Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
As Christians, is it possible that we have assigned more power and influence to Satan over our lives than he really has? Have we been led to believe he can even control the circumstances or character in a Christian’s life without permission? Is it possible that he is such an accomplished liar that he has convinced us that he has that kind of power over us? Is he successful because we are so ashamed when we sin that it is easy for him to accuse us and make us feel like failures? Do we not experience more victory because we do not know how to bring our sin nature under the Lordship of Jesus, yet?
If Satan is so powerful, perceptive and omnipotent, then why didn’t he know that God was using him to build Job’s spiritual strength and increase Job’s commitment to God?
I think a word study will help us put these questions into proper perspective.
GREATER (Greek. Meizon, mide-zone) larger, greater, greatest. Most often compared with megas, meg-as, exceedingly great, mighty, strong.
THAT (Greek. Ekeinos, ek-i-nos) that one, that same one.
IN (Greek. En, en) denotes a fixed place.
YOU (Greek. Humon, hoo-mone) you, your own selves.
THAN (Greek. E, ay) a distinction between two connected items, comparative.
WORLD (Greek. Kosmos, kos-mos) an orderly arrangement, the world including its inhabitants.
A paraphrased version would sound like this:
Exceedingly great, mightier, stronger is He, that same one through whom you obtained salvation, and as a result you, your own self have Him in a fixed place in your heart/spirit; there is no comparison between His power and he who influences the unsaved, sin nature of those who inhabit this world.
Indeed then, without even a trace of comparison, “Greater is He who is in you!!”
So why do so many Christians feel like Satan has so much power over them? Is it because we Christians do not know that it is we who must exercise the power of God’s Spirit within us? It is we who must be the warriors who wield the Sword of Truth? Yes, it is the Christian who must resist Satan. (James 4:7)
Thus, the battle is not one in which I stand by and watch to see if Christ or Satan is going to be victorious over my sin nature. In a given battle between my flesh (my sin nature) and God’s Spirit within me, it is ridiculous to operate with the following thinking or philosophy: “Well, I brought my sin to you, Lord, and I laid it at the foot of your cross so that you would gain victory for me, but I’m still facing the same sin. So, I guess you weren’t able to make me victorious, even though I trusted you.”
That’s the same as saying, “Too bad that he who is in the world is greater than you, Lord!” Yet that’s exactly the type of thinking that too many Christians accept. What a clever tactic for my own flesh (my sin nature) to use against me as a way to continue to thrive by deceitfully getting me to accept that Satan-inspired philosophy!
Yes, Christ is stronger than Satan. Christ has defeated even death for me! But Christ, having provided me with Salvation, does not automatically put me at a place where He is Lord of my life. To make Christ Lord of my life will require that I become a worthy warrior who is able to put my flesh (my sin nature) to death. It is I who must win the battle of who will be Lord of my life. Will I bring my own sinful nature, my flesh, into obedience to Christ, or will I continue letting my flesh rule me as I yield to it and do sinful things?
A sad reality is that most Christians don’t know that they are supposed to “resist Satan in order to put him to flight.” (James 4:7) Nor do too many know how to resist him. There is a way to gain victory, though. Scripture says, “If we will confess our sins, (and confess in Greek is homologeo, which means to enter into a covenant with God wherein I will acknowledge each specific sin in my life when it happens) then He will faithfully forgive me.”
Of course there is a simple way for Satan to keep me from experiencing freedom and staying in bondage to shame, feelings of failure and defeat: simply keep me from admitting each of my sins. He does that by using my pride, which is a part of my sinful nature, to keep me from admitting and confessing my sins. Through pride, he will cause me to blame everything and everyone else for my shortcomings.