Have you ever watched a movie or web series that has lots of shady characters, horrific violence, stealing, lying and pain? I can think of many movies and series that have such darkness – Game of Thrones, American Gangster, John Wick, The Revenant and The Witcher are a few examples of this darkness. What we see in fiction or entertainment is hopefully not what we experience in our human existence. But I’m old enough and have talked with enough people to see that sometimes we live in a nightmare that can be worse than any movie or web series.
So why does bad stuff happen? Why don’t our lives always have happy endings and joyful resolutions? I understand that these are basic answers, but I would suggest that bad stuff happens sometimes as a consequence of our choices and bad stuff happens because Satan is an active enemy in our lives. I also recognize that sometimes bad stuff happens, and we don’t know why.
Nevertheless, when we consider the works of Satan, let’s look at a few verses in the Bible that show us what he does:
- In Revelation 12:10, we read that Satan is the accuser of the brethren. To look at how that plays out in a human’s life, you can read Job 1:7-2:7. Satan is the accuser and his accusations toward us can be vicious and very hurtful.
- In John 8:44, Jesus tells us something interesting about Satan, “. . . He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” In this verse, we see that Satan is a liar and lying is his native language, as it says in the NIV translation.
- In John 10:10 we read Jesus’ words about Satan, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
Looking at what Satan does can be really discouraging and I would suppose that you could look in your life and see Satan’s efforts and fingerprints at various times and situations or seasons. Thankfully, we have a counter-point to the pain and efforts that Satan tries to affect in our lives.
In 1 John 3:8 we read, “ . . . The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” When I think about the various purposes of Jesus in my life, it makes me pause to consider that He wants to actively destroy what the enemy has done and wants to do in my life. And the same can be said for your life. Whatever Satan has done in your life, stealing, killing, