Category Archives: Sizing up the Enemy
Satan’s side can also be superior in numbers. Although the Bible never gives us the number of demons in existence, we can infer that they exist in vast numbers of demons in existence, we can infer that they exist in vast numbers—at least hundreds of millions and perhaps billions. Also, with their unlimited mobility as spirit beings, Satan can arrange to outnumber God’s followers in any particular locality. If a group of Christians begins to influence spiritual battle, we have every reason to believe Satan can quickly send in reinforcements and outnumber them. Satan is not omnipresent, but he gets excellent coverage with his numerous and mobile underlings.
Satan and his followers are superior to the body of Christ in intellect. None of us has any hope of matching up with his brilliance or education. The Bible presents Satan as extraordinarily smart; again, God said he was perfect in wisdom (Ezekiel 28:12). Satan’s intellect includes both book knowledge and field experience.
Many of our people aren’t too smart even as humans go, and others won’t take any time to study. Some don’t even believe that thinking, learning, and study are worthwhile spiritual activities. Many Christians would rather learn gospel songs with not a word of the gospels in it, instead of reading the gospel. The contrast between our confusion and Satan’s sharp, well-informed forces is pitiful. Intellectually, Christians are hopelessly outclassed; without gaining the desired wisdom from God.
As I begin my quest to size up the enemy to prepare for the spiritual battles ahead of me, I couldn’t help but to think about our enemy the devil. In the first place he’s been doing this for thousands of years. As a result he and his demon followers are supremely experienced. Something that church never taught me. Satan has seen it all many times. He knows the moves of us five sermons, two shouts and I spoke in tongue holier than thou—Christians. He’s studied human nature for ages and knows exactly how we work. Satan know in the tension of battle get the Saints a new car or new house or both and they will lose it and start running around in circles, especially when they know they are not prepared for the war. But Satan doesn’t have to worry about that with his battle-hardened fighters. While our green troops are still trying to figure out what battle is, or how to get your money; Satan’s followers have each fought thousands of battles —they have study the Word and they know as long as you don’t obey and follow along according to God’s plan. YOU LOOSE!!!
Finally, Satan’s forces never have any problem with unbelief. They all know exactly what’s going on and who God is. They waste no time wondering what’s real. Conversely, our people sometimes don’t even believe spiritual war exists. We doubt our leader, we doubt his Word, and we doubt one another, often with devastating results. Even when we’re only briefly immobilized by unbelief, this may allow sufficient time for Satan to make his move. When Christians live in perpetual doubt, they offer no resistance at all. Unbelief cuts off the supply of God’s power.
Good leadership is crucial to winning battles. Our leader is Jesus, the head of the body (Colossians 1:18); we have the superior leadership. But our lines of communication with Jesus are often poor. Many Christians rarely read or study the Bible, where God clearly teaches his battle plan. And following the subtle, inner leading of the Holy Spirit isn’t easy for carnally minded Christians who don’t even remember to pray.
In practice, God usually leads through human delegates, and this becomes a major difficulty. Human leaders frequently are corrupt and self-serving. Lying, instability, hypocrisy, and misdirected ego-trips characterize far too many.
Satan also is an excellent leader, consistently guiding his forces to victory. He also has direct communication with his fellow-spirit beings, and they understand what he says.
Satan has the freedom to cheat. The fact that Satan is not constrained by ethics can be a significant advantage. Total pragmatism—winning at any cost and by any means—is had to combat. We, on the other hand, have to wage war according to God’s rules. In human combat, always telling the truth would be unthinkable, deceiving your enemy is a crucial wartime operation. Satan does this all the time, but we don’t have the freedom to lie. While we wouldn’t have much chance of deceiving him anyway, we could deceive his human servants if we were permitted. He uses manipulation and intimidation to good effect, but these are out of bounds for us as well.
We are not to play into the culture’s popular desires but instead generally confront people with a message they find offensive. Satan is free to tell them exactly what they want to hear. He promises them the very thing they desire even though he has no intention of delivering.
God won’t overrule human free will in most cases; he waits for a choice from feeble humans at multiple. But Satan won’t hesitate to enslave people and overtake them to various extents, even without their knowledge. In a word, God often forbids us to do the pragmatically useful thing and instead calls us to forfeit results for the sake of faithfulness to him.
Staying alert is important in war, whereas an unexpected move (such as Pearl Harbor) often brings defeat. Many passages on fighting with Satan stress the need for alertness (Acts 20:31; 1 Corinthians 16:13; Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:6 1 Peter 5:8), but this is a sore spot for most Christians. We might be alert at certain times, but usually we’re preoccupied by other interests. Some are so preoccupied they “forget” for months at a time that a war is going on! Satan’s forces have no other interests. While they may be surprised at times, this appears infrequent, and they seem to adjust quickly.
One time remember someone in our church reaching out to this man. The new believer turned out to be very influential, and within a few weeks a dozen others had come to Christ or were close to faith in this group of men. But Satan rapidly enticed one leader to fall into an affair and another to fall into drugs. Then he set them against each other, and within another week the group of men disintegrated and disappeared. The leaders forgot they were in a war and needed to stay alert. The new recruits were destroyed.
All firsthand accounts of battle emphasize how terrifying it is. Seeing friends cut down on every side is unnerving. But Satan’s forces are fearless. They come, and they keep coming, no matter what happens. Any local victory we score will be answered quickly by another attack. Casualties are common in the church. How jolting it is to see believers you thought would never falter fall apart completely.
Relentless pressure like this becomes demoralizing to fearful people like us. Humans tend to keep score and to lose heart when they’re behind. But the demons don’t seem to care how often they lose—they remain just as determined during times of victory. Satan capitalizes on fear, often convincing Christians that their struggle is hopeless, and this is particularly true in groups that are aggressively doing God’s work. While do-nothing groups may live in comparative serenity, active, forward-moving groups can expect a relentless battering.
Satan apparently commands a well-disciplined army. While we have no evidence that their discipline is perfect, Jesus discounted the idea that they might fight against other (Matthew 12:26). Well-coordinated work is typical of satanic attacks; his followers know what to do, and they do it with extreme reliability. Our people, on the other hand, frequently are more like a loose rabble. We feel happy if our people even show up, let alone take a hand in the struggle. And too often our people do Stan’s work for him—arguing his case or even attacking and destroying fellow Christians.
A key advantage for evil spirits is their stealth. To humans, spirits are invisible unless they want to be seen, and this is a terrible handicap for us. In 2 Kings 6,we read that Elisha’s servant was alarmed one morning to find the town where they were staying surrounded by a hostile army. But Elisha told him:
“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6:16-17
How different things would look if we could see the spirit world. Believers would probably walk much more carefully if they could see actual demons following them around. Instead, we too often find that Satan has already done his work among us and departed by the time we begin to wonder if he might be involved. Sometimes the idea of his involvement never even occurs to Christians who stand gaping at spiritual tragedy, confused, and with no idea why or how it happened. We spend most of our time doing damage control because of Satan’s stealth.