I’ve talked to several people in the past who insist that Hell isn’t a real place. They have convinced themselves that Satan is the figment of some fundamentalist Christian’s imagination. They live in a world where they like to believe the Prince of Lies is a myth … a legend. My typical response to this notion is that if I were Satan, I wouldn’t want you to believe in me either. If I were Satan, and you failed to acknowledge my presence as a real, living entity; it would make it that much easier for me to meet my goals. I could manipulate you, decieve you, mislead you, hurt you, punish you, and damage your relationship with God while you continued to deny my existence. You would blame everything but me. It is the perfect setup for Satan.
On the other side of the spectrum, are those people that see Satan in their cereal. They blame everything that is wrong in their lives on The Devil. They fail to step up and take responsibility for any mistakes they have ever made because it was really just Satan’s fault. These people seem to think that Satan is responsible for any act, person, or event in their life that doesn’t bend to their own will.
In reality, the truth is somewhere in the middle. Satan does exist, Jesus confirmed this, but he isn’t responsible for everything that is wrong in our lives. Human beings are more than capable of screwing things up without the enemy leading the way.
It has been my experience, however, that Satan does attack me directly at times. Normally, it is when I am on the cusp of some spiritual awakening or when I am growing closer to God. It seems as if Satan is right there trying to sabotage me at times. It makes sense really. Satan doesn’t really need to attack those who don’t believe in Christ … he already has them. But he does have an interest in separating a believer from Christ, and I believe he tries hard to do this.
Take my experience from yesterday (if you don’t believe in Satan, you may want to check out here … this will seem very weird to you). I was under the gun yesterday for getting enrolled in the Baptist Bible College. It has long been my desire to study Theology and this school is a great fit for me. My deadline for getting enrolled and signed up for class was yesterday and everything seemed to be working against me. Most of this can be attributed to good, old-fashioned bad luck rather than Satan, but there was a moment yesterday when I could actually feel the enemy working against me. When I shut my eyes, I could actually feel myself being rended … I could see and hear the gnashing of teeth. I have never experienced anything like this in my life. It was actually quite frightening. All I could do was pray the name of Jesus Christ … it wasn’t long before the sensation of being attacked subsided. I couldn’t figure out why I was being attacked, but as I look back on it now, I believe it was directly related with my decision to attend the Baptist Bible College. The enemy was trying his best to intimidate me. Thankfully, it didn’t work.
I honestly believe that Christians need to be ready for spiritual attack. Satan will do his best to scare us, tempt us, and intimidate us … especially if we are on the verge of doing something for God. I once read that if Satan was bold enough to tempt Christ, we can be sure he will attack us as well. Ironically, it was when the enemy attacked me yesterday that I became certain I was making the right move. When I realized making a commitment to studying the word of God upset Satan so much, it convinced me I was doing what God wanted me to do.
There may be some rules of thumb to learn from all of this.
1. When we are on the verge of growing closer to God, we should expect the enemy to try and bring us down.
2. It is at these moments that we need to remember who it is we belong to. Christ provided a model for how we should stand up to these attacks … prayer and Scripture are our weapons and we need to wield them wisely.
3. When we can feel Satan working against us, it should give us a clue that we are the right track to finding God’s will.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for giving me a model to follow in Jesus Christ. Thank you for providing Scriptures to teach and inspire me. Lord, help me to learn from experiences such as these. Help me to expect spiritual attack when I least suspect it. Give me the wisdom and discernment to recognize when Satan is butting into my life and to know when I have to man up take responsibility for my own mistakes.