to make us question the Word of God, or question God’s love for us or even to question our need for God to be active in our lives will give him the ammunition needed to begin his destructive work of damaging our relationship and fellowship with God.
Do you remember how he wormed his way into the mind and heart of man to begin with? He caused Eve to question what God had said to her and Adam after their creation. His words were, “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden”? Had Eve been ready with the Word, she would have told the snake: “It is written”, just as did Jesus when Satan tried to tempt Him to disobey God. I know the New Testament with those words of Jesus had not yet been written, but Eve had heard the words of God in His demand for obedience, and she also knew the words of God stating that man’s disobedience would bring death.
Satan is very clever and knows just which buttons to push in his effort to get you off the Word. He knows that our disobedience is the thing that brings separation from God, and if he can do get us into disobedience, our relationship with the Almighty is interrupted and in danger of being destroyed.
The destruction of our relationship with God is his highest priority and when we listen to his lies instead of using the Word as our defense against him, he has achieved his goal.
Our Defense Against Satan’s Agenda
Knowing now just what Satan’s priorities are and how he works to establish them in our lives, what can we do, what should we do, to stop him?
Feed Your Spirit
First, we must establish as OUR top priority building our lives on God’s Word. Reading and studying God’s word, immersing ourselves in it is like being in a starving condition and being invited to sit down to a gourmet feast. Just as a delicious and nutritious meal will build up our physical bodies and bring life-sustaining health to us, a feast on God’s word will strengthen and build up our spirits. Our bodies will store up some strength and endurance from the food we eat, but as we exercise and work, we need to feed our bodies daily in order to regain our strength and function normally. Our spirits also can store up some of our spiritual strength from God’s word but they also need to be fed on a regular basis in order to become strong, remain strong and able to endure Satan’s attacks.
When Satan comes to steal the word, if we have stored up enough of it, we can resist him and make him flee (James 4:7). Jesus always stayed in intimate contact with His Father and was aways full of His word. When Satan came to tempt Him, Jesus used that word to defeat him and send him running away (Matthew 4:3,7, 10-11). Humbling ourselves and being submitted to God is the only way to stay built up on and strengthened by the Word and THAT is the key to our successful resistance to Satan.
We are all in a marathon, an endurance race, and not a sprint. In such a race what matters most is our endurance, and that means being able to endure through every satanic attack. Only by doing so will we become true winners; Jesus stated such when He said, “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” Matthew 24:13.
Just as we do everything in our discipleship for Christ, our endurance is a test of our faith.
Use Your Faith
Your faith, the same faith that Jesus Christ had when He walked the Earth, is a powerful spiritual force, but it must be put into action in order to accomplish anything positive through it. This is what James meant when he spoke the words recorded in James 4. The spiritual force of faith constantly exercised is as potent a weapon against evil as a man’s well-exercised physical muscles are against a bully.
In Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11 and Hebrews 10:38, we are told that the just shall live by faith. This primarily refers to receiving our righteousness from God BY FAITH, but it also applies to our daily lives as long as we live on this earth.
This may sound frivolous, but we are to use our God-given faith to take every breath, to have our daily food, our clothing and our shelter so that life can be sustained. I am as guilty as any other man in “assuming” that these things listed above are automatically ours as a right. The truth is that, as children of God, we are to be thankful for all these things and are to give thanks to Him, by faith, for all His blessings.
Using our faith for our very existence is a good way to remain strong in faith, keeping us prepared and ready for whatever evil might come our way.
Guard Your Relationship With God
Our relationship with God, as His children, is the most important possession we will ever have. Satan understands this, likely better than most Christians, so he works diligently to worm his way into that relationship by bringing doubt of God’s integrity and steadfastness.
It only takes one incident wherein we question God and begin to doubt His faithfulness to us for Satan to begin establishing a stronghold in our lives. At the first sign of a deception or lie aimed at our relationship with God, we must remember the word of James: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” James 4:7).
There is no more satisfying feeling than to know that you have been obedient to God in having submitted everything you have to him, then resisting that old serpent and knowing that, even though you cannot see him in the flesh, he is scurrying away, in the spirit, with his dragon-tail between his legs.
However, he is a persistent devil and will return when you are least expecting it to try his “steal, kill and destroy” agenda again. Do not allow him to succeed; God is ready with a large dose of wisdom and knowledge when you are ready to diligently seek Him and His word.
©2023. Bud Hancock. All rights reserved.