I was told earlier this month that using something you’ve already written for an assignment is plagiarism, but that doesn’t count if you’re writing something on your blog in order to process thoughts for a presentation, right? Right. Well, that’s what I’m doing right now. I have a presentation in my psychology class this week and I’d love to take this as an excuse to share some of the things I’ve learned in class. It’s been so groundbreaking for me, but I think the biggest thing I’ve learned can be summed up pretty easily:
Satan is tiny. Pathetic, actually.
It might just be me, but I’ve always subconsciously pictured God and Satan’s relationship as a video game versus screen. Does that make sense or did I just completely lose you? You see, in a lot of video games, when you’re about to battle there’s a brief image of the opposing sides that looks kind of like this:[Please ignore my MS Paint skills. I know you’re jealous but I’m sure you’re good at something.]
How many of us secretly think of things this way? It’s the battle between good and evil, and good is just strong enough to win in the end . . . right? Wrong. Very wrong! There is no comparison. Jesus is the king and He is already restoring the world to be His kingdom. The enemy is just trying to do damage while he can. Do you want examples of how small he is?
In Genesis 3, when he convinces mankind to eat of the fruit God said not to, he is already showing us his weakness: he had to be crafty in what he said to Eve, or else she would be able to tell what he was up to. If he said, “Hey Eve, eat this fruit,” she would have responded immediately with a no because God had clearly said not to. Knowing this, he instead planted tiny seeds of doubt in her so that it seemed like her own decision to eat it. He made her doubt God and he made her doubt herself, but presented those doubts as questions so she asked them of herself. It was a lot like Inception– entering the mind to ask misleading questions in order to create an irrational decision. Satan is so tiny that he doesn’t have the power or even the rationality to command us– he has to trick us.
See, he needs authority from someone else. If we don’t let him have anything from our lives, he can’t control them because he doesn’t have permission. The curses after the fall in Genesis 3 record that he is cursed “above all livestock and above all beasts of the field.” He isn’t more powerful than us. He isn’t even more powerful than animals! That opossum you saw on the road recently? He is below that. He only has the power we give him. Any power he has is stolen from us, from the inheritance we’ve been given. He has quite a bit of power in this world, because so many of us give it to him, but by himself he is so very weak.
The curse also records that “on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.” God is poetic; my professor told us that He was using wordplay, since Satan used the form of a serpent, to tell him that he is going to have to crawl around for his food as long as he lives. What does dust represent in the Bible? Death. All Satan can eat is death, so that is what he tries to get from us. Sin creates death. This is why he is always trying to get us to sin. He is desperately crawling, dragging himself from person to person, and taking life from them in order to survive. Without us, he is a wretched collection of bones. Knowing this, do you want to feed him? Or would you like to weaken him simply by loving the Lord and listening to His wisdom? You can do that. Any power the enemy has comes from you, but any power you have comes from the Lord. You cannot forget that.
If he isn’t trying to convince us to sin so he can rule over us in hell, why does hell exist? It was made for his doom. Revelation 20 tells us that the pit of fire is where he will go when the world ends, that he will be punished there for all of eternity. People don’t go to hell because God sends them there; they go to hell because they have chosen to follow the enemy there. It is our choice. The enemy has no power to send us there. Revelation also tells us that he knows he doesn’t have much time, so he is doing as much damage as he can while he can. He is desperately terrified of his fate. Why would we be afraid of him, when he is made of fear? When Jesus has given us more power– the power to choose? The enemy cannot choose. But we can.
As much as he would like us to believe that he creates unthinkably terrible things for us, the reality is that he can’t. He isn’t creative, he doesn’t have that power (don’t you love that creativity is power?); all he can do is twist what God has made. He cannot do anything on his own; he must constantly steal and pervert in order to use anything. Does this sound like an intense battle between good and evil? This:
This is God demonstrating His unending power, and in His love allowing us to carry a measure of it. When I see this, I see that the enemy is small. Pathetic, actually.