The Six Powers of Satan and How to Overcome Them: Part 5
The Power of Temptation and Division
In this six-part series, we are exploring the six powers of Satan and how to overcome them. The six powers of Satan are:
- Lies—he is the father of lies
- The kingdoms of the world with their imposed law with coercive enforcement—he is the prince of this world
- Worldly economics—mammon, the false god of money, buying, selling, and owning
- Accusations—he is the “satan,” the accuser
- Temptation and division—he is the devil, the ancient serpent who tempts and divides
- Death and destruction—he is the destroyer whose powers result in death
In part one, we examined the power of lies—how lies that are believed break the circle of love and trust and result in fear and selfishness, and how every human born after Adam’s sin is born infected with fear and selfishness.
This fear-driven, me-first survival instinct is the energizing motivator of the dark-side, and all of Satan’s various powers are used to increase fear and inflame selfishness, which gives him greater control over people—ultimately destroying love and the fruits of the Spirit out of the hearts of those who, in some way, turn to self and practice selfish methods to cope with the fear.
In part two, we examined Satan’s power of worldly governments, of using the rule of law, made-up rules, outward force, and inflicted punishments to coerce people, in contrast to Jesus’ inward-focused kingdom of heart change.
In part three, we explored how fear and selfishness are the basis of all human economics—which operate on buying, selling, ownership, and arbitrary realities—and work exactly opposite of God’s economy, which operates on freedom, love, objective reality, and free giving.
In part four, we examined Satan’s fourth power, which is what the name “Satan” literally means: accuser. He uses the power of accusation against us both internally and externally in order to create the fear of humiliation and rejection and cause us to adopt his very method of accusations against others to save self.
Now in part five, we will examine Satan’s fifth power and how we can be overcomers with Christ.
The Power of Temptation & Division
As soon as Adam and Eve sinned, they ran and hid because they were afraid, and Adam immediately had the unity of love and trust with both God and Eve fractured, as he hid from God and blamed Eve.
Satan tempts us to sin, and when we choose the sin, either in heart or deed, the natural result is internal fear, guilt, and shame. The fear, guilt, and shame cause our relationships to fracture, and we are divided. Our fear and desire to protect self leads us to seek safety, security, and the reduction of fear, guilt, and shame.
If we follow God’s plan, we embrace the truth about God that Jesus revealed, which destroys the lies about God and wins us back to trust in Him. In trust, we humble ourselves and allow the Spirit of truth to search us deeply and lead us through the valley of the shadow of death—the valley in which we feel like we are dying because we are dying to sin and selfishness. It is that painful place where the Spirit of truth leads us to see and accept the reality of our own terminal condition, the depths of fear, selfishness, and corruption of character within us.
In that place, we know two things: 1) our true condition, that we are sinners, corrupt, sick, terminal, incapable of saving or healing ourselves, and 2) that God is love and despite the depth of our sin-sickness, we are the apple of His eye, His beloved child, the one He longs to heal and restore to sinless perfection. And so, we surrender our complete self to Him, let go of our need to save self, and experience a new heart, no longer controlled by fear, no longer dominated by survival drives, but instead our life is submerged in the love and life of Jesus.
He leads us through life along the path of righteousness for His name’s sake—to restore His name, His character in us. He leads us to places of past failures to face temptation, but now holding on to our heavenly Father for strength, trusting in His power, we choose to say no and, in so doing, we grow from victory to victory, maturing as the Spirit of God heals and restores us. We are freed from fear, guilt, and shame as we live out God’s love in truth and practice. This is the only godly and healthy way to resolve fear, guilt, and shame. As we embrace and practice God’s way, we are reconciled to Him and all those who are also being healed by God. We become one with God and one with our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is how God is working to bring all things under one head, Jesus Christ.
But Satan is the tempter and divider. When we give in to temptation and sin and experience fear, guilt, and shame, we automatically experience a fracturing of our unity with God and the people in our lives. If we refuse God’s methods to heal this soul wound, the only options left are to try to cope by using Satan’s methods—but these only cause more damage, more injury, and greater division.
What are Satan’s methods for coping with fear, guilt, and shame?
- Lies—people lie to themselves and others. This is denial and distortion. Instead of accepting the truth of our own shortcoming, we rationalize, we justify, we defend, we explain away, we make excuses, we externalize and project and blame. Or we create false religious systems filled with all kinds of legal mechanisms to atone for sin, whether personal penance, ritual performance, or a substitutionary legal payment to a punishing god. But none of these actually fixes the damage in the heart and mind, so the person remains enslaved to fear, selfishness, guilt, and shame irrespective of how religious they may be.
- Control—we seek to exert control over others to demand others agree with us that our sin is not sin. We not only lie to ourselves, but we also use coercion and pressure to punish those whose godly lives expose our sin. Or we exert compulsive and destructive control over ourselves, such as anorexics do in order to avoid dealing with some deep emotional wound.
- Accusation—if we don’t have the power to silence people of truth or eliminate people of righteousness, we then avoid them and accuse them of being intolerant, bigoted, judgmental, or unloving. Instead of embracing the truth that the real problem is our own guilt and shame from unhealed sin in our lives, we instead accuse the righteous of being the cause of our guilt, labeling them as bigoted, sexist, racist, or intolerant because they live by a standard that condemns our sin-sickness. (This doesn’t mean there are no actual bigots, sexists, and racists—there are. But the unrepentant label the righteous and accuse them falsely of such things, just like the Pharisees did to Christ.)
- Diversion—we divert ourselves from our own sin-sick condition through accumulation of wealth, entertainment, busyness, or …
- Addictions (substances, gambling, shopping, sex, eating)—we seek to comfort ourselves with substances or behaviors designed to alter the way we feel, seeking to make ourselves feel better, but instead, we injure ourselves, creating more guilt and more shame and living in greater fear of people finding out about our dysfunctional coping mechanism.
Again, none of these so-called coping strategies actually work; they only make the problem worse and divisions arise.
- The selfish and greedy accumulate wealth and join together to create laws to protect their wealth while exploiting others or limiting the ability of the masses to advance … and society divides.
- The sexually deviant, rather than repenting and practicing sexual purity as God designed, band together to advance their porn, prostitution, and other sexual perversity while condemning those who promote God’s design for human sexuality as bigots, judgmental, and intolerant … and society divides.
- The fearful and selfish are threatened by people who are different and seek to use power over others to control and make themselves feel safe. So they create their own laws, their own countries, and they war against people who are different … and society divides.
- The selfish and fearful seek power over others to make themselves feel stronger, safer, and better; throughout human history, almost all societies created various laws for the enslavement of other human beings … and society divides.
- People lie to protect themselves, and innocents are blamed … and families and society divides.
- People accuse each other of all kinds of evils, blaming others for their own shortcomings … and society divides.
Satan is the tempter and divider—when we accept the temptation and choose to sin, we experience fear, guilt, and shame. If this is not resolved through God’s grace, through God’s plan to heal our hearts and minds and restore in us His love, then the guilt and shame will result in embracing and practicing Satan’s methods of selfishness to make self feel better, to protect self … and greater division occurs.
We cannot win this battle and bring unity on our own—but Jesus has overcome all the powers of the enemy:
Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross (Colossians 2:15 NIV84).
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:37–39 NIV84).
The most critical point, the central issue, is to remember that all of Satan’s powers exploit or magnify fear, but what is it that casts out all fear? Love! It is God’s love in our hearts that is the key, being loved and loving others. Satan wants to separate us from God’s love and truth, and all his powers are designed to do that—but if we remain in God’s love, we are more than conquerors. But without love, real love, we will be destroyed by fear as we try to cope with fear by using Satan’s methods.
But when we know God, and love and trust Him, then His promises to us have power in our lives. But God’s promises are powerless in the lives of people who do not know, love, and trust Him. But for those of us who have surrendered our hearts to Him, who have experienced His love, who know His goodness, and who trust Him, then the power of His Word is real and transformational—we know that:
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV84).
With our hearts renewed in love for God and others, fear loses its power over us. We are not afraid of accusation, of worldly loss, of human rejection, of physical problems, of financial setbacks—for we know we have a loving Father in heaven who is overseeing every aspect of our lives and that nothing occurs in the lives of those who trust Him that isn’t ultimately for our good and His glory.
So we say “No!” to every temptation and live in peace with God; we are no longer consumed by fear, no longer burdened by guilt, no longer crushed by shame. We reject the world’s racial, social, economic, and cultural divisions and move forward in love sharing the truth and love of God with others and, as such, we are peacemakers—we are uniters not dividers, lovers not haters, truthbearers not liars, givers not takers, and as God’s healing power is shared divisions in families, communities and society are healed until the ultimate fulfillment of God’s plan “to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ” (Ephesians 1:10 NIV84).