What Can Satan Really Do?
Every Christian has dealt with some sort of demonic oppression at some point in his life. We all have an accuser feeding us lies and constantly calculating our demise. His name is Satan. This accuser speaks words of fear about losing our children, our livelihoods, our families, and our health, and he professes doom and destruction to rain down upon us. How many believers have heard the enemy plant such seeds of doubt, fear, anxiety, or unbelief? How many have actually believed those lies? The Scripture explains that Satan constantly roams the earth, seeking whom he may devour (I Peter 5:8), and he has set his sights on you. His master plan is to severely weaken or completely destroy your faith, and he will stop at nothing to accomplish this task. Yet the question remains, what can Satan actually do?
First, Christians need to understand that Satan has access to the throne of God to report on his activities. We know this from the book of Job. It is believed that Moses wrote the book of Job, which begins with a scene that takes place in the heavenlies, unseen to Job or any other human being. The sons of God—angelic and created beings—presented themselves before the Creator of the worlds, and Satan was among them. Regardless of what you have been told about Satan, he is a created being. He may believe himself to be a rival of God, but he is nothing more than a created being. This accuser overexaggerates himself to a place and position of being the opposite of God when he is a mere creature. God has no rival. God has no equal. And seeing that Satan has to present himself before God tells us that the Evil One is not on par with our heavenly Father.
Second, we see from the account given to us in Job that it was God who brought up his servant to Satan. Remember, Satan is constantly roaming the earth seeking whom he may devour, and could it be possible that he had already set his sights on Job? Could it be that Job was in his crosshairs? Either way we look at it, it was God who first initiated the conversation about Job to Satan. God spoke first and brought attention to Job by asking Satan if he had considered His servant, Job. If Satan has access to God, which it seems that he does, and if God initiates conversation with Satan about His people, what do you think the conversation would be about you? When it came to Job, God referred to him as perfect, which did not mean sinless perfection, but that he did everything within his power to live right, and that he loved God and hated evil.
Satan’s response to God was that Job was not sincere, and since he could not find fault with his character, he questioned Job’s motives. The accuser of the saints proposes that Job is only serving God because of blessing, protection, and prosperity (Job 1:10). One of Satan’s most prolific arguments is whether or not a person loves God for who God is or what God can do for him. Satan even went as far as to suggest that if God removed His hand or protection that Job would curse God to His face. However, this accusation against Job is an accusation against God because it lends to the idea that God had bribed Job into serving Him; he was questioning God’s integrity. Satan felt that he could undermine the Creator of the heavens by proving that Job’s love toward God was conditional. God would prove otherwise.
We must understand that Satan can only do what the Lord allows him to do. In other words, Satan is on a leash. He does not set the parameters of what he’s going to do to you, neither can he set the boundaries. Only the Lord can do that, and Satan must abide by the parameters that have been laid down by God. On top of all that, Satan has to ask permission of God to come against you, and if the Lord gives him the go-ahead, so to speak, then, once again, he must abide by the boundaries that have been drawn out by God. Satan is forever telling the believer that he is going to do terrible things to us, to our families, to our friends, and how he is going to steal everything from us—our health, our finances, our children—and, in fact, any lie that he can get us to believe. But have you ever stopped to think that if he were able to do all that he said he would do, he would have done those things by now? Satan has threatened to do those things, but he hasn’t done them simply because he cannot do them. Once again, we must comprehend that he can do only what God allows him to do, as with Job. God allowed Satan to take Job’s wealth, his livestock, and his children, but he could not take Job’s life. God may allow Satan to come against you and to take things from you, but he can only do what God has allowed him to do.
Yes, God uses Satan, as He uses everything to bring about His will in the life of the believer. But understand that you are His child. This means that you belong to God, and there is nothing that can be done to you unless God allows it. At the same time, as with Job, there is a hedge of protection that is built all the way around you. A hedge that cannot be penetrated by Satan, by demon spirits, or by anything that seeks to destroy you. In fact, that word hedge means that the Lord has made a sort of invisible fence around you through which no evil can creep. Believe this and rejoice in the fact that there is a hedge built all around you that no evil can creep. You are the apple of God’s eye, you are His child, and He will not let anything happen to you unless He allows it. He will, at times, allow the hedge to be brought down, but it is for our purification and sanctification to teach us dependence upon Him for all things, not just the big things in life, but everything.
When we look at the life of Job, we see what Satan does. In reality, he does what he is allowed to do. In the end, Satan was allowed by God to be the author of Job’s trials, but that ended up with Job receiving a double blessing. Job becomes a better person at the end of this book, with better character and more blessed than before. This is exactly what is expected of us. We may endure the trial, but we will end up being a better person and more blessed than when we started. We must remember that whatever we go through, it is for our betterment and to develop us into a better Christian—one who has been tried by fire and brought forth as pure gold. You are going to endure, and you are going to make it through.
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