Job 1:8-12 (NKJV)8 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?" 9 So Satan answered the LORD and said, "Does Job fear God for nothing?10 Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!" 12 And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person." So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
After God gave him permission Satan caused things to happen and Job lost all his wealth and his children.
Job 2:2-8 (NKJV) 2 And the LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" So Satan answered the LORD and said, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it." 3 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause." 4 So Satan answered the LORD and said, "Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. 5 But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!" 6 And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life." 7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. 8 And he took for himself a potsherd with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes.
Here we see that God gave Satan permission to take Job's health.
Now let's go to Luke 22:31 where Satan has asked to harass Peter.
Luke 22:31-32 (NKJV) 31 And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren."
My point is that Satan couldn't do anything to Job or Peter without God's permission and he can't do anything to you without God's permission. God will give him permission sometimes to teach us something.
If Satan could do whatever to you whenever then why does the bible say that greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world? Or like we say every Sunday, "I have the power to tread on serpents, and scorpions, I got the power of all the enemy and nothing can hurt me?"
Or what about
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV) 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
So why do we say that Satan did this or that?
I believe that it's because we don't want to take responsibility for our actions.
I repeat the devil cannot make us do anything and the Christian can't be possessed by demons!
Demon possession is a condition in which a demon or demons have complete control over a person. Demon possession involves demons actually inhabiting a person and controlling his or her actions. Christians cannot be demon possessed. The indwelling Holy Spirit will not allow it!
Romans 8:9 (NKJV) But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
Ephesians 5:18 (NKJV) And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,
So, the devil and his demons cannot control a believer. They cannot make us do anything involuntarily. So, rather than blame the devil, all the time, we need to look at ourselves.
People are inclined to blame the devil in order to remove their guilt, justify their actions, and ignore their responsibility and the things God wants to teach them through their suffering. This has been true from the beginning.
Eve blamed the serpent for her disobedience.
Genesis 3:13 (NKJV) And the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
Adam actually blamed God for giving Eve to be with him.
Genesis 3:12 (NKJV) Then the man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate."
Yes Satan instigated the temptation but Eve responded with unbelief and disobedience, and Adam failed to take his responsibility as the leader of his family.
Let's look at what happened during the exodus when Aaron didn't take responsibility as the one Moses left in charge when he went on the mountain to receive instructions from God for the people.
These are excerpts from a sermon that I delivered nearly two years ago. While this post has lots of information for non-Christians, I am mainly publishing it so that my Christian brothers and sisters will realize that we can't blame every unpleasant thing that happens to us on Satan or the devil. We must start to take some responsibility for some, if not, most of those things. You have the power to resist the devil and the bible says if you do he will flee.
James 4:7 (NKJV) 7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
The Devil made me do it
Remember Flip Wilson using that whenever he did something silly or stupid. It was always good for a laugh. Well many, maybe most, of us Christians have used that very statement or something like it to try and rationalize something that we did or didn’t do. Satan has lots of power and millions of demons but neither he or they have the power to make you to do anything.
The Christian is on a journey of faith and we should be living by faith not fear!
Satan Must Have Permission to Attack You
Satan and his demons can influence you through deceit, the world system and through unbelievers but they can't make you do anything and they can't do anything to you without God's permission unless you foolishly do those things that you know that God is commanded you not to do in His word, the bible.
Exodus 32:22-24 (NKJV) 22 So Aaron said, "Do not let the anger of my lord become hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil. 23 For they said to me, 'Make us gods that shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.'24 And I said to them, 'Whoever has any gold, let them break it off.' So they gave it to me, and I cast it into the fire, and this calf came out."
Here's the point. Regardless of the various external sources of temptation, the responsibility is ours. Our own sinful nature or the lusts of self-centered desires of our own hearts.
James 1:14-15 (NKJV) 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
It doesn't have to be this way because we already have the victory
But Glory to God We have the victory in Jesus. He has provided everything we need to defeat sin and Satan.
The word of God confirms that we are victors through Christ Jesus and that we have authority over Satan and his demonic forces..
