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I sometimes hear people talk about Satan as the “prince and power of the air,” having dominion on Earth. Supposedly, he’s present everywhere and not only knows our thoughts but is responsible for any bad thought we might have. Is that true?
Satan is nothing more than a fallen angel.
The Bible says he’s “like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8), but how far should we go with that analogy? Lions often go hungry because they can’t find a weak, isolated animal that is vulnerable to their attack. Since his defeat requires only my submission to God (James 4:7), Satan has no power over me unless I give it to him by not surrendering to God.
I wonder if people would be so quick to blame Satan for their vulnerability if they knew they were actually blaming themselves.
Satan cannot be present everywhere.
The Holy Spirit is present everywhere, so God sees every sparrow that dies (Matthew 10:29). He sees each time I stand or sit, and he even knows my thoughts (Psalm 139:2).
God’s creatures, including Satan, can only be in one place at one time. If Satan is before God, accusing the brethren day and night (Revelation 12:10), he must be doing that from some place on Earth.
Satan’s influence is wherever we leave an opening.
When God judged the wickedness on Earth and sent the great flood, he didn’t blame Satan. Everything people thought and every motive was consistently evil (Genesis 6:5).
Apparently, evil begets evil, and Satan doesn’t have to be anywhere around. In the Garden of Eden, Satan deceived Eve, and she ate the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:1–6). The Bible says Adam wasn’t deceived (1 Timothy 2:14), so if Adam had been present before Satan, he would have prevented Eve’s sin. Therefore, Adam was yielding to Eve’s temptation, not Satan’s, when he ate from the tree.
The Bible says I am tempted when I am drawn away by my own desires (James 1:14). If that’s true, then I need God’s help in changing my desire. As long as I blame Satan, who is actually nowhere around, I have an excuse that keeps me from having to change.
An army of demons cannot prevent our surrender to God.
At Gadara, a man fell at the feet of Jesus and was delivered from so many demons that they called themselves “legion” (Mark 5:1–13). What do you think? Did the evil spirits want to meet Jesus face-to-face? I don’t think so.
Not only did the demons have to obey Jesus’ command for them to leave, but they had to yield to the man’s desire to meet Jesus.
The apostle Paul recognized the battle within.
There is a battle between good and evil, but comparing God and Satan is like asking if the pee-wee football team might beat the Greenbay Packers. Satan was defeated when he fell from Heaven, and with Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, Satan was defeated on Earth.
Actually, the battleground is with my desires, whether I want to be self-centered, self-serving, and independent or to surrender everything I want for what God wants.
A battle rages between what we know in our hearts and what our minds and bodies say would be good. I don’t do what my spirit says I should do, so I wind up doing what my moral instincts condemn. I run the race with relentless determination. I don’t fight like the boxer who throws punches at the air, but I surrender my body, making myself a captive to Christ, lest I should miss the truth of my own preaching. — Romans 7:15; 1 Corinthians 9:26–27