October 8, 2023
Dr. Paul Cannings
Some often describe satan’s influence as a little demon on our shoulders with a pitchfork in his hands while Christ or an angel is on the other shoulder trying to tell us what to do. This is actually far from the truth.
The scriptures teach that at the point of salvation (Romans 10:9), all of the Holy Spirit is deposited into our lives (Titus 3:4-8) with no plans to ever leave our bodies (John 14:16-17) until the rapture (Ephesians 1:13-14). This is why our bodies are viewed as His dwelling place (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). However, we can destroy His temple (our bodies) and minimize the work of the Holy Spirit by the way we treat our bodies with harmful things we put in them (cigarettes, excessive alcohol) or by deciding to live as carnal Christians (fleshly; 1 Corinthians 3:1-3), sinful lives (the wages of sin is death; Romans 6:23; 1 John 5:16) or willfully decide to turn away from God and live in a state of apostasy (Hebrews 6:1-6).
Satan, on the other hand, only in the case of believers, can influence us when we choose to use common sense rather than renew our mind with the Word (Romans 12:2; Proverbs 3:5-6). To not renew our minds is to confirm how the world thinks; there is no middle ground. Satan uses this to darken our understanding, make us sensual, greedy (Ephesians 4:17-19), and hostile towards God’s Word (Romans 8:5-9). When this occurs, it is very easy for satan to penetrate our minds to do what he wants us to do, like in the case of Peter (Luke 22:31-34; Matthew 16:21-23). This is because satan controls the way the world thinks, and it is imperative that we trust the Word for everything we need for life and godliness every day (2 Peter 1:3-4).
Satan uses other methods efficiently to turn us away from Christ. Here are some examples.
- He can influence us when we allow sinful anger to linger (Ephesians 4:26-27; 31-32). When we harbor this anger, the scripture teaches he gets a foothold in our lives that can lead to murder.
- When we are not committed to growing spiritually, satan can use the flesh against us. He entices us from our lust so that when it conceives, it gives birth to spiritual death (James 1:13-15).
- Satan can use worry and stress to devour us. He does this by letting worry inhibit our spiritual growth (Luke 8:14). Once this is done, Peter says this is one of his methods that can devour us (1 Peter 5:6-10).
We must be intentional by being committed to keeping our minds set on being fervent to learn God’s Word, to apply it, and to serve each other. This leads to a healthy, spiritually growing church that blesses us all (Ephesians 4:12-13, 16).