Do You Know Your Adversary?
If you were told that your child's best friend was a known rapist or drug dealer, would you be shocked? The first thought to enter your mind might be, "Didn't I teach and warn them about such evil characters?" Worse than that, children can grow up without any terror of the father of all evil, because they received no explicit instructions and illustrations warning them how his "innocent appeals" draw them into the corrupt life. Few (adults and children) are conscious of the real hate the devil has for mankind. Most children grow up with a story started by the devil, which makes it seem he became a harmless victim of God's ruthless power:
A long time ago God had to leave heaven on business, and temporarily gave his throne to his most beautiful angel named Lucifer. God was gone longer than expected, and Lucifer gained power and influence over other angels, and they began to worship him. God returned, but Lucifer refused to surrender the throne. God and his angels gathered to overthrow Lucifer, but many angels came to his side. There was a great war in heaven, and Lucifer and his angels lost, and were thrown down to earth.
Modern religions are helping to keep this lie alive, and the multitudes think there must be some good in the devil -- he was an angel of God! Satan is alive and well in deceiving the ignorant and unsuspecting.
Origin and Power of Satan
He was created in the beginning with other creatures and known as "the serpent" (one and only); he was not a snake, but a spiritual being. Cartoonists draw a picture of a being with horns, a forked tail and a pitchfork. His image is more monstrous than what the cartoons portray him to be. Satan has always tried to ease his way into our conscience by spreading rumors that he is the fabrication of our imagination. His first introduction to the unsuspecting is to bring about thinking that excuses our responsibilities to God -- to use the same reasoning as Adam and Eve:
Question why God keeps us away from something we believe is good for us.
God is not that severe in punishment of error (Rom, 11:22).
3, Blame God for our problems (Jas. 1:13). The devil is not powerless in his influence -- he uses material possessions to tempt us to replace reverence in service and giving first of ourselves to God.
Genesis 3:1 -- "The serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. "Why did the serpent hate man? Was it because God gave everything to man, and he being an intelligent creature, jealousy drove him to revenge against man? He possibly thought himself as wiser, with more ability to rule the earth? God gave the whole creation to man, and man traded it to the devil for a moment of pleasure (Gen. 3). Satan is already judged and knows his eternal estate. Hell was prepared for Satan and his angels (followers).
Before New Testament Christianity, Satan had great physical powers on earth (demons, etc.), but in this Christian age, his ability is limited to the power of deception (2 Thess. 2:9-11), which is worked through his ministers (those who ridicule God's word and good morals). We love to be entertained by magicians, but the Master of deception tries to destroy souls (2 Cor. 4:1-4). His greatest power is death.
You may have heard that "Lucifer" is Satan's name, and that it is Satan who is described in Isaiah 14. "Lucifer (v. 12 - KJV) is a Hebrew word, which translated means "Star of the morning," which is a description of the pride the Babylonian king had about his great power and authority (v. 4); he was a man of flesh and bones (vv. 4,16,19,20,22). The King James Version is the only Bible in my library that does not translate the word "Lucifer," and it isn't in reference to the glory that Satan once had.
Need Explicit Illustrations of Satan's Schemes
Many grow up not knowing much about the devil except the jokes concerning him. They make fun of the devil, without fear of his influence or many followers. Beware! Satan is no joke!
Jude 9 -- "Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil, argued with him about the body of Moses, did not dare bring against him a railing judgment, but said, the Lord rebuke you. "The Archangel did not make fun of him.
Christ came to reveal the schemes and deceptive ways that the devil employs in making "victims" of unwary souls. Those who hear the gospel of Christ and obey its calling are set free from the secret plans of Satan. God's truth destroys the ignorance which gave the devil such a free reign in our lives. Following Satan offers only the reward of the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21), and those who practice such cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Jesus said that cleaning up our lives is not enough (read Matt. 12:43ff). If you choose eternal life with Christ, his plan is: "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may stand against the schemes of the devil" (Eph. 6:10-18). Eternal life in heaven or eternity in hell with Satan -- "Choose this day whom you will serve!" Do no delay to teach your children, and be truthful with what Satan has in store for them if they "play" with the murderer.
Some parents say, "If I tell my children about the devil, they'll have nightmares and believe in the Bogey Man!" Children believe that monsters already live in their bedroom at night, so teach them about the real monster -- the devil!
Satan Caused Man's Downfall - Not God!
Take a field trip with your family and illustrate the beautiful flowers, trees, and all the fantastic creation of God; then point to human suffering, violence and death, to show they are so incompatible with creation. Creation testifies of the loveliness of the Creator who made us beautiful! Suffering and cruelty of this world came by the devil. I co-preached a Catholic funeral of a father and daughter who were killed by drug dealers. The Roman priests said, "It was God's will!" When it came my turn to speak, I stood up and refuted that! We can't blame God for what Satan and man has brought upon this world! Satan is the reason we experience human tragedies? Human suffering and death are his trade-mark (Heb. 2:14).
His Time Is Short
His wrath is against this world, never relenting or resting from his labor of hate. Use the short time you have with your children to teach them the schemes of the devil and how they can recognize the ways he will use to enter their heart. When they go out into the world, they must be sup-plied with every evidence of how Satan works to deceive. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
It is difficult in this rebellious society to train children to avoid bad company. Our generation does not want to be disciplined with, "Evil companionship corrupts good morals" (1 Cor. 15:33; 1 Jn. 3:8,10). "Be sound minded, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Pet. 5:8). His lies seems to be for the good of man, but we know better! (Jn. 8:44; 2 Cor. 11:13-15)
If you know your adversary in life -- you are putting God first in your life. The work of the church has first priority in your daily planning. Studying daily that you will have the ability to identify every temptation and meditate on the consequences of even "the smallest of sins." It's urgent business if you and your loved ones are to escape the devil's snares. The devil knows you have the best of intentions, but if he could only encourage you to put it off until tomorrow while he casts out his net today!
Put Satan away from you by enthroning Christ as Lord of your heart, body and soul (I Pet. 3:15).
Do you really know your adversary? Are you on guard against him, every moment?
Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 5, p. 16-17