If you want to live a transformed life, you need to know more than the Good News.
You also need to know the bad news.
His name is Satan– or the devil, if you prefer. He goes by many names: Lucifer, angel of light, the evil one, the prince of the power of the air, the ruler of this world, the adversary, the accuser of the brethren, liar, thief, deceiver, adversary, the wicked one– well, you get the idea. No matter what he’s called, he’s very real. He has a purpose and a goal. He’s relentless.
And he’s out to get you.
A Brief Biography
Most people have heard about Satan. Many of them have a lot of false ideas about him. They think he has horns and a tail, and he runs around with a pitchfork, and he lives in hell.
To find out just who– and where– he is, you need to take a look at three sets of Scripture: Isaiah 14:12-14, Ezekiel 28:12-18, and Revelation 12:7-9. I’ll summarize them here, so we can have a brief biography.
Satan is a created being. He was an angel created by God, and described as wise and beautiful. He started off well, but began to change. He became consumed by a lust for power. He began to crave worship, and he desired the throne of Heaven. “I will make myself like the Most High,” he said. And he began to gather support as he planned his revolt against God. Eventually one third of the angels sided with Satan, and there was a mighty war in Heaven. Satan lost the battle. He was thrown out of Heaven, along with his angels (this is where the term “fallen angels” comes from). None of them can ever return.
But– where were they thrown?
If you answered “hell,” you’re wrong.
That’s their ultimate destination; Revelation 20:10 tells us they will be thrown into the lake of fire to suffer forever, eternally separated from God.
But he’s not there yet.
So where did Satan and these fallen angels end up?
Here. On earth.
That’s where the bad news comes in.
Satan’s Goal, or Plan B
Satan’s desire was for the throne of God, which is in Heaven– a place he can never return to. He’s never going to get that throne he so jealously wants.
So Satan turned to Plan B.
He can’t get the throne, so he seeks revenge on the One who sits there. But he can’t return to Heaven. He can’t hurt God– directly.
But he can hurt those who God loves the most.
That’s his revenge.
And the Bible leaves no doubt about God’s favorite. In Genesis chapter 1, the creation story, God looked at each thing He created and saw that it was good. But when He got to man, God declared it was very good. God had breathed into man the breath of life; man alone, of all God’s creation, has a spirit. God loves man more than anything else He has created.
Satan knows that.
Maybe now you understand where that target on your back came from.
10 Facts You Need To Know
Now that you understand who Satan is, where Satan is, and what Satan is up to, here are 10 facts you need to know:
1. Satan is your enemy. Make no mistake: Satan is very real, and he’s not on your side. He has a clearly defined goal, as Jesus explains in John 10:10– “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” Who? You. Satan wants to keep as many people out of Heaven as he possibly can. And for those who have already accepted the gift of salvation, he wants them to live defeated lives. He can’t steal your ticket, but he can make the ride miserable.
2. Satan is a liar. In fact, Jesus calls him the father of lies. The truth is not in him. God speaks only truth, Satan speaks only lies. The very first words he uttered on earth were to Eve in the garden of Eden– and he lied. He twisted the truth, and he’s been doing it ever since.
That’s important to know because Satan plants thoughts in our minds that are not true. We become trapped when we believe the lies, and then a stronghold is formed. Those strongholds can be torn down, but we need to recognize their source and reject the lies, replacing them with the truth of God’s Word.
3. Satan’s greatest tool is temptation. For the rest of these facts we will be looking at the account of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness which is found in Matthew 4. Verse one of that chapter tells us, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” Satan tempts us to sin.
There are two types of temptation. A temptation of commission is when we are tempted to do something that is wrong; a temptation of omission is when we are tempted to not do something that is right. Satan tempts us both ways. Why? Because he knows that sin separates us from God– and that’s his goal.
In 2 Corinthians 12:7, Paul speaks of “a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” Sometimes there is a particular temptation that Satan will repeatedly attack us with. I have a thorn in the flesh that has tormented me my entire life (perhaps you have one, too). After I became a Christian, I literally spent decades begging God to remove it (Paul said he asked God three times to take it away from him; I guess I’m either a slow learner or more stubborn than Paul!) Eventually I realized that God never promises to take our temptations away; He promises to help us get through. “And 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 endure it.” I’m now experiencing victory, even though the thorn remains.
