For the 4th week I wanted to talk about my first non-fiction book - Battlefield Victory: Winning the War Against Satan. It is a book about spiritual warfare. Below you can read the first chapter to get a sample of the style of the book. You can buy the Kindle version by clicking here and the paperback version by clicking here.
Yes, Virginia, There is a Satan
First and foremost, I want to be very clear on one thing. There is a Satan. Different cultures have different names for him, but there is one fallen angel who serves as the ultimate, malevolent intelligence in the universe and coordinates the efforts of all other evil spirits. He is in no way, shape or form equal to God. Like angels, humans, and animals he is a created being. That means he is fallible and in no way omnipotent despite what he wants people to think. God is in charge and Satan’s power is only equivalent to that of other angels. He just uses his for evil in an effort to cause mankind to fall away from God and heed their own baser urges instead of striving to be their best and highest selves as God intended.
His motives have been long speculated on. Some believe that jealousy of humans caused his fall. Others have speculated that an arrogant belief that he was equal to God led to the revolution in heaven that saw him and his followers cast out. The Jewish people believe he isn’t evil at all, but that he is an angel of God doing the task God has set for him which is to oppose people and help them to grow stronger because of it. Some religions see him as one of a pantheon of gods, but the one dedicated to chaos, mischief, and harm.
Ultimately whatever his motives are doesn’t matter. Whatever religious background you come from and whether you view him as an angel, a fallen angel, or a dark god doesn’t affect the basic fact that he is to be resisted and defeated both in your life and in the cosmic scheme of things. For the purposes of this book we will speak of him with the Christian perspective of the chief of the fallen angels, enemy of both God and man.
I have had the great dishonor of encountering him face-to-face on roughly half a dozen occasions. The first was as a young child when he revealed himself to me for the purpose of terrorizing me and dissuading me from the plan God had for my life. Many years later when I had answered God’s call to be a warrior for Him and help teach others about spiritual warfare Satan again came to me and offered me a deal in order to stop me from speaking of what I knew to others and battling him openly. I refused and the last few encounters with him have been as equally unpleasant as those.
The vast majority of people will never encounter Satan themselves. His appearances to people are thankfully infrequent. He doesn’t have to show up because there are legions who do his bidding and the torment and confusion they bring is more than enough to trap people in a perpetual darkness of despair, pain, and ineffectualness. Even the least demon can cause unspeakable havoc in a person’s life.
This is why any demonic attack, no matter how slight or from where it comes should be treated with the utmost seriousness and quick and decisive action. We will get into how to recognize and deal with attacks in later chapters.
SATAN AND THE BIBLE
Satan is mentioned by name more than fifty times in the Bible. Devils, demons, or unclean spirits are mentioned more than seventy times. Job was tormented by Satan himself who had to receive permission from God to do so. Jesus was tempted by Satan. Jesus and his followers cast out demons and unclean spirits as part of their ministry. The war between God and Satan comes to a climax in the book of Revelation where we are given a taste of the things to come.
In the Bible these evil creatures are given just as much weight and credence as angels. Both exist. There have been many modern movements that want to deny the existence of the evil spirits while still acknowledging the good ones. This is simply not Biblical. It is not even logical. God’s creation shows a balance and harmony between all things including light and dark, male and female. To put it in scientific terms for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Evil does not just sit in the human heart. It also has a consciousness and a form and can express itself when and where it chooses.
This movement to deny the existence of evil made it hard for many years to talk about the reality of it. When I first began to open up and share my own experiences it was with a great deal of trepidation because I knew that there was a decent chance that the person I was talking to, even if a professed Christian, would not believe me.
I’ve been very surprised and relieved that it has become easier in recent years to discuss this subject freely and openly. We must bring these things out of the darkness and into the light so that we can best understand how to help ourselves and each other.
Here are just a few of the things the Bible has to say about Satan that are true and relevant and important for people to remember:
· “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” - I Peter 5:8 (NKJV)
· “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” - James 4:7 (KJV)
· “And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.” - Mark 4:15 (KJV)
· “And he said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven’.” - Luke 10:18 (NKJV)
· “And the God of peace shall bruise Satanunder your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.”- Romans 16:20 (KJV)
SATAN IN THE MODERN WORLD
The activities of Satan and his minions didn’t cease after the early church. Satan and the demons under him have been busy the last two millennia making life difficult for everyone. His goal is to keep believers from reaching their God-given potential and to keep non-believers from becoming believers. To that end he tempts us and torments us.
The devil doesn’t tempt us when we are at our best. When we are strong, confident, secure, and want for nothing it is harder to shake us. This was the very argument he gave God concerning Job in fact. So, you’ll notice that it was after Jesus had been fasting for forty days and was hungry (and isolated and likely very weak physically) that Satan put in his appearance. And he didn’t just tempt Jesus in one area, he tempted him in several. These same categories are areas in which he tempts us.
Physical Needs - The desire to fulfill physical needs (food, shelter, etc.) are the most basic needs a human being has. They can be the easiest to fulfill, but when life goes wrong they can sometimes seem impossible to achieve. Here it was food. Jesus had to be incredibly hungry. So, Satan tempts him with turning stones to bread. On the surface, this doesn’t even seem like a terrible idea. I mean, he didn’t ask him to steal or cheat or lie, just use his gifts to feed himself. In the same way, Satan will tempt us in subtle ways, often with things that aren’t even illegal or immoral, just questionable. Where’s the harm? he asks. Fasting was a religious exercise for the Jews, a way of purifying the body and allowing the mind to focus more fully on God. Satan often wants to take our minds off God and put them on ourselves.
