I think that when we are growing in the Word and in our relationship with Christ, that that is the time in our lives where Satan gets scared. If we go back to the Gospels at the beginning of the New Testament, specifically the Gospel of Matthew, we see that Satan isn't really present until Chapter 4. I think there's a serious reason for this. Sure, the former angel was almost certainly involved with Herod's plan to wipe out all the 2 year olds and under after Jesus was born to Mary in Bethlehem, but the Devil himself doesn't show up, at least in this Gospel account (or in any until this time I believe) until after Jesus begins His ministry. We sometimes forget that all we know for certain about Jesus' life takes place during His birth, a quick glimpse into His childhood, and the final three years of His time here on Earth. This being said, Lucifer waits until Jesus has been baptized, anointed with the Spirit, and announced by God (aka until He begins His ministry) to show up and personally do something about it. We'll come back to this.
Contrast this with the beginning of time in Genesis. Genesis 3 reveals that Satan tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, seemingly not long after Creation took place. Once Eve had been created and God had given them the Creation Mandate, Satan took it upon himself to tempt them out of eternal glory. Now, unfortunately for us this worked, but if we look at when he did this with the Son of God, we see that, thankfully for us, this failed! Jesus conquered the Devil, and would later conquer Death himself!
But I want to go back to what I said at the beginning, like with Adam & Eve and with Jesus, when we are growing or are doing the Lord's will (or about to) that's when the Devil and/or his demonic minions take opportunity to strike. They use whatever opening into your mind, your feelings, and your heart that they can find in order to deter you from your mission, stall your spiritual growth (or even back-track it), or make you doubt who you are in Christ. Over the past year, I've been struggling with all three of those issues, and the Lord has helped me to overcome them at different times. The last one however, doubting who I am in Christ, that one, for whatever reason, is the one that lingers.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the Truth, and shall be turned unto fables. - 2 Timothy 4:3-4Scripture is very clear here in 2 Timothy that there are false "truths" out there and false teachers to teach them. But there must be something true, something enticing about them. Think about Catholicism. They use the Bible. They pray the Lord's Prayer. They believe in Jesus. So what's the difference? Well, besides the fact that most of the "Christian" figures in Catholicism are actually Roman gods in disguise (Virgin Mary is actually Avalon), Catholics have to pay penance, and if you ask your priest if you're saved, they can't really give you an answer (they don't even know if they themselves are saved!). Now, I'm not saying that people can't be saved in the Catholic Church, one of my Dad's old friends was and is a true believer, but Catholicism as a whole has twisted parts of Scripture and ignored others. I smell a rat, or should I say a snake... I could go on and talk about Mormonism and Jehovah's Witnesses, but I think you guys get the idea. The point is, many read and believe in the Word of God, but as he does often, Satan LOVES to twist God's Word into what it is not.
I think the greatest example of this, besides the temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden, "did God REALLY say?...", is the temptation of Christ. In Matthew 4, Satan tempts Jesus three times (at least that we know of). He tempts Jesus with food, to which He replies with Scripture (Deuteronomy 8:3 to be exact), but then Satan changes his tactic. He realizes that Jesus is the Word made flesh, so instead of tempting the human part of Jesus, he tries to reach the authoritative Word of God Himself by telling Him to call upon His angels to minister to Him, because they will (Psalm 91:11-12). Jesus then replies with another piece of Scripture that says, "Do not tempt the Lord your God" (Deuteronomy 6:16).
Here's what's crazy about this. Satan uses Scripture, even in context to a point, to get Jesus to do something He was not lead by the Spirit to do. Was Satan twisting Scripture? Well, yes and no. Satan was trying to use it to his advantage to get Jesus to do something He wasn't supposed to. So in that regard yes, but at the same time, Psalm 91, which is what he's quoting, is all about the Lord's protection over you and he was essentially asking Jesus to prove that Scripture. Unlike in the Garden of Eden, Satan didn't even need to twist a word or two, he quotes the passage almost word-for-word! But since Jesus is the Son of God, God Himself, He knows that you aren't supposed to tempt Him, and thus responds with Scripture correctly.
Now, I know what you may be thinking, doesn't this cancel out Scripture then? Doesn't this void out the passage in Psalm 91? Well, no, it doesn't. You see, the reason Jesus didn't throw Himself off a building to be caught by angels, because He could have easily and they would've caught Him, is because He understood what I just said above, that people, or in this case a fallen angel, are not supposed to tempt God. And the reason for that is because He is Holy, He's set apart, He doesn't need anything and there's no one more righteous or great than He. Satan understands this too, he just hates Jesus and wanted to see Him fail.
If you continue in Matthew 4, you see that the next temptation has nothing to do with Scripture, he realized that it doesn't work, that he can't phase Jesus because He knows Truth (and rebukes Him with it again for a third time)!
Submit yourselves, therefore, unto God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. - James 4:7If we submit ourselves, our will, our pride, our sin, our everything to God and resist the Devil, then he's not going to stick around. As long as the Enemy has a foothold they'll continue to use it! It's simple battle strategy! This is a war after-all. Which, that being said, we do have a defense against the Enemy using Scripture against us, especially when it comes to us doubting our own salvation...
Faith. Matthew 19:26 tells us that, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Faith is the lifeblood of a believer. It's what drives us, keeps us grounded and focused, and essentially is responsible for running our lives! We aren't saved by our works, as Ephesians 2:8-9 tell us, but by the grace of God, given to us freely if we have faith. John, Romans, and just about every book in the New Testament tells us that if we believe that Jesus is the Son of the Living God and that He was raised from the dead, that we will be saved. WOW. I know as Christians we hear this a lot, and I'd be lying if I said it didn't sound somewhat cliched at this point, but it's the truth! It's the Gospel! Without that fundamental belief, that foundation, we have nothing to stand on and the Enemies arrows will continue to penetrate us until we give up and die. I'm not saying it's easy, it's hard, and it takes a lot of prayer and determination and submission to God and His will, but it can be done! Jesus already won the war, but we still have to fight our daily battles.
Although Satan and the Enemy can, will, and do use Scripture to make us doubt, to tempt us, to hurt us in ways we didn't think the Bible could, we need to remember to stay faithful, to stay true to the Word and to combat the Enemy with Scripture that will help us secure our minds and hearts and win them back from their influence.