We’re being hit by the enemy from inside and out. But this third and final tool our opponent uses hits our most vulnerable spots–Satan’s personal attacks. How can we be prepared and protected from his sudden ambushes and win the victory?
“Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.” – 1 Peter 5:8-9
The last two weeks we have discussed two tools that Satan uses to try to destroy our lives and marriages. We narrowed these tools into two major categories. They are the flesh–the inner enemy, and the world–the outer enemy. We want to conclude the series this week by looking at the enemy himself. Prayerfully by better understanding what God has revealed to us about Satan in His Word, we can better defend ourselves against his attacks.
Our Two Natures
When we become followers of Christ, we also become part of a spiritual battle. Our old sinful nature goes to war against our new nature God gives us.
Dr. Bill Bright founded Campus Crusade for Christ, which is now known as Cru. He also wrote “The Four Spiritual Laws,” a Gospel tract long used as a tool to lead many people to faith in Jesus as their Savior. When speaking, he often told a story which compared our old and new natures when we come to Christ.
Dr. Bright said the two natures that live within us as Christians are like two dogs, one brown and one white. They would fight viciously. Which dog would win the fight was determined by which dog was fed and cared for better by its owner. If the brown dog was starved and ignored, while the white dog was well fed and cared for, then the white dog would win, or vice versa.
The question for us is which dog–nature–are we feeding?
Because much in our culture is controlled by Satan, if we listen to that culture, we will be feeding our old sinful nature. For instance, we feed our sin-filled nature–not always, but often–when we turn on the television, go to a movie, read a newspaper, magazine, or novel, or listen to modern music.
The Bible tells us that when we saturate ourselves with our culture, we are playing into Satan’s hands.
Jesus says in John 10:10 that Satan “comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”
Peter also warns us in 1 Peter 5:8: “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Satan hates us, and he will do whatever he can to ruin our lives and our marriages.
Satan’s Destructive Ways
Let’s look at some of the ways the Bible warns us about Satan and his evil and destructive ways.
In Matthew 13:39, Jesus explains the Parable of the Weeds. He says “the enemy who sows them [weeds or lies among the good seed of God’s truth] is the devil.” And in John 8:44, He says: “He [Satan] was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.’”
Paul was concerned that the church at Thessalonica had fallen for Satan’s lies. He wrote in a letter to them: “For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter had tempted you and that our labors might have been in vain” (1 Thessalonians 3:5).
The enemy has always been a liar and a tempter. We can find this from the beginning of mankind with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3:4-14.
Satan is referred to as both a deceiver and an accuser in Revelation 12:9-10: “The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.’”
These passages show us traits of Satan that he will use to try to lead us away from God and each other, with the goal to destroy our lives and marriages. These include lies, deception, temptations from within and without, and accusations. (We have discussed these in Part 1 and Part 2 of this study.)
While Satan will use these tools and any others he can to attempt to destroy us and our marriages, we need to remember some other powerful truths from God’s Word.
God’s Overcoming Power
Satan is a formidable foe, not to be ignored. But he is also not to be given more credit than he deserves. For he has already been defeated.
Paul writes in Colossians 2:13-15: “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”
When we accept God’s gift of salvation through faith in Christ, Satan’s tool of holding sin and hell over our heads is taken away. We are saved, forgiven, and set free from slavery to sin so we can love God and our spouses with our lips and our lives. We have the gift of the Holy Spirit living in us to help us to serve God and each other. And when we live with that assurance, we can have victory over whatever Satan may throw at us.
We also find this truth in Hebrews 2:14-15: “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” Notice here that when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we have victory over another of the tools Satan tries to use against us–fear of death.
God’s Word is clear: Christ has victory over Satan. He showed that when He rose from the dead after dying as a sacrifice for our sins on the cross. Therefore, we also have victory over Satan when we trust in Jesus as our Savior, for He comes to live in us through the Holy Spirit.
We are assured in 1 John 4:4: “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you [the Holy Spirit] is greater than the one who is in the world [Satan].”
The enemy is a defeated foe who is not stronger than the God we serve. He cannot take away our salvation or God’s love from us. But he will never stop trying to make us doubt this. He will try to take away our love for God and each other as husband and wife. He will try to make us ineffective servants of God, and he will try to destroy our marriages.
How do we keep the enemy from succeeding?
Never forget we have a new nature in Christ.
Romans 7:21-25: “So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
When we give our lives to Jesus, He gives us a new nature that is spotless and clean. We must never lose sight of this.
Even so, we must remember as fallen people we still carry within us a nature capable of sin. And this is the constant battle we still fight.
Our new life in Christ sets up a duel between the new and old natures. And as the Spirit of God dwells in our hearts, we recognize just how wretched we truly are. This is the battle Paul refers to in the passage above. Only when Paul identified his God-given nature was he able to comprehend his captivity.
Augustine was also greatly aware of his sinfulness. He wrote: “By these links, as it were, a chain was I held, shackled with a hard bondage. So these my two wills—the one old, the other new; the one carnal, the other spiritual—contended together, and by their discord disturbed my soul.”
Keep our hearts and minds set on God and His Truth.
Colossians 3:1-3: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”
We must be careful to set our hearts and minds on God and His Truth. It is important to nurture our new nature so it grows. We do this as we read God’s Word daily and spend time with the Lord in prayer. For our new nature to conquer the old, we must allow God to feed our souls.
We can–and should–do this both as individuals and together as a married couple. (As we’ve mentioned before, one tool Sabra and I use to seek Him together is Couple Connect. We encourage you to check out this post or download our free ebook here to see if this would be helpful to you: Couple Connect – A Simple Weekly Plan to Stay Close for a Lifetime.)
As we read Scripture, God will prepare us for the spiritual battles we will face. To be strong warriors for Christ, we need to dwell less on things of the flesh and instead dive into the Bible. We need to feed our new nature by spending time with God in His Word and by praying for things such as forgiveness and guidance. If we are ever to win the war within and from without, we must engage evil with God as our guide and source of power.
No matter how tough the battle with Satan and the flesh get, always remember that on the cross Jesus Christ won the war—once and for all. We must follow Peter’s admonition in 1 Peter 5:8-9: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.”
We can do this together as husband and wife with God’s help. Remember these two truths from God…
Jesus says: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
And God assures us through Paul’s words in Philippians 4:13: “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Questions for Discussion
- Read this week’s teaching post together. Discuss what God taught you about your marriage and how you might apply it.
- Discuss together how you did at putting into practice what you had desired to do this past week based upon last week’s teaching. Discuss what results you saw from doing so.
- Re-read the two suggestions at the end of this week’s teaching for keeping Satan from influencing your marriage. Discuss how you will put those into practice this week, and how you will help each other to do so.
- Pray together asking God to help you carry out what you have committed to do. Ask God to protect you as individuals and to protect your marriage from Satan’s attacks this week. Those attacks will come. So make sure to ask God to help you be prepared for them, and to defeat Satan when they do come.
Next week will be our Thanksgiving teaching.
Until then, may God bless you in all His wonderful ways,
Other posts in the TOOLS OF THE ENEMY series:
Part 1: The Battle from Inside
Part 2: The Battle from Outside
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.