The devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short. Revelation 12:12
If you think that life today is not an ongoing spiritual war with battle lines clearly drawn, you simply aren’t aware of what is happening today in every sphere of life, and need to raise your spiritual awareness. Some see a devil behind every dark bush and give Satan far more credit than he deserves, yet the reality is that he is alive and well. He stands in opposition to God, His nature and character, and—yes, let’s face it—His children as well. And if you are God’s child, that’s where you get dragged into the battle.
How does this play out? Here’s an example. Stephen was in line for a promotion in his company. He had the educational background, the personality, the ability, and he had demonstrated his leadership skills. When a management position opened, he fully expected that he would get the promotion. He didn’t. An individual known for his bawdy stories and taste for alcohol who often came to work with a hangover got the job. An insider told him, “Stephen, management doesn’t like the fact that you won’t party with the guys. I guess your Christianity got in the way.”
With Paul he could say, “Satan stopped me.”
Exhibit #2: I will never forget when we were doing a renovation on our building. An architect had designed the changes, which had been approved by the city when we got a building permit. When the building inspector came to sign off the work, he yelled, “This is no good. You need to tear this out and do something else.” I said, “This is built to specifications approved by the building department.” Then, apparently knowing who I was, he turned red in the face and exploded, “You blankety-blank Christians…” “Whoa,” I thought, as he wrote a stop-work order, “What does being a Christian have to do with any of this business?” Again, Satan stopped me.
A generation or two ago Christians sang a hymn, a touchy-feely one, which goes, “This is my father’s world,” something that is still true, not really accurate because my Father’s World is in default as the result of sin in our world, and until Christ comes to redeem it, Satan masquerades as an angel of light. Paul described him as “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2 ESV).
So how much power does he have, and what can I do when I feel that he has stopped me dead in my tracks? Good questions. First, he can do nothing which a sovereign God does not allow, and he is not all-powerful as is God; and, furthermore, his time is fast running out.
Writing the book of Revelation, John said, “The devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short” (Revelation 12:12). Seeing the developments of the past century and the rapid flow of world events as we approach the end of the age, it is only reasonable to believe that Satan has intensified his efforts to wreak havoc in the world and in the lives of God’s children because he knows that his doom is sealed. He can read, and he knows what Revelation 21 says about his doom. He’s also lost enough battles to know that the seed of the woman, the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, will rule and reign.
I have time for just one caveat or warning. Don’t give him an inch or a millimeter of operating space in your life or thoughts. Writing to the Corinthians Paul warned that we must be on guard (in his words) “so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are very familiar with his evil schemes” (2 Corinthians 2:11, NLT).
Resource reading: 2 Corinthians 2:5-11