Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How Does Satan Attack Us?

How Does Satan Attack Us?

Q. I understand that Satan attacks us through our minds. How does he do this? I know all the scriptures re: girding up the mind, stay alert, think on these things, etc., are more than likely our best defense. Do you have some insight into this?

A. Because of our sin nature, our minds are susceptible to sinful thoughts like lust, anger, envy, jealousy, etc. James 1:14-15 says, “Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin.”

We are under a constant barrage of things that can trigger sinful thoughts. If we reject them out of hand we haven’t sinned. But as soon as we accept them into our minds and begin to consider them, we’ve sinned even if we haven’t acted upon them. At that point Satan will try to build these things up in our minds, making action harder to resist. This is why Paul said to “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5)

Satan In Our Minds, Follow-Up

Q. In response to what you wrote in ‘Satan in our minds’, I was wondering how Satan has access to our thoughts and deeds if he isn’t omniscient or omnipresent.

In following on from this thought, I have also begun to wonder whether Satan is allowed by God, to be physically in the presence of believers - or whether having ‘Christ within’ prevents him from doing so.

A. He doesn’t have to be omni present or omniscient. He has a huge demonic following to help him, and just has to influence your thinking by suggesting things to you.

I don’t think that believers can be demon possessed, but I know they can suffer demonic oppression. When James 4:7 says “resist the devil and he’ll flee from you”, it implies that he or one of his helpers can be in your presence and tormenting you. Submitting ourselves to God in the same verse means to admit we’re sinners and confess so we can be restored to fellowship and God’s protection. Verse 8 confirms this.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:7-8)

Satan In Our Minds?

Q. I have a question that a lot of people don’t know how to answer but I’m pretty sure you do, can the devil get into your mind or more precisely put thoughts into your mind? people get the idea that this is possible because of what Christ said.

Luke 4:8 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

The Bible also records, in the Matthew and Mark gospels, how Jesus rebuked Peter with the same words at his suggestion that Jesus would not be raised from the dead.

Matthew 16:23. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

Where in the Bible does it indicate this being possible?

A. One really clear place is in Ephesians 4:26-27 where Paul tells us that letting the sun go down on our anger can give the devil a foot hold. Because our minds are subject to our sin nature the devil has access to us through our thoughts. That’s why sin doesn’t occur with the origination of a thought but in the acceptance and consideration of it.

Failing to forgive someone immediately creates an opportunity for Satan to influence our thoughts as we dwell on the reason for our anger and think of ways to get even. We begin to justify our position making it harder to forgive. The devil has gained a foot hold in our minds. At that point, the Lord said, it’s as bad as if we’d murdered the person. (Matt. 5:21-22)

James 1:14-15 explains it this way.

Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Can Satan Indwell A Person?

Q. I heard from somebody a while back that “Satan is a created being and can only be at one place at one time, like ourselves. Is it possible for Satan to actually “indwell” in a person? Because of my faith in Jesus, I know that He is with us and indwells in us always, but I thought that He and the Holy Spirit were the only ones capable of “indwelling” anybody.

A. Satan can bring thoughts to the thresh hold of your mind, but as a believer you have the choice of taking them under consideration or not.(2 Cor. 10:5) When we’re “out of fellowship” with God due to unconfessed sin, we may be deprived of the Holy Spirit’s powers of discernment and therefore fail to see the evil in what Satan has brought us. This is how he influences us. Most scholars agree that Satan can not “possess” a believer, and in the Bible only Judas (John 13:27) and the anti-Christ (Rev. 13:2) are said to be personally indwelt by Satan.

Judas And The Anti-Christ

In John 17, Judas is referred to as the son of perdition. In 2 Thess, the antichrist is referred to as the son of perdition. Is there a connection here?

In John 17, Judas is referred to as the son of perdition. In 2 Thess, the antichrist is referred to as the son of perdition. Is there a connection here?

A. You’re referring to John 17:12 where Jesus, while praying for His disciples, notes that He’s lost none of them except Judas who was doomed from the beginning.

In John 13:27 we read that when Jesus identified Judas as the traitor in the ranks, Satan entered him. At that point, Judas went from someone influenced by Satan to one indwelt by Him.

So it will be with the anti-Christ. When he first comes on the scene it will be as one influenced by Satan, but as things unfold Satan will actually dwell within him.(Rev. 13:1-8). Thus, Judas and the anti-Christ become the only two in the BIble to be personally indwelt by Satan.


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