4. Satan attacks in our area of need. In Matthew 4:2-3 we are told, “After fasting forty days and forty nights, he (Jesus) was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus had a physical need here. Satan will also attack us in the area of emotional needs– loneliness, insecurity, anxiety, and so on. Whatever your area of weakness is, that’s where your enemy will attack. Keep in mind that his attacks come in the form of lies, so we can follow Jesus’ example and combat them with the truths in God’s Word.
5. Satan seeks to distort our identity. Twice in Matthew 4 Satan says, “If you are the Son of God,” trying to cast doubt on His identity. Satan knew very well who Jesus was– remember, he started out as an angel in Heaven with Jesus. Likewise, Satan will attack our identity.
I was bullied throughout my childhood and adolescence. Satan took the cruel names I was called and attempted to get me to believe that those names were who I really was. He took my trauma and temptations and tried to force me to accept a false identity. Thankfully I learned about my true identity in Christ and was able to reject the lies he was feeding me. This is an area where many Christians have been deceived; it is vitally important that every born-again believer learns who they are in Christ. Many problems will be solved when we realize our core identity.
6. Satan lures us into self-destructive behaviors. “Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “Throw yourself down…” Addictions are destructive, and Christians are not exempt from them. Many people accept Jesus Christ as their Savior but continue to struggle with habitual and harmful behaviors. Jesus came to set the captives free. Sometimes deliverance is instantaneous, but more often it is a long process.
I was deeply wounded by abuse early in my life. My path to freedom included thirteen years of counseling and twelve years in two different support groups. It was a difficult journey, but the results were well worth it. If you still struggle, get whatever help you need.
7. Satan knows the Word of God and will twist it for his purposes. This one is a big surprise for many people. “Satan knows the Bible?!”
Indeed he does. After he brought Jesus to the highest point of the temple he told Him to throw Himself down, adding, “For it is written: He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” Satan was quoting Psalm 91:11-12, but he was taking the verses out of context in an effort to destroy Jesus. Satan did not continue to verse 13 which says, “You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.” That verse is a prophetic reference to Christ’s victory over Satan (something the devil obviously wouldn’t want to remind Jesus about!)
For many years Satan used– or rather, misused– a verse in the Bible to confuse me. Romans 8:1 states, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” But because of my “thorn in the flesh,” I felt tremendous condemnation, and this led to some insecurity about my salvation. “Maybe I’m not in Christ Jesus, because I feel condemnation all the time.” Every time I read that verse this uncertainty would surface, causing me tremendous anguish.
Eventually, through counseling, I was able to see that the condemnation I was experiencing did not come from God. Some of it came from the lies Satan was telling me, and some of it was self-condemnation, which I had to learn to stop. I also felt a lot of shame because of my particular thorn, and I was confusing that with condemnation, so shame was yet another issue I had to learn to deal with.
This is why regular Bible reading and study is so important! If Satan knows the Word of God, how much more should we! Jesus countered Satan’s temptations with the Word of God. and we need to do the same.
8. Satan is not equal with God. So many people, even some Christians, have this misconception that the battle between good and evil is an even match. Nothing could be further from the truth. God and Satan are not opponents with equal power– not even close! Remember that Satan is a created being, and God is not. God was, is, and always will be infinitely more powerful than the devil.
In Matthew 4:7, when Satan tempted Him to throw Himself off the temple, Jesus replied, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test. ‘” Later on, in Matthew 4:10, Jesus says, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’ “
Did you catch that? “The Lord your God.” Jesus was putting Satan in his place! Jesus repeatedly used Scripture to fight the enemy, and so should we. Jesus was secure in His identity– and we should be also.
9. Satan wants to be lord and master. In his third attempt to tempt Jesus, Satan discards the “if you are the Son of God” tactic. Instead, he comes right to the point in Matthew 4:9. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Remember Satan’s lust for the throne of God? He wanted to be like God. He’s always wanted to be worshiped. And knowingly or unknowingly, sinners do just that. But for the Christian, there can be only one Lord– and his name is Jesus.
And that leads us to the final, and most important, fact.
10. Satan is a defeated enemy. What happened next? Matthew 4:11, “Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.” Jesus commanded Satan to leave, and he did. The enemy had to obey the authority of Jesus. That same authority is available to us as believers!
Always remember that Satan is a defeated enemy. Since he knows the Word of God, he surely knows Revelation 20:10. “And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
The next time Satan challenges your future, remind him of his!
I hope this has been helpful to you. Please subscribe in the yellow box at the top of the page, and feel free to leave a comment below!