We have already seen that the devil is a mighty being who opposes God and tempts God’s people. We have found that even though he was beaten at the cross by Christ, he still has power to influence men for evil. The Bible calls him “the wicked one,” “the devil,” “a murderer,” “a liar, and the father of lies,” “an adversary” who seeks to devour, “that old serpent,” and “accuser of our brethren” (Matthew 13:19; Luke 4:33; John 8:44; 1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 12:9-10).
The moment you made your decision for Christ, Satan suffered a tremendous defeat. He is angry now. From now on he is going to tempt you and try to lead you into sin. Don’t be alarmed. He cannot rob you of your salvation, and he need not rob you of your assurance and victory. He will do everything in his power to sow seeds of doubt in your mind as to whether your conversion is a reality or not. You cannot argue with him, for he is the greatest debater of all time.
The moment of test has come with the first temptation. Remember to refuse any reliance upon your feelings; they will change like a weather vane in a whirlwind. His next approach probably will be to make you feel proud and important — to make you confident of your own powers, ambitions, desires, and aims. On another occasion he will put hatred in your heart. He will tempt you to say unkind and un-generous things about others. He will put envy, discontent, and malice in your heart. Then, on another occasion, he will tempt you to lie, and you could easily find yourself being a hypocrite. Lying is one of the worst of all sins and can be committed by a thought, word, or deed. Anything that is intended to deceive another person is lying. The devil will do his best to make a liar of you. He also will try to get you to work for him to tempt others to sin — to try to lead other Christian friends astray. If you are not careful, you will find yourself actually in the employ of the devil. He is powerful, slick, crafty, wily, and subtle. He is called the “god of this world,” “the prince of this world,” “the prince of the power of the air” (2 Corinthians 4:4; John 12:31; Ephesians 2:2).
The devil will try to discourage you, to divert you; he will seek to dilute your testimony; he will attempt anything to destroy your relationship to Christ and your influence upon others.
You ask, “How can I overcome him? What can I do? Which way can I turn? Is there any escape?”
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. — 1 Corinthians 10:13
We can compare the Christian attacked by Satan to a mouse being attacked by a housewife wielding a broom. The mouse does not sit there contemplating the housewife or the broom. It is busy looking for a hole — a way to escape. So we Christians under satanic attack should look for our “way of escape.”
God says in this verse that He has made a way of escape.
Now remember this: Temptation of the devil is not a sign that your life is not right with God. It is actually a sign that you are right with God. Temptation is not sin. Also remember that God never tempts His own children. It never causes His children to doubt.
All doubts and temptations come from the devil. And remember that Satan can only tempt. He can never compel you to yield to the temptation. Remember also that Satan has already been conquered by Christ. His power is made in-operative in the life of a fully trusting and yielded Christian who is completely dependent upon God.
The poet put it this way: The devil trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees.
To say that Satan will be defeated when we read or quote Scripture and will run like a scalded dog when we resist him is an oversimplification. But we can depend upon the blood of Christ when we are under attack. There are times when we simply must hide behind the person of Christ and ask Him to handle our problems. Jude says,
Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. — Jude 9
That’s what we need to do — call upon God.
Now the Bible says that we are to “resist the devil, and he will flee” from us (James 4:7). But before that, God says, “Submit yourselves… to God.” If you have fully submitted, 100 percent yielded and surrendered yourself to Christ, then you can “resist the devil,” and the Bible promises he will flee from you. The devil will tremble when you pray. He will be defeated when you quote or read a passage of Scripture to him, and will leave you when you resist him.