How to Overcome Satan
God’s Escape Plan
It should be more natural for us to defeat Satan than the reverse. God has revealed certain principles in his Word that can protect the Christian against defeat. But more than insulating against evil, these principles should make the Christian victorious. The Bible clearly states, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13). That “way to escape” is found by applying biblical principles to each temptation.
The Principle of Respect
Too often Christians rely on fleshly strength to deliver them from Satan. Though Jesus is greater than the devil (1 John 4:4), we must still have a healthy re-spect for our enemy. A good football team, if they become overconfident, may lose to a lesser team. Overconfidence will cause a team to play carelessly, allowing the opposition to do things they could not otherwise accomplish. So if a Christian does not realize that Satan possesses the attributes and abilities of angelic beings, he will allow Satan to gain victories where he could not otherwise do so. Even Michael, the archangel, was not prepared to confront Satan except in the name of the Lord (Jude 9). How much more should we be afraid of the power of Satan!
The Principle of Removal
It has often been said that one bad apple will spoil the whole barrel. This principle also applies to a confrontation with the devil. A wise Christian should evaluate his life and avoid those areas where he is most likely to be tempted. Paul reminds us to “abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thess. 5:22). When Joseph found himself tempted by Potiphar’s wife, “he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out” (Gen. 39:12). Paul also applied this principle in reverse to false teachers, meaning that not only should we remove ourselves from evil, we should remove its influence from our lives. “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject” (Titus 3:10). By separating ourselves from the source of the temptation both morally and geographically, we can gain a temporary victory over the devil. The word “temporary” is used because no one is ever immune from temptation till death. But in this life, remember, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
The Principle of Resistance
A Christian is disobedient to God if he passively entertains Satan or his influence. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). It is possible for the Christian to send the devil running in defeat by taking definite action. The apostle Peter advised the believer that he should not give in to Satan, but “resist steadfastly in the faith” (1 Pet. 5:9). We would not be defeated if we would quote the name of Jesus Christ and refuse to listen to Satan’s temptation. When Jesus was tempted, he gained the victory by using the Scriptures to resist the devil (Matt. 4:1-11).
The Principle of Readiness
The Boy Scouts have a motto, “Be prepared.” That principle is the watchword of the tempted Christian. “Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation” (Mark 14:38). Paul advised the Ephesians, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wile, of the devil” (Eph. 6:11). The prepared Christian will recognize his weak areas and strengthen them. David assured that memorizing Scripture will help keep us from sin (p, 119:1, 11). One who is serious about gaining victory over some besetting sin should concentrate on memorizing several verses of Scripture that deal with the particular area of weakness in his life. Also, he should be certain he is fully equipped to meet the devil in battle.