We are in an unrelenting and gruesome war that constantly leads people away from the light into darkness. Our enemy works hard to destroy any chance of people being filled with eternal life, but for those of us who have already been filled our Lord gives us the opportunity to be a light to those looking for the Way. Once we become a light, there is no way that we could ever be put out. There is nothing that could take away our hope of eternal life, and there is nothing that could separate us from the love of our Father. But, for some reason, Satan still works hard against us. He still works hard to destroy us and make us fail. He constantly battles with us in an all out war against our spirit. In order to defeat our enemy, we have to know who he is.
This weekend as I was with family, we briefly discussed the first encounter of man and Satan, and this encounter reveals so much about who our enemy is. It reveals how depraved and how conniving he is, and it makes it clear that the very nature in him was instilled into us.
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” 4 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5 For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.
8 They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:1-9
We can immediately see how he operates. His purpose/motivation, his method, and his character are all clearly revealed by his actions, although he doesn’t do much.
1. His purpose – He wants to break our fellowship with God. Satan will go out of his way to deny God the fellowship and worship that He desires. God created man in order to have a relationship with him, and God created woman so that she could have a relationship with man. Satan does not want to see God’s will fulfilled, and he does not want God to receive the worship He so greatly deserves. So he attacks us! He goes after the creation, in order to hurt the Creator.
8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
2. His method – He uses doubt. He whispers in our ear to make us question something that is pure and true! He deceives to make us think that we have the ability or the right or the power. He fills us with pride, and that pride is what disconnects us from God. He turns our attention and manipulates our own needs and our own desires so that we lose focus of our Lord. He cannot do anything in truth because his own sin debilitates him. So he resorts to deception and doubt that creeps into our lives without us even recognizing it.
3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:3
3. His character – He is a liar, and He is filled with pride! His pride causes him to do anything it takes to prove that he doesn’t need God. He lies; he cheats; he steals away God’s glory. He is depraved because he himself is separated from God, and he attempts to separate us in the same way. He attempts to disconnect us from the pure truth that is God in order to make us selfish, prideful, deceivers the same as him.
44 You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44
Everything we need to know about the enemy can be found in man’s first encounter with him. The epitome of his nature is especially seen when we consider his part in the latter part of the account. He comes and instills doubt and pride in Eve’s heart, and then where does he go? He completely vanishes! He is gone without a trace! He runs, and gives no second thought as to what he has caused. He wants no part in a relationship, but would rather see relationships broken and destroyed. He does not care about you or me. He does not want the best for us. He only wants one thing. He is pride.
At the same time, the epitome of our Lord’s perfect nature can also be found in the latter part of the Genesis account. His nature is summed up in one simple question. “Where are you?”. He comes to us! He does not run away. He seeks reconciliation. He seeks good. He wants to show us the depths of His love. He wants us to experience a life with Him. He wants us to talk to Him. He wants us to enjoy the wealth of blessing that He has to offer. He wants to build a relationship with us for eternity. He is life. He is truth. He is just. He is kind. He is humility.