They want to kill you. There are people you can’t see, establishing systems and creating plots to take your life away and make you miserable. Okay, this sounds like some paranoid fantasy—but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. According to the Bible, there is an evil plot to kill every one of us. In the New Testament, the leader of this plot is called Satan, and he will not stop until every human being on the planet is destroyed, or until he himself is destroyed.
Satan has been working on this plot for many thousands of years—almost as long as there have been humans. And he has gotten very good at his work. His personal goal is to have every human destroyed. But he doesn’t take the direct approach—killing them directly himself. Rather, he uses God’s law to condemn people to death for their sin. But how that is done varies from person to person.
Satan and his armies—called “evil spirits” or “demons”—have developed four general strategies to destroy human beings. These strategies are so powerful and effective that Satan hasn’t had to create new ones (although he does revise them from time to time). These strategies are his basic strategies of war—and it is what we need to be careful of.
1. Satanic oppression
This is a prison as a consequence of sin. It is “hell on earth”, where a person’s motives, desires and instincts are under Satan’s control. This is not the same as “possession” (which is not a biblical term), but it is a more subtle control. The person still feels that they make their own decisions, and they do—but based on Satanic principles. To everyone else they look and act insane, but to themselves they are rational (Mark 9:17-23)
Often a person can “invite” Satanic control because it makes their lives easier. Perhaps they are tired of making decisions themselves, or they appreciate what they are offered by an evil spirit. But whatever the case, no matter how strong it is, a person can gain freedom from oppression if they devote themselves to Jesus and reject the spirits controlling them.
Some dramatic examples might be:
Possession, control of one’s body; Multiple personality disorder with an evil personality; Schizophrenia, where one hears voices telling them to do clearly evil things; Drug or alcohol addiction; Epilepsy with no physical cause found; Insanity combined with irrational denial of God or Jesus
Satan often has these people reach death in a violently dramatic way—through suicides, fights, car or plane crashes, drug overdoses, or other kinds of unnatural deaths. Not all of the oppressed ones end this way, but many do.
Signs of Satanic Attack:
Do you have periods where you lose control of your body that cannot be explained medically?
Do you ever have an epileptic attack, but medicine doesn’t help?
Do you often have a compulsion to obey a voice that tells you to do violent, God-hating or evil things?
2. Judgment for sin
For every person who has sinned in rebellion against God, Satan has the right to judge them for their sin. God has given to Satan the authority to attack those who have sinned (and, on occasion, to attack someone who has not sinned—see Job 1). Every sin has consequences—some of them are physical, some are spiritual, some are emotional. Satan wants to gain the most from every sin. Some sins have few or no consequences, while other sin causes misery in our lives.
Some of the misery Satan causes is:
Rejection of God
Hatred of others/bitterness.
We can die from these judgements. Sickness can cause death, at times, as can bitterness, depression or guilt. However, Satan often uses these judgements to convince the sinner that one is “separated” from God, with no opportunity for forgiveness. One the ministries Jesus came to perform is the release from these judgements of Satan, offering forgiveness for people through deliverance (Mark 2:1-12).
Signs of Satanic attack:
Do you have a misery which cause cannot be determined?
Are you isolated due to a sickness or mental illness?
Has sin caused misery in you?
3. Satanic “footholds”
Satan only comes in where he is invited. But no one has to hand the authority of themselves to Satan directly. It isn’t like the movies, where we “devote ourselves to Satan” and our “souls are lost.” Early in our lives we learn from our parents or friends that the ways of the world are better than the ways of God, and so we begin to explore. Thus, we quickly hand ourselves over to Satan.
There are some actions that we do, even if we only do them once, then we are in rebellion against God and his ways. There are certain keys that the satanic forces look for to entrap us—and once we are entrapped in a certain area, we are not released. We remain trapped in a sin, and we have no way within ourselves to be released from them. These keys are called in Scripture a “place” or “foothold” (Ephesians 4:27). We do not have the ability to be delivered from these sins ourselves, but God does and if we ask for deliverance, God will grant it.
The footholds we need to especially watch out for are:
Anger without reconciliation; long term anger
Acts of hostility
Experimental drug use /alcoholism
Extreme sexual deviance
Rebellion against established authority
This is especially successful against Christians. For every Christian that Satan draws into a foothold, then many more can reject the truth of the gospel, because those outside the church are convinced that “Christians are hypocrites.”
The pattern of sin causes us to be judged by God on judgment. Often, because the pattern of sin is out of our control, we think that we will have no responsibility for our sin. However, we will be judged for our actions, whether we can control them or not. Satan wants us to accept our sins, not ask God for deliverance, so we can be destroyed by God (Jude 1:14-15)
Signs of Satanic attack:
Do you have an area of sin that no matter what you try, you can’t get rid of?
Do your prayers to be rid of temptation seem to be unanswered?
Are you trapped in a cycle of sin?
4. Societal lies
Satan’s most successful strategy has been to lie to whole societies. If a person is told a lie often enough, they soon believe it is the truth, no matter how ridiculous it first seems, or how lacking in common sense. Satan’s workers spread the lies, and then humans build institutions and educational facilities that promote and create human power behind these lies. (I John 2:14-17; II Corinthians 4:4)
Some of the lies Satan perpetuates in our Western societies are:
Practical Atheism: We should act as if God has no power.
Spiritual Segregationism: We should limit ‘religion’ or ‘spirituality’ to a segment of society/personality.
Pluralism: There are many ways to spiritual truth or power.
Nihilism: There is no practical spiritual reality—or we should begin all philosophy or theology on the assumption that there is no spiritual reality.
Idolatry: We need something other than or in addition to Jesus to reach God.
Materialism: Salvation through the world, not God.
Atheism/Agnosticism: God doesn’t exist, or we cannot know if he exists.
Institutionalism: God works only through a particular institution (such as a church or a government).
Satan’s lie works successfully in two ways: First, everyone who lacks faith in God or Jesus cannot gain the salvation of God or Jesus. While disbelief doesn’t necessarily lead to immediate death, it condemns us to death eventually. This method of Satan is most successful because so many people live happy, successful lives believing in Satan’s lies. Secondly, these lies create human institutions that destroys people’s lives, causing them to endure a living hell—which often causes them to reject God as well.
Signs of Satanic attack:
Do you say “yes” where God says “no”?
Do you want to explain away a good portion of the Bible?
Is God’s truth ultimately a lie to you?
Don’t be taken in by Satan’s strategies to kill you!