Three Questions about our Foe
Let me say from the outset, that there is no doubt that there is a Greater within us than he that is in the world. However, I believe we are mistaken to underestimate the ability of Satan to hinder us from what we intended or what we intend to do. He is a real adversary and he hindered the Apostle Paul, he will hinder you.
18 Therefore we wanted to come to you—even I, Paul, time and again—but Satan hindered us.
The New King James Version. (1982). (1 Th 2:18). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
In Zechariah (3:1-2) when Joshua the High Priest was standing before the Angel of the Lord, at his right hand was Satan ready to resist him.
So let me reiterate that, the Apostle Paul and the High Priest Joshua were prime targets to be resisted and hindered, so are you.
Paul would also write to the church at Galatia and he asked them. Who has hindered you?
7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion does not comefrom Him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
The New King James Version. (1982). (Ga 5:7–9). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
What Paul was saying, who cut into you, or who cut in front of you?
It speaks of running a race and while you were running someone cut in front of you and caused you to stumble…
In this text it was the legalists wanting to persuade the Galatians to turn back to legalistic ways, and it caused them to stumble. Paul said you were doing so well, you were established in the freedom of Christ and then you were caused to stumble. You were running and someone cut in front of you, slammed on the brakes and you wrecked. Because you weren’t paying attention.
Now before you answer this next question, let’s keep this in mind.
11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.
The New King James Version. (1982). (2 Co 2:11). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
11 so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (2 Co 2:11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
Let’s not get outwitted and blame the person who cut in front of us…. You have just fallen for the trick to blame a person instead of the one who is ultimately wanting to trip you up.
Remember what Paul said in Ephesians 6:10-12
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hostsof wickedness in the heavenly places.
The New King James Version. (1982). (Eph 6:10–12). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
We shouldn’t be wrestling against the one who cut in front of us, we should be wrestling against the one who positioned that person in front of us.
People come into your life for one of two reasons. They’re there to either hinder you or help you.
Don’t get outsmarted or outwitted by the devil. Take accountability to be aware of the difference, and understand that your enemy uses people, just like God uses people.
The scripture tells us…
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
The New King James Version. (1982). (1 Pe 5:8). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
Satan is out to hinder you, and he will use any means necessary.
You must be vigilant….
Be sober… He is out to cut into you…. cut you off from the destiny that God has for you….
How does he hinder you?
“When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” John 8:44. The first time Satan appears in the Bible in Genesis 3, the first words on his lips (“Did God say, You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?”). Satan’s second words were a subtle lie (“You will not die”).
He blinds minds…
“The god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
Satan not only lies but he then hides the truth.
He appears as light…
“Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is not strange if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.”
There are people who will profess enough truth for you to join their cause. Then there is a switch that Paul calls “doctrines of demons” 1 Timothy 4:1.
Jesus said they will be like wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15).
Acts 20:30says they will not spare the flock, but will draw people away to destruction.
He will produce signs…
9 The coming of the lawless oneis according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved
The New King James Version. (1982). (2 Th 2:9–10). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
The New King James Version. (1982). (Mt 24:24). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
So there are signs and miracles, but if those that are producing them are living and serving sin, there is a problem, even if they do them in the name of Christ.
22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
The New King James Version. (1982). (Mt 7:22–23). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
He will tempt you into Sin…
This is what he tried with Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11).
Satan successfully tempted Judas ( Luke 22:3-6).
Paul warns against this for every the believer: 2 Corinthians 11:3 “I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”
Three ways that we are tempted.
Lust of the eye.
Lust of the flesh.
Pride of Life.
He will choke the word out of you…
Jesus told the parable of the four soils (Mark 4:1-9). In it, the seed of the word of God is sown, and some falls on the path and birds quickly take it away. Jesus said in verse 15, “Satan immediately comes and takes away the word which was sown in them.”
Why does Satan want to choke the word out of you? According to Romans 10:17 the word produces faith, and Satan hates faith. Paul would later write to the church in Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 3:5:“I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain”. Paul knew that Satan’s wants to choke off the faith of people who have heard the word of God. For without faith it is impossible to please God.
