A little girl was baptized on her seventh birthday. A couple of days later, she was having breakfast with her younger sister and their mother. The younger sister asked if she could have a bite of her cereal, but there was no answer. So, their mother answered, “sure you can have a bite.” The little girl sat quietly for a few seconds, then said, "Satan is telling me to pour the bowl of cereal over her head, but I have been baptized, and I am telling Satan ‘No’!”
When I heard that story, I had to laugh. Then I thought about the spiritual aspect of that little encounter. The girl knew it wasn’t God’s voice telling her to pour the bowl of cereal over her sister’s head. She was aware that those thoughts came from the enemy. She also knew her position in Christ. She did not have to obey Satan’s voice. Jesus would not be pleased if she did. So, she refused to listen to the voice of Satan. Oh, if we would all take authority over our thoughts and actions as simply as that when we are tempted by the devil! As the people of God, we have the power and authority in Christ to say “no!”
If Adam and Eve had said ‘no’ to Satan, sin would not have entered the world. They were placed in the Garden of Eden by God Who gave them dominion over the creatures and instructed them to keep the Garden. The Hebrew word for ‘keep’ here means to protect, be a watchman, be on one’s guard. Adam and Eve failed to keep their charge and brought a curse on the whole creation. With just a few words and innuendoes from Satan, they dropped their guard and handed their authority over to him. Satan still skillfully twists the words of God to turn aside unguarded souls from the truth.
On our own, we are no match for Satan. “For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe. His craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate. On earth is not his equal.” (A Mighty Fortress Is Our God) In several passages of Scripture Satan is referred to as “the prince of this world” or “god of this world”. Jesus Himself referred to him as “the prince of this world”. Matthew Henry said, “It is the devil that is here called the prince of this world, because… he is the ruler of the darkness of this world…of those in it that walk in darkness.” It was the devil (Lucifer, Satan) who wanted worship for himself, whose ambition was to sit in God’s place and be worshipped. It was Lucifer that staged a coup in heaven and took one third of the angels with him in his rebellion. It was Lucifer who tempted Eve and caused sin to come into this world. It is Lucifer who brought darkness to the earth. But it is Lucifer whom Jesus defeated once and for all.
Because of Satan’s seizure of authority, there was a time when the whole world was in darkness, but Jesus broke the darkness and brought light to those who would receive it. He gave us power to become the sons and daughters of God and no longer serve under the power and authority of Satan. Jesus told Paul He had called him “to open their [spiritual] eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness and release from their sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified (set apart, made holy) by faith in Me.” (Acts 26:16-18, Amplified Bible) That is the gospel, the good news. That is the truth.
Now, each of us has been given the same choice as Adam and Eve. Our choices are eternal life or eternal death, blessing or cursing, darkness or light, truth or lies. We cannot be neutral in this cosmic battle. We are fully on one side or the other.
Only through Jesus Christ can we have power over Satan and sin. Verse two of A Mighty Fortress Is Our God: “Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing. Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing. Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He. Lord Sabaoth His Name, from age to age the same, And He must win the battle.” Through Christ our darkened minds and spirits can be enlightened to the course of God’s kingdom instead of the course of this world. We can live in the same spiritual light and understanding Adam and Eve had before the fall.
Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.” (2:1-2) What came alive? God made our spirits alive. We were born of the Spirit to new life in Christ because Jesus destroyed the works of the devil.
“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8) God does that by cleansing us with Jesus’ blood, then placing His Holy Spirit inside us. We receive the seed of God within us, changing our spiritual genetic code, renewing us to spiritual life, the life and spiritual awareness that Satan stole from us in the garden. So the spiritual life we were intended to have all along becomes ours now through Christ. Yet we still live in this world and have physical bodies that remain under the curse. We now have eternal life, but Jesus also gives us the power and authority in this life to be able to say ‘no’ to Satan’s lies. God’s Spirit gives us spiritual discernment, the ability to differentiate between what is right and wrong. That way we can have the knowledge and power to make right choices.
In these last days, we are experiencing the perilous times the Bible warns about. We see the outward signs of persecution, wars, hatred, perversion and chaos, but we need to look deeper than the surface to the source of the troubles. Satan is at the core of it all. He is keenly aware that his time is short. (See Revelation 12:12.) He is working feverishly to wear down and deceive the people of God. His goal is to retain his authority over this world, but Jesus already has the title deed. Jesus has already given His followers power over Satan. And in God’s time, all the works of the devil will be destroyed once and for all, and the whole creation will be redeemed.
In this span called time, Satan preys on our minds and emotions. He knows if he can cause us to feel afraid, feel hopeless, feel doubtful; then he has a good chance of wearing us down to believe it and act on it. Satan is not trying just to destroy our bodies. They are only temporary. He wants to destroy our souls. It is a war against us in the spiritual realm. He doesn’t want us to take our position in Christ. That is why it is imperative to bring every thought into subjection to Christ. Don’t let your mind wander and be an open field for the devil to inhabit. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 tells us, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.”
If the devil sees an empty place, he will try to fill it with his propaganda. So, fill your mind with God’s Word. The only way we can win battles is to keep the mind of Christ and refuse to entertain the words of the devil. When he comes to tell us we are failures in our ministry, our family members will never be saved, that God doesn’t care about the difficulties that are pressing against us or that God cannot use us, we need to combat Satan’s lies with God’s truth. When we let our mind imagine all kinds of scenarios that will probably never happen, we are giving Satan a foothold into our lives. And he doesn’t miss a chance. Satan’s thoughts are usually pressed upon us with a certain fear factor attached. His lies do not bring peace to our hearts, but turmoil and confusion. God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. (1 Corinthians 14:33) Jesus is the Prince of Peace.
How can we bring our thoughts out of captivity to the “prince of this world” and into submission to the “Prince of Peace”? We do it my meditating on God’s Word. Isaiah 26:3-4 says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.” The word ‘stayed’ means to lay the hand on to gain support, to be braced by. In this case, we are resting our mind on the Lord to be sustained and braced by Him. If you want peace in your heart, trust in God and keep your mind on Him. Then you will have HIS everlasting strength to overcome the enemy. Our strength may falter, but God’s never will.
Psalm 119:23-24 gives us a powerful example to follow. “Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes. Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.” Even when the “prince of this world” comes and speaks against us, we can meditate and be stayed on the truth of God’s Word and receive His counsel.
We have power and authority to overcome the world and the “prince of this world” through Jesus Christ. But when we become distant from Him, we are weakened and become vulnerable to the wiles of the devil. It takes more than a quick devotional time every day. That may be better than nothing, but it will not arm you for warfare. Do you delight in the Word of God, or do you read it out of duty? Learn to love Him and His Word. It will bring life and light to your soul.
Fill your mind with the Word of God. If you don’t, Satan will fill it for you. No one can live a victorious Christian life in their own power and outside the commandments of Christ. We need to keep our souls, guard them, be on watch and protect them from infiltration from the enemy. We need to frequently examine our hearts and watch for anything that is not pleasing to God. We must stay close to Jesus. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) Don’t give the devil an inroad into your life. If you do, he will seduce you like he did Eve.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” (1 Peter 5:8-9) In other words, Satan wants to destroy you. But know that these battles are not just against you. Every surrendered Christian faces them. Every godly person will suffer persecution. But you can overcome through Christ Jesus.
“And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo! his doom is sure. One little word shall fell him.”
(A Mighty Fortress Is Our God – Verse 3)