Are the bad things that Christian’s experience – health issues, ministry setbacks, financial difficulties, and divisiveness – all attacks by Satan to confuse and defeat believers? And do those attacks increase as Christians walk more closely with the Lord because Satan becomes more worried when believers become stronger? That’s a belief that has been circulating around the church. I find it very troubling, because it is not what I read in the Word.
Scripture warns us about the Enemy saying, “Your enemy the devil, walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” The phrase “may devour”, suggests that Satan is looking for those who are vulnerable. I propose that the ones Satan “may devour” are likely the weak and defenseless rather than those who seek the shelter of the Most High.
Romans 8:31 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” In other words, Satan’s got nothing if God is on your side. That seems clear enough, but could it be that Satan can still trouble and deceive believers in spite of the fact that God wins in the end?
Paul seems to have covered that in 1 Corinthians 10:13 when he wrote, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man…” In other words, we all are subject to the same whisperings of the Enemy. However, Paul elaborates, “God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” In other words, a follower of the Lord has been given the means to overcome. If you fail, it is neither God’s fault nor the result of Satan’s power over you.
Perhaps the problem is that Christians are rarely if ever taught the primary source of evil. The first man and woman lived in ease and fellowship with God, but their own sin changed everything. Genesis 3:17-19 explains the curse God placed on the creation saying, “Cursed is the ground because of you. In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face, you shall eat bread till you return to the ground.” From that point on, hardship became the new normal. Although the Enemy may have instigated that first sin, mankind would continue to experience hardship even if Satan was taken out of the way.
So why do we want to blame the Enemy for our troubles? Perhaps some don’t know any better, not understanding about original sin. Perhaps blaming Satan is easier than taking personal responsibility for our wrong decisions. There may even be occasions when God allows the Enemy to make trouble like we read about in Job. But here is what I believe with all of my heart. Worrying about Satan is no way to live and prosper. I put my confidence in the Lord and in the promises He has given to sustain those who believe Him and follow His commandments.