Many people today do not believe in the devil. They think he is merely a fictional character, made up by organized religions to frighten people into doing what they consider to be "right". If asked, they would staunchly deny being a child of the devil, or being enslaved by him. Even many who say they do believe in God do not believe the devil is real. But the Holy Bible, Godís own Word, has much to say about the devil, and makes it quite plain that he not only exists, but that he has claimed us as his own, unless we allow God to be our Father, and our Lord and Master.
The Bible is very clear: we are either a child of God, or a child of the devil. If we have never made a conscious, deliberate decision to become a child of the living God, by accepting His only begotton Son, Jesus Christ, then we are, by default, a child of the devil. We donít choose to be the devilís offspring; we are BORN that way. Since the fall of the first man and woman in the Garden of Eden, we are born of sin, into sin, and will always choose sin, unless we deliberately choose God instead.
He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil
sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son
of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works
of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit
sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin,
because he is born of God. In this the children of God
are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever
doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that
loveth not his brother. 1 John 3:8-10
In order to understand what weíre up against, it is important to know the nature of our enemy. It would be foolish indeed, to go into battle without knowing the enemy and how he operates. And do not kid yourself, it IS a battle we are in: a battle not just for our lives, but for our souls. Ephesians 6:12
makes the battle, and the enemy, very clear:
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but
against principalities, against powers, against
the rulers of the darkness of this world, against
spiritual wickedness in high places.
So letís take a look at the characteristics and trademarks of the enemy of our souls: Satan, or the devil. We must have a clear understanding of how he works.The letter "D" gives us the greatest look at his personality, thoughts, and deeds. As we will see, "D" stands for "devil", in every way.
First, he is DIABOLICAL . The name "devil" comes from the Greek word, diabolos, meaning false accuser, or slanderer. That is an exact description of the devil's character. In Rev. 12:9, he is called the "accuser of our brethren". Diabolical also implies "craftyí and "sly", or wily. That is why we are warned:
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to
stand against the wiles of the devil. (Ephesians 6:11)
Another characteristic of the devil is that he is a master of DECEPTION. He never shows his true colors; instead, the Bible tells us he transforms himself into an angel of light. (II Cor. 11:14) He can make bad look good, evil look desirable, and sin look righteous to those who are not aware of his deceptive powers. The Bible is quite clear: he is a deceitful liar:
When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own:
for he is a liar, and the father of it. (John 8:44b)
You see, if the devil would ever show sin to be what it is, and the consequences of it, no one would ever choose sin. The Scriptures are full of warnings to take heed, so that we are not deceived. (see Deut. 11:16; Luke 21; Gal. 6:7, just for a few.)
But the devil deceives us, and the world blindly follows his path to DEATH and DESTRUCTION. These are two more of the devilís trademarks. John 8:44a tells us he is a murderer:
Ye are of your father the devil, and the
lusts of your father ye will do. He was a
murderer from the beginning, and abode not
in the truth, because there is no truth in him.
And John 10:10 makes his purpose very plain:
The thief cometh not, but for to
steal, and to kill, and to destroy.
In addition,1 Peter 5:8 warns us to always be careful, because the devil is an enemy who actively and powerfully seeks to devour, or destroy, us:
Be sober, be vigilant; because your
adversary the devil, as a roaring lion,
walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
DOUBT is one of the greatest tools in the arsenal the enemy uses against us. From the very beginning, he has always tried to make believers doubt God, His promises, and His provisions. In the Garden of Eden, he asked Eve if God really said they could not eat of every tree in the garden. The the wily serpent then craftily told Eve, in direct opposition to what God had said, that they would NOT surely die. His implication was, of course, that God had lied, and therefore was not to be trusted.
Did God really say that? Did He really mean that? Will He really do what He said? Can I really trust Him? From the beginning, the devil tries to makes us doubt God. He even tried to use the same tactic with Jesus, trying to make Him doubt who He was, and doubt Godís plan and provisions for Him:
And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God,
command this stone that it be made bread. (Luke 4:3)
The devil has used this tactic of causing doubt for many hundreds of years. Why would he keep using the same tired old tactic? Because IT WORKS!!! It is still as effective today as it was back in the Garden of Eden. If he can cause doubt, he steals and destroys faith, and without faith, there can be no salvation.
Those by the way side are they that hear;
then cometh the devil, and taketh away the
word out of their hearts, lest they should
believe and be saved. (Luke 8:12)
DEFEAT is another powerful tool of the enemy. He takes us captive, oppresses us, enslaves us, making us feel powerless, helpless, and hopeless. But God gives us the victory, through Jesus Christ, when we put our faith and trust in Him! Acts 10:38 says:
How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost
and with power: who went about doing good, and healing
all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him.
We must also understand the ways the devil plays on our emotions, by causing DISCONTENTMENT, DISCOURAGEMENT, DEPRESSION, AND DESPAIR. See how each stage progresses into the next? If we are not careful, and allow the enemy to make us feel discontent, we get discouraged and begin to question God's plans and His providence. If continued unchecked, we get depressed, and the this can result in despair - the feeling that God has forsaken us. When this happens, the enemy has managed to steal our joy, kill our peace, and destroy our relationship with God.
There are literally dozens and dozens of verses that deal with these things, and how to prevent them. We have to hide God's word in our hearts, as Pslam 119:11 instructs us. if we do not, the devil wins, and we lose!
My friends, never be deceived into thinking that the devil is a powerless enemy. Oh, no! Nothing could be farther from the truth! He has much power in this world! Hebrews 2:14 tells us that he even has the power of death:
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh
and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the
same; that through death he might destroy him that had
the power of death, that is, the devil.
In fact, the Bible calls him the "prince of this world" in John 12:31; 14:30; and 16:11, and the "god of this world" in II Cor. 4:4 and Espesians 6:12. He has power in this world, never doubt it!
Fortunately, any person who has put their faith and trust in Christ Jesus has His assurance that He has overcome this world:
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might
have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but
be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
Ye are of God, little children, and have
overcome them: because greater is He that
is in you, than he that is in the world.
(1 John 4:4)
When considering all the deception and destruction the devil uses against us, it could be very easy to become overwhelmed by the treachery and hatred of the enemy. However, it helps to remember one very important thing: He is DOOMED. His fate for all eternity is already determined, and nothing can change it; all the powers he possesses will be unable to help him in the end against the power of the Almighty God.
And the devil that deceived them was cast
into the lake of fire and brimstone, where
the beast and the false prophet are, and
shall be tormented day and night for ever
and ever. (Revelation 20:10)