It is so easy to blame the devil for everything; in fact, he gets far more credit than he deserves. Moreover, in some circles, he gets more glory than God. Part of the problem for some is they haven’t really taken the time to study their Bibles to find out what Jesus actually did for them at the Cross and Resurrection. Sure, they understand their sins were forgiven, but that is far as it goes. What they fail to understand is the devil was disempowered, and doesn’t have the authority he once had (see Colossians 2:8-15). Moreover, Holy Spirit lives in the disciples of Jesus Christ, which leads to a simple question: who is greater in power, Satan or Holy Spirit? It’s a rhetorical question, and yet some will say things like, “If you start doing something for God, the devils going to come after you.” So what? What’s he going to do? The reality is he is after everyone.
1 Peter 5:8-9 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
Many know this already, but it bears repeating: the devil is not a roaring lion, nor can he devour anyone at will. Notice, verse eight says, “who he may devour.” It’s a permissive statement. In other words, only those who come in agreement with him are whom he may devour. This passage of Scripture also reveals everyone faces affliction, but don’t take that too far. It means you’re not alone in your struggles. Afflictions serve a purpose, and it’s not to destroy you, which will be addressed later. How do we resist the devil in the faith?
James 4:6-8 But He giveth more grace. Wherefore He saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
We resist by humbling ourselves and submitting to God. In humility, we find God’s grace at work. Grace is His favor that enables us to do what we cannot do in ourselves. As we submit, His power goes to work, which is why verse seven says, “he will flee from you.” The devil isn’t the real problem; it’s being double-minded. It would be beneficial to read the entirety of chapter four to get a fuller context of these verses.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
By definition, a stronghold is a castle or fortress used to fortify, protect or hold safely. Metaphorically speaking, it’s a strong point, or an argument in which someone trusts. This verse is the only place in the Bible where this word is used. So, by biblical definition strongholds are imaginations and arguments. Where are these found? In the mind. That’s right, your battlefield is found between your two ears. Here’s a quick example of a stronghold: some believe a stronghold is some demonic bastion over a city, which afflicts people, and keeps our prayers from getting answered. Again, Jesus disempowered the enemy, they don’t have that kind of authority. Sure, there is demon-possession in non-believers; but again, that too requires permission. The enemy only has power in your life if you give it to him. See what happens if you stop mentioning him in your conversations. Yes, he is still real, but he’s limited. Enough about him. The issue is our thinking. It’s the reason we are implored to renew or renovate our minds (see Romans 12:2).
The way we think or view things influence our decisions and behavior (see Proverbs 23:6-7). The way we were raised and the things we consume in terms of what we put in our minds, greatly affect our thoughts. In part two, we’ll go into greater detail on how all this works in relation to the various areas of our lives. There is far too much information to cover in one blog.