Since the Garden of Eden, Satan has been subtly manipulating humanity — without our consent. But you can become aware of and check Satan's influence.
The subject of Satan the devil has fascinated people throughout history. Endless speculations, legends, comic illustrations and literary classics have portrayed this supremely evil being. And all this attention has only served to deceive and further deceive humanity about who Satan is and what he does! As true Christians realize, Satan has deceived the entire world — even about himself (Revelation 12:9)! Almighty God does reveal, through His Word, the reality of Satan and his devastating impact and influence on man. God shows us a great spirit being who has misled humanity and constructed an evil civilization that is destined to come crashing down soon. Let's look at the shocking facts!
God's people know that Satan deceived humanity from the beginning in the Garden of Eden. The Bible records that Satan influenced Adam and Eve to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The first humans thus cut themselves off from God and from access to God's Holy Spirit, symbolized by the tree of life (Genesis 3). The Bible tells us that Satan actually took the form of a serpent and spoke to our first parents. He was extremely persuasive verbally. But what was even more devastating was the devil's subtle, unseen influence! Did you ever stop to think about it? Satan had an enormous impact on the minds of the first humans — an impact of which they were totally unaware. For, without their consent, Satan was placing a wrong attitude of desire and vanity in their minds. They didn't hear anything or see anything, but the strong desire was there, and they decided to partake of the only tree God had held back from them — the tree that produced death. The rest of the story is history — literally. When Satan influenced Adam to sin, this began a civilization oriented around vanity, jealousy, lust and greed. Satan is leading the world to destruction, without the world's consent and for the most part without any real knowledge or understanding on the part of people.
Christians are called out
This is the same world into which each of us were born. We all were silently swayed in the wrong direction from birth. Satan has made himself the god of this present evil world (II Corinthians 4:4). He has blinded the minds of humans. Instead of bringing light (Satan's original name was Lucifer, which meant "Light Bringer"), Satan brought darkness. For more information, read our free booklet Did God Create a Devil? Only Jesus Christ has brought complete light or truth with respect to both God and Satan (verses 4-6). And God, through Jesus Christ, has called us out of this evil civilization. We all walked in the past "according to the course of this world, according to [influenced by] the prince of the power of the air." This made us "sons of disobedience" (Ephesians 2:2). We were fulfilling the lusts of the flesh and the desires of the mind. We were the "children of wrath," cut off from God's Holy Spirit but in tune with Satan. Without our consent, Satan continually was leading us into sin and death (verse 3).
Revealed — the purpose of life
Once God calls us, we realize that the whole purpose of this human life is to build godly character (John 15:16). Previous to our calling, whatever character we had built was our own self-righteousness and whatever evil we committed came from Satan. Now how, once God has revealed the truth to us, do we build godly character? When a man and woman come together in a sexual union, the sperm from the male can unite with the ovum in the female. From this union a new physical creation can be begotten and ultimately born, bearing the characteristics of both parents. This same system applies spiritually in the building of godly character. God gives us His Holy Spirit — the very Spirit Adam and Eve rejected. Through that Spirit we are begotten as a new spiritual creation. God's Spirit unites with the human spirit in a spiritual union (Ephesians 1:13-14). God becomes our spiritual Father. Then we must be led by God's Spirit and mature as children of God (Romans 8:14). We build godly character using the very Spirit of God. There are no alternatives to producing godly character. Either it is produced by God in us — manifested by Jesus Christ as we yield ourselves to the leading of the Spirit of God — or it cannot happen. Regretfully, from a human viewpoint, even we who are called and converted are still tempted to return to Satan's world to partake of his spiritual influence. That influence is subtle, and we have been so comfortable in it all of our lives. It is easy to be corrupted once again and return to sin (II Corinthians 11:2-4). But we are no longer spiritually ignorant. God tells us that anyone "who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning" (I John 3:8). Yes, Satan has been guilty of beguiling people with his unseen, unheard influence since the beginning of human history. God gives His Holy Spirit to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32). Of course, we must first repent of our sins (Acts 2:38). But God does not force His influence upon us, as does Satan. We must, by choice, build godly character. We must, by knowledge and design, go contrary to Satan's influence. We must desire God's way with all our heart and seek Him. God tells us, "He that is begotten of God keepeth himself' so that "that wicked one [Satan] toucheth him not" (I John 5:18, Authorized Version). Through God's Spirit we can yield to Jesus Christ. Then Jesus Christ can live His life in us and manifest God's character. This is the only way it can occur. God will not do it without our consent. That wouldn't build godly character.
The nature of the struggle
The only person who never succumbed to Satan's influence was Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:15). Yet He was tempted by Satan in a titanic face-to-face struggle (Matthew 4:1-11) and throughout His life. Jesus knew the nature of the struggle. He understood the mental and spiritual battle for control of His mind. Jesus Christ succeeded where Lucifer and Adam had previously failed. The apostle Peter reminds us that Satan, our adversary, still goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (I Peter 5:8). Satan realizes that Jesus, who overcame his temptations, qualified to rule over this earth. Now Jesus is helping others to overcome Satan and form the bas is of a new world and a new government on this earth. Once we receive the Spirit of God, we are able to resist Satan's influence and form the basis of the new civilization that will begin with God's Church. Is it any wonder that Satan wants to destroy us? God's Church is the beginning of a new, godly civilization — the embryo of a whole new world — that will end the evil civilization Satan has spawned.
We can resist
The world isn't aware of Satan's influence. But Satan has made this world into the frightening physical manifestation of this attitude of vanity and selfishness — the attitude that led to his removal as a covering cherub from God's throne — the attitude that will ultimately cause him to lose his earthly throne. Thankfully, God has revealed this spiritual knowledge to us. We know of Satan's influence without man's knowledge. We now have access to God's Holy Spirit because He has chosen us to be a part of His Church (John 6:44). Therefore, we can resist and overcome the influence of Satan and his world. God gives us His Spirit to correctly discern both good and evil (Hebrews 5:14). This is a capability we didn't have before God called us. No longer are we held in bondage in Satan's world without our consent!