Emotional or Ego Needs- Power and glory. Very few people if they are being honest with themselves don’t want these things. Yet, look at what Satan was offering Jesus. It’s ludicrous for two reasons. First, Jesus’ whole message was about the kingdom of God, the kingdom that was to come. What Satan was talking about was the idea of the earthly kingdom that the Jews were expecting their Messiah to lead. Playing into human expectations. Second, it’s ludicrous because God owns everything already. He is only allowing Satan to play in His sandbox. So, Satan was offering Jesus what was not his offer. It’s like if someone walked up to your car and offered to give it to you if you would just worship them. It’s already your car. No brainer. So, why this temptation? Because it would have been attractive to Jesus to unite the world in peace under Him now, but that was not the plan. The glory and power that He ultimately would have far transcended that of what Satan was offering. He just had to stick to the plan and remember that shortcuts are often pitfalls in disguise.
WHAT DOES WARFARE LOOK LIKE?
Warfare can take many forms, most of them subtle. A string of strange coincidences that keep you from achieving something that would benefit you, others, or the kingdom of God could be an attack. Persistent negative thoughts and emotions that distract you and keep you from being productive could be an attack.
Attacks can also be far more obvious and include seeing or hearing things when you are alone. They can turn violent in the most extreme cases.
The bottom line is, anything that is keeping you from achieving your potential and doing the work of God is potentially an attack by the enemy that must be responded to. In Chapter 2 we will discuss basic strategies for beginning to fight back and in Chapter 3 we will discuss how to determine if what is happening to you is a spiritual attack. IF you are experiencing physical attacks go now immediately to Chapter 2 for help.
WHAT DEMONS CAN’T DO
Demons can manipulate you, harass you, and even harm you physically at times. As a Protestant, however, they can NOT possess you in the traditional sense of the word. They can’t step into your body and take over. They can possess others, but not you. Instead they are oppressing you.
A lot of times when we go through something horrific, we find ourselves asking“Why?” If things are really bad we might even find ourselves screaming “Why?” and begging God for an answer. When it comes to spiritual warfare, this is a simple question to answer.
Satan and all the demons under his control hate you and want you to fail and turn away from God. That’s right. They hate you. That’s the first reason you are suffering. They want you to fail. They don’t want you to be the person you could be, to succeed and fulfill your potential. That’s the second reason. They want you to turn away from God. That’s the third reason. Satan was convinced if he could torment Job enough that Job would turn from God. It didn’t work with Job, but it has worked on others.
You are unique and special. That’s how God created you. You were made in His image and the life that He has set out for you is a life and path that no one else can live and take. They’re all for you. God has an ideal plan in mind for you. Many things can keep us from sticking to this plan, most notably our own stubbornness, fear, or short-sightedness. However, Satan and his minions can also attack you to try and get you to stray from the path and veer from the plan. But why you ask?
It doesn’t matter if you’re a minister or a missionary, your life, your example, is seen by thousands and thousands of people in your lifetime. Without saying a word about what you believe, you are demonstrating it in your actions, your words, even the way you carry yourself when you walk down the street. There is something about a Christian living out their potential that acts like a beacon to bring others to God, even if they never mention His name to those people.
To stop us from doing this, demons hit us where it hurts, where they think they can do the most damage. They know our Achilles heels and they continue to thrash away on them hoping to destroy us. They have studied us and know how best to stop us from reaching our God-given potential and being the people, the Christians, that God has called us to be.
When we are at our best, fulfilling God’s dream for our life, we are reaching more people through our example. Often we are touching lives more directly as well. God might be calling you to create a business, start a ministry, get involved with a charity, or otherwise help people in a real, measurable way. Satan wants to stop this at all costs.
So, Satan sends his minions to attack you.
That’s what they’re doing now. Here’s a couple of questions to ponder while you continue reading.
What was happening in your spiritual life before the attack? (Think about the hours before, but also the days and weeks.)
What do you think the Enemy might be trying to distract you from or stop you from doing?
These questions will help you understand why and when attacks happen. Still, it can be hard to determine sometimes when you are under attack or when the things that are happening to you are simply part of the natural world and not the supernatural. Determining the difference is what we discuss in Chapter 3.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
-I Peter 5:8 (NKJV)
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
- James 4:7 (KJV)
“And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.”
- Mark 4:15 (KJV)
“And he said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven’.”
- Luke 10:18 (NKJV)
“And the God of peace shall bruise Satanunder your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.”
- Romans 16:20 (KJV)
· Take a deep breath and admit that Satan wants to stop you from fulfilling God’s plan for your life.
· Ask yourself if there has been anything unusual going on in your life in any aspect that seems negative or is hindering you.
· Ask yourself what was happening in your spiritual life at the time the unusual thing began to happen.
· Ask yourself what it is that God might want you to do that Satan would not want you to do.
PRAYER OF VICTORY
Thank You, God, for opening my eyes to the reality of the spiritual war that is raging around me. Help me as I learn to defend myself and drive the enemy from my life. Thank You that I already have the victory through You. Amen.