1 John 4:1-4 (NKJV) 1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. 4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
1 John 5:4-5 (NKJV) 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
It is true that it is through the world system and the demonic hosts which Satan controls that we are constantly faced with the power and activity of Satan in more ways than we can possibly imagine. As Paul warns, our battle is not with the flesh and blood, but with supernatural powers
Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV) 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 hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
But we have protection and a weapon.
Ephesians 6:13-17 (NKJV) 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
I want you to pay particular attention to verse 16, " above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one."
Thats all; not some-not most-not a few-not almost all-but all the fiery darts of the wicked one. If those darts are sickness as in the case of Job then the shield of faith will quench it; if those darts are hate or unforgiveness then the shield of faith will quench them, if those darts are temptations to lie or cheat, then the shield of faith will quench them. The shield of faith will quench them all but it’s up to us to put up that shield and get behind it. That’s our responsibility.
Resist the devil
James 4:7 (NKJV) Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
I don’t think that James would have said that under the direction of the Holy Spirit if it wasn't true so when we resist the devil, and I mean really resist then he will flee. An example is when I was a child and my brother and I would get into an argument and I didn't want to be bothered with him I would go to our room and try to keep him out. He would push on one side of the door and I would hold the door or resist his efforts to get in. If I did it with all my strength he would give up and leave but if I didn't he would push his way in. So we have to resist with all of our might knowing that our strength comes from the Lord so we are more than able to resist. Remember greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world?
Much of our suffering is the direct result of our own self-induced misery, sometimes as a product of our ignorance, or unbelief, or indifference, or a combination of them. So Scripture tells us to resist the devil and he will flee from us, to put on the whole armor of God, to be controlled by means of the Spirit, to have Word-filled lives, to walk circumspectly and in wisdom, and to be on alert because of the activity of Satan who is constantly on the prowl.
There are a couple things we should not assume
(1) That everything evil that happens to us is the result of direct Satanic attack.
Though he is indirectly involved, some of what happens is simply the result of life in a fallen world. For instance, take cancer and other degenerative diseases; probably more than anything else these are the result of Satan’s involvement through a world merchandising system that has promoted an unhealthy diet (highly-processed foods, foods that have lost much of their food value due to depleted soils, pesticides, preservatives, chemicals, high fat and sugar diets, etc.).
(2) But at the same time We should not assume that all our suffering is the product of our own sin or indifference to the Lord. There are many reasons for suffering.
Job was a righteous man who walked with God, yet for His own purposes and for Job’s spiritual growth (all testing is ultimately designed for our growth), God allowed Satan to attack him.
Paul too was a godly, spirit-filled man, yet he experienced a thorn in the flesh which he defined as a messenger of Satan. It was an affliction God used as a tool in Paul’s life to teach him some important spiritual lesson.
2 Corinthians 12:7 (NKJV) And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.
The Lord healed all kinds of illness, but a careful study of the NT shows us that only a small portion of these illnesses were actually attributed to Satan or demonic causes.
John 9:1-3 (NKJV) 1 Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" 3 Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.
Don't give Satan any undeserved power
While we need to acknowledge Satan’s constant activity, his ways, and we need to be on alert, our primary focus should be, not on Satan, but on the Lord and our responsibility to grow in Christ. It is often a cop out, for us to blame the devil when what's needed is an honest personal examination and confession.
As Christians, whenever we blame Satan for our sins, we’re empowering him while ignoring Christ. When we do this we buy into the lie that Satan can bypass and overcome God’s redemptive grace in our lives and the significance of Christ’s death and resurrection.
We need to realize that God has delivered us and accept the freedom He’s given us through Jesus' death on the cross. By admitting that Jesus’ sacrifice has real consequences relating to our current lives, our entire perspective changes, and we become fearless instead of fearful, hopeful instead of hopeless, and bold instead of timid.
I like the way that Charles Spurgeon put it in one of his devotions.
Satan may plot to enslave us, but if the Lord be on our side, whom shall we fear? The world, with its temptations, may seek to ensnare us, but mightier is He who is for us than all they who be against us. The machinations of our own deceitful hearts may harass and annoy us, but He who hath begun the good work in us will carry it on and perfect it to the end. The foes of God and the enemies of man may gather their hosts together, and come with concentrated fury against us, but if God acquitteth, who is he that condemneth?
This blog is for you! If you have any questions or topics you would like me to address please use the comments section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.