He will inflict you…
Jesus healed a woman in Luke 13 who was bent over and could not straighten herself. Jesus was criticized for doing that on the Sabbath. The audacity of Jesus that He would heal this woman on the Sabbath. I love the response of Jesus to his critics…“Ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” (Luke 13:16). Jesus declared that it was Satan who inflicted this woman.
How, why, or when will he hinder you?
What triggers Satan to attack? What makes the devil so upset that he rises up to resist you and your efforts? If God chose you, why are you experiencing so many hassles and difficulties along the way to your goal of fulfilling all He has called you to do? So many have been taught that resistance means that you are out of the will of God. I’d say that resistance is a strong indicator that you are in the will of God.
He will attempt to hinder you because you are anointed…
11 to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 12 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.
The New King James Version. (1982). (2 Ti 1:11–12). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
When Paul wrote this verse, he used a tense in the Greek that lets us know he was experiencing this at the very moment he was writing the letter.
Satan was terrified of Paul’s calling and He’s terrified of yours.
Satan will attempt to hinder you right after and you’ve had a great spiritual experience (Jesus in the wilderness Matthew 3:16,17 ; Matthew 4:1)
He will attempt to hinder you when you want to begin something new for God. Matthew 4:17 Jesus was getting ready to start his public ministry and prior to that was the temptation. All in an effort to keep Jesus from starting what He was called to do.
Satan will attempt to hinder you when you are in a weakened state. Matthew 4:2,3
Satan will attempt to hinder you when you are alone. Matthew 4:1.
Satan will attempt to hinder you from within your group of friends. Matthew 16:22-23
How do you overcome?
Neither give place to the devil.
What does it mean to “give place to the devil”?
Let’s say you own an apartment complex, and I want an apartment right in the middle of your complex. You sell it to me. Now I have the right to go into and out of your property at will, to get to my one apartment. I become the worst neighbor you’ve ever had. You now despise the fact that I live in the middle of your complex. So you now want me out. So you come to me and ask me to leave, you complain about me to all of your friends, write facebook posts about me, etc. However, I’m not going to leave, and you can’t make me go. I’ve got a legal right to it. If you don’t like it, tough luck. You wouldn’t be able to move me out because you gave me a place there. No matter how much you despise me, I’ve got a right to be there, because you gave me the right.
Some of you have done the same thing for Satan! You gave him a place and now you can’t dislodge him. He has a legal right. You have to dislodge him legally because you’ve given him a place. He owns some strongholds in your life.
Here’s what you must do to dislodge the devil and break his strongholds. Three things:
Just before “Neither give place to the devil,” Paul says: 22…put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.”
Be done with it, confess it, break away from it—there’s no other way to deal with sin. Repent.
What gives place to the devil? 25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another. 26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
You gave him a place in your life. You’re not going to get that place back until you repent. Repentance is not just being broken over your sin, it is being broken from your sin.
Even after you repent, the devil is not going to walk out. After repentance there must be resistance.
27 Neither give place to the devil.
James 4:7 says, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
What you gave him, you must take back. But you can never take it back until you take away his legal authority.
If there is sin in your life, every area where there is unconfessed sin is legal ground for Satan. Until you confess it and come for cleansing, Satan has every right to set up camp there. He’s not going to walk out. You’re going to have to run him out.
Even if you repent, you’ve still got to clean house. Go in there with a power of attorney, which is the name of Jesus, then take the blood of Jesus Christ as your authority, and you can Resist the Devil and He will flee.
The Bible says he will flee from you. But if you try to resist the devil with unconfessed sin in your life, he will laugh in your face. He’ll say, “You gave me this piece of property and I am not moving out.” There must be repentance, then there can be resistance.
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness
It’s not enough to put off the old man; you must put on the new man. “And be not drunk with wine wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit” Ephesians 5:18.
To be “filled with the Spirit” means there’s not one place in your life where God is not in. In your sex life, family life, business life, political life, church life, social life—in your money, your exercise, your sleep, your eating, God is a part of it all.
You’re never going to dislodge Satan from your life, until you choose against Satan and yield to God’s Holy Spirit. Take those three steps, repentance, resistance and renewal.
That’s how you overcome!
Luke 22:31-32; John 17:22; 2 Timothy 4:18; Jude 9; Ephesians 4:20-32