The Bible clearly teaches two things about evil:
1. You have a powerful enemy, and he has a name. For years some people have talked about God in general terms. He’s their Higher Power, the Force, or the Man Upstairs. The truth is, good has a name, and His name is God.
Evil also has a name. His name is Satan or the devil. The devil refers to a spiritual being who is the supreme personification of evil. Lucifer is the Bible name for one of God’s archangels who rebelled against God and was cast to the earth where he functions as Satan or the devil. (In this book, we’ll use the terms Satan and the devil interchangeably.) He seeks to rule from the realm of the unseen—the spiritual dimension.
Satan may use what your mother-in-law says or a coworker does to come against you. He may use terrorists, criminals, and other people to cause you harm or strike fear into your heart. However, the person who verbally abuses you, the thief who robs you, the critic who maligns you, the rival who undercuts or thwarts your good efforts, or the assailant who beats you is not your real enemy. The real enemy is the devil who prompted the person to speak hatred to you, steal from you, do his utmost to destroy you or physically injure you.
Behind every evil person and every evil act lurks the real enemy of your life. He exists in the spirit realm, and he is relentless in his pursuit of you. He is 100 percent evil, and he has a plan to destroy your life.
Satan is your enemy.
2. You are in a spiritual battle. It doesn’t matter whether you want to be in a spiritual battle—you are in one. The battle is between good and evil, and you are the prize. God desires to have a relationship with you, bless you, and live with you forever. Satan desires to keep you from all that God wants for you. He is the enemy of all people—followers of Jesus or not. He is your enemy!
You are a prime target of the devil. He will do his utmost to keep you from the truth that Jesus is your Savior, and through Him you can receive forgiveness and the gift of eternal life. Satan will attempt to entrap you in any way he can to keep you from God. His target is your eternal spirit.
“I’m a Christian,” you may say. “I already belong to God. The devil can’t have my spirit.”
If you have made a commitment to Jesus as your Savior and Lord, you are absolutely correct in saying that your spirit already belongs to God and the devil can lay no claim on your eternal destiny. The satanic forces can do other things to you, however.
He can and will attempt to drag you down into such deep bondage that you will lose your joy in living. Some may call this bondage oppression, depression, or addiction. If the devil can pull you into bondage, you will have no peace, no zest for living, and perhaps even no will to continue living. You will struggle continually with desires that are not met, drives that are not satisfied, dreams that are not realized, and a destiny that is unfulfilled. The devil will do his utmost to completely destroy anything that is essential for abundant life.
The devil can and will work against you to keep you from having any positive witness for Jesus Christ in this world. He will do his utmost to steal from you the resources you might use to extend the gospel, destroy your reputation so that anything you say about the Lord is suspect, and kill your valuable relationships with other people so that you are demoralized and don’t believe you can influence another person for Christ.
So how are we to deal with the devil? How can we combat our true enemy and resist his spiritual attacks?
The first rule of any battle is this: know your enemy. If you don’t know your enemy, how can you fight him? How can you stand and be victorious against an enemy you can’t or haven’t identified?
Yes, we must know the nature of our enemy. We must understand who he is and how he works.
Charles F. Stanley, When the Enemy Strikes: The Keys to Winning Your Spiritual Battles (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2004), 4–7.