Consider this fact: Satan was created during the first week of creation. He has been functioning in his role as the deceiver and accuser since the time of Adam and Eve. He has a host of angels (commonly known as demons) who assist him in his efforts on Earth. He is called in before God with all of the angels and heavenly principalities to give an account of their efforts on Earth: he knows God, he knows God’s character and he knows the Bible. Everything that we read in Scripture Satan not only knows from reading it, but he was present when the events happened and the words were written.
In short, he has much greater power than we do, he knows the Bible better than we do, he knows the prophecy of the End Times better than we do, and while his every action is governed by God, he is intentionally seeking to deceive and destroy believers as well as keeping others distracted from the Truth so as to not become believers. He wants to make us ineffective as disciples and disciple makers and destroy as many as possible as he himself is headed to an eternity in Hell (Rev 20.10).
All of that being said, Satan is neither omnipotent nor omnipresent. He does have demons who can keep account of things that are happening, but he himself cannot be everywhere at all times. Therefore, the chances of us personally being attacked by him are slim. The chances of us being attacked or influenced by demons, however, is not only high; it will happen. Satan and his demons know the temptations, the desires and the tendencies of this world. He knows that most Americans will not be affected by the supernatural but will be easily distracted by lusts and sin: money, sex, reputation, success, entertainment, etc. They also will learn our personal tendencies and be able to tempt us and draw us back into our sins of habit if we do not develop strategies for fighting these.
In the most clever of situations, the demonic forces will even utilize religion and the Bible to distract or tempt us. When Satan encountered Jesus, he tempted Him utilizing Scripture. Thankfully Jesus knew the Scripture better and was able to recognize the twisting and false interpretations of it – and respond with Truth (quoting other Scripture that exemplifies the heart of God!). We will find this in false teachers throughout the world! Thus Jesus warns us to beware of false teachers:
“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”
– Matt 7.15
We must also be aware that Satan and his demons will not like efforts that we as the church and we as individuals make to make disciples of the world. John Newton, the famous hymn writer, had an often simple yet profound way to communicate the Gospel and encourage people. A man named Henry Martyn who was desiring to be a missionary and had been met with opposition. People told him that he had an “insipid and inanimate manner in the pulpit”. Newton, however, refuted each of the criticisms which he had been dealt with hope. Most poignantly, when Martyn brought up the opposition that he might meet along the way, Newton simply said,
“I suppose Satan shall not love you for what you are about to do.”
Many had sought to oppose Martyn, but he was confident in God and his calling, and after being encouraged by Newton, he moved to India where he translated the entire New Testament into Urdu, Persian and Judaeo-Persic, as well as the Psalms and other books.
If we are about the things of the Lord, Satan and his demons will oppose our efforts. This should not deter us, however. He opposed and tempted Jesus – utilizing the most deceitful of methods: pitting Scripture against Jesus! We must know His tactics and we must know God. We must have discernment and ability to rightly read and interpret Scripture. And most importantly, we must remain strong in the face of opposition – because He will oppose us. He will not love us for serving God.