We are continuing our discussion on the spiritual battleground of our hearts and minds by examining just who our adversary is and what he can and cannot do.
Awhile back I had shared this message with a small group, but realized I had not yet written about it here. This is an incredibly important understanding for us to live into. We never want to have too big of a devil and too small of a God!
Knowing the Enemy
Often it seems we are tempted to see the war as Good vs. Evil and God vs. satan, as if somehow the devil and God are on equal footing. Nothing could be further from the truth.
There is GOD. He is the Uncreated One. Omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent.
Then there is satan, who is not like God in any way. He is not omniscient, omnipotent nor omnipresent. We would never ascribe these qualities to Gabriel or Michael or any other angel. Why would we think a fallen angel is any better?
The devil is a created being, currently an unemployed cherub, exiled to earth. He was completely disarmed and stripped of all power when Jesus made a public spectacle of him at the cross, triumphing over him (Col. 2:15).
We know that greater is Jesus in us than any enemy in the world (1 Jn. 4:4). God gave all authority to Jesus (Matt. 28:18). Jesus gave it to us (Lk. 10:17-19). That means there isn’t any left for satan. Jesus rendered the devil entirely useless and voided his power (Heb. 2:14).
In fact, in some ways I picture satan as the Wizard of Oz in the original Judy Garland version of the film. Everyone was so afraid of the "big, powerful wizard," but in the end they discovered he was just a short little guy with a megaphone and shadows. Hardly a threat!
And so it is with satan.
The Bible says when we finally see the devil for who he really is we'll be shocked he could have ever tricked so many into such fear. "Everyone there will stare and ask, 'Can this be the one who shook the earth and made the kingdoms of the world tremble?'" (Isa. 14:16).
Does Scripture Agree?
First of all we need to understand that satan himself will probably never come around you or me personally, ever. He can’t be everywhere at once and I’m sure he has other high profile people to bother. So most likely you and I are simply being pestered by his demons - just ordinary, rank and file fallen angels. So who are they?
We can learn much about our adversaries by examining the Greek word for demon used in the New Testament. Daimonion or demon-ette is the word used for demons or evil spirits in the New Testament. It is significant to note that the word is always used in the diminutive form, a form denoting smallness, familiarity, affection or triviality.
To help give us some perspective, what does the diminutive form of a word look like in our English language? Some examples would be that it’s not a duck, but a baby duckling; not a pig, but a small piglet. It’s not a drop, but a tiny droplet. It’s not a novel, but a short novelette.
So it is not a demon, it’s just a little demonette.
According to this Greek language blog, Greek diminutives connote a smaller size and their use can be related to contempt. So daimonion literally means “little demon” and conveys how utterly powerless demons are against Christ and His Church.
And since “diminutive” is a key descriptor in the original language of how we should see the enemy, let’s look at some synonyms for that word to get a clear picture in our minds. According to Thesaurus.com similar ideas are: wee, teensy, miniature, peewee, shrimpy, and my personal favorite, pocket-sized.
So we can “bind satan” and that works. It is kind of shorthand for binding his kingdom and all his followers. One great way to remind ourselves that it is not the devil himself out to get us, it’s just some of his equally disempowered pint-sized mini-me’s, is to speak to them appropriately. Any evil spirits that bug us could simply be addressed as “bub” – short for Beelzebub – and easily dismissed in the name of Jesus.
These are just forces of darkness, and since when is light afraid of the dark? Light does not struggle against the darkness; it simply shines. And you are light in the Lord! (See Ephesians 5:8.)
Satan’s Only Weapon
We must realize that all the enemy has are words, lies and deception. That is all he used in the Garden of Eden, and that is all he used with Jesus in the Wilderness. You would think if the devil had any other bigger guns, any more powerful supernatural ballistic missiles at his disposal, those would have been strategic times to pull them out.
But he didn’t, because he couldn’t.
All he could do was make some suggestions: Did God really say…? He invited Adam and Eve to question God’s goodness. He tempted Jesus to question His own identity. The enemy tries to trick us into being afraid of him, as if he can actually harm us. But these are just subtle thoughts and deceptive lies and they are not a threat to us. All satan and his baby bubs have are words; that’s their big, scary weapon.
So with that understanding, our battle plan is simple: We just stop listening.