Life is rough. And a big reason for that is Satan, the one who tempts us to sin, encourages pain and suffering, and opposes God’s eternal plan. Sorry, that’s a gloomy start.
Even though Satan is real and does try to bring us down, God is real too. And He does the opposite of Satan – loves us, encourages us, and guides us.
That’s a little more hopeful, right?
Now, we have two powerful beings here, so let’s straighten out why God is God and Satan isn’t: God is all powerful, all knowing, perfect in body and spirit. He is the creator of all things. Satan, on the other hand, is a fallen spirit son of God. He holds only the power to oppose God.
Yep, Satan is definitely a lesser being than God. That doesn’t mean he has zero power though. We’ve all experienced his power (whether we were aware of it or not) when we’ve been tempted to do things that are wrong.
Satan can also inspire doubt. This is one significant way I’ve noticed Satan work on me. I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m going to say it again. I’ve been raised a Christian my whole life. I believe that Jesus Christ is my Savior.
But sometimes little questions sneak in. “What if it isn’t true?” “What if it’s all just a story, like Zeus?” “Am I really saved if I can mess up so badly?”
These are the kind of questions that hit me. At this point, I’ve heard these thoughts so many times that I can usually brush them off, but there are times when that. Is. So. Tough.
You get it. I’m sure you’ve experienced something similar.
Some of Satan’s other powers include:
Among others. We could probably list more than this, but we don’t really need more specifics.
So yeah, Satan definitely has power. But God’s power is 100% more powerful. Because He can do anything. Literally.
In fact, the only reason Satan even has power is that God allows him to have it and use it. *mind blown*
But wait! Are you wondering now why God would let Satan tempt us?
Well, great question. I’ve wondered that a lot too. And sometimes wonder if the answer I have is good enough. (And that thought’s on you, Satan.)
Let’s see if I can give an answer to this question without taking up the whole post.
Here’s what I understand: God gave us agency, or a will so that we could make choices on our own. That way we aren’t just marionettes bouncing around on strings whenever God wants us to.
God gave us a will because He loves us and wants us to progress like He has. I’m not going to get too in depth here, but He loves us and wants this for us because He is our Father. We are everything to Him. (I’ve written a post about this relationship already, so if you are interested in it, click here.)
But if God wants us to make choices, then there has to be a choice between following Him and not following Him.
That’s where Satan comes in. Now, I have no idea if Satan realizes that he fits in God’s plan like this, or how much he realizes it. But it kind of seems like he might not get the big picture, and I’ll get into why I think that in a bit.
Satan’s goal is to take us as far from God as he can. He tempts us, gets us to sin, pulls us away from God. But God, because He’s more powerful, sent Jesus Christ as our Savior to help us come back to God.
Now we have this push-and-pull-tug-of-war relationship going on. And because God trusts us and loves us, He lets us choose which side of the rope we want to yank on.
And because Satan exists and can tempt us, we actually do have options to choose from.
Okay, hopefully that explanation wasn’t too long. Still with me? Good!
Because here’s where I want to talk about why Satan might not totally get what God’s plan is.
If Satan is God’s enemy, but by existing and fighting against God he’s actually helping God’s plan (which is for us to choose between right and wrong, but still have a way to come back from sin)…
Why doesn’t he just stop fighting against God? I mean, he’s literally fighting against the Being that created him. There’s no way he can win.
Seems like a waste of time and effort.
This is a question I’ve thought about for, no joke, almost my entire life. Maybe you guys have more ideas on this, and if you do, please share with the… class, I guess. I’d love to hear what you think.
But while you think on it, here’s a bit of what I think.
I did mention before that Satan existing and fighting against God is part of God’s plan. It’s what gives us options to choose between.
But why does Satan want to fight God so badly?
The explanation that makes the most sense to me is that Satan is a liar. Might seem obvious, but hang with me for a second here.
Satan lies to us. Sure. He tells us God isn’t real, that even he, the devil, isn’t real. That way, we have no choices and no consequences. Sometimes he uses truth to lie, just twists it a bit. “Yeah, sin is real, but God will forgive us no matter what. So we should just do whatever sin we want, no big deal.”
Scary. Because sin is kind of a big deal and there are consequences to it.
But now to my point: For Satan to fight against God when he’s actually helping God’s plan, not hindering it, Satan would have to believe that he could beat God.
In other words, Satan believes that he can win a war against the all powerful, all knowing, perfect Creator of the entire Universe.
Who is the only reason Satan has any power at all. And the only reason that Satan exists.
For Satan to believe this he’d have to be a liar.
He lies to us, yes. But Satan deceives himself even more than he does us.
Frankly, I don’t see any reason to feel bad for Satan. Maybe this sounds harsh, but Satan got himself into this fight with God. When he loses, which he will, he will deserve everything that comes to him.
And it won’t be pretty.
Is this making sense? I hope so. I think it’s essential to understand these kinds of things about Satan. Know your enemy and all that.
For example, based on what’s in the scriptures, one of Satan’s biggest lies to himself is what power is.
In Matthew 4 and Luke 4, when Satan is tempting Jesus in the wilderness, he offers Jesus all the power of the world – power of kingdoms, land, mortal glory. The price? That Jesus, the literal Son of God, worship Satan. Then Jesus can have all the glory and riches He ever wanted.
Jesus doesn’t even give this temptation the time of day. He knows that what God offers is so great that it can’t compare with Satan’s offer and that to worship Satan would be to deny His own divinity.
Satan approached Moses in a similar way (Moses 1:10-22). God revealed Himself to Moses in the burning bush and taught him all about His plan for us. Then, after God left, Satan showed up and thought that just his appearance would show Moses how powerful he was.
Moses has a great response to Satan here:
“And it came to pass that Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory that I should worship thee?… For it is darkness unto me… Get thee hence, Satan; deceive me not.”Moses 1:13-16
Moses can tell the difference between Satan’s power and God’s power just by looking at the devil.
Satan has power. No doubt of that. But he’s nothing compared to God.
He proves that to Moses when, after Moses refuses to worship him, he throws an actual tantrum (Moses 1:19-22). A being worthy of worship does not throw temper tantrums to get what he wants.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather worship a Being that inspires respect.
So, this might have been addressed a bit already, but now that we’ve talked about God vs. Satan and why Satan thinks he can fight God, where do we fit into all of this?
Here are a few ideas:
- We are God’s children and He wants us to choose to follow Him, rather than forcing us back to Him. Satan exists because we need to be able to choose whether or not we actually want to follow God.
- Satan thinks that tempting us will damage God’s plan. So we are his targets.
- As children of God, we have God in our side any time we choose to follow Him and not Satan. We don’t have to lose to Satan.
- We are offered a chance to let go of our sins, mistakes, etc. because of Jesus Christ. And this offer comes over and over and over again as long as we are willing to take it.
- The battle between God and Satan is based around us. God does everything for us and Satan tried to use us to help himself.
The conflict between God and Satan established the world and our lives as we know them. Almost everything comes back to it.
Here’s my last question, and it’s one I want us all to think about this week: What can we do to overcome Satan’s temptations?
Please comment below with your answers. I look forward to hearing what you think. Remember, we’re all learning together!
Have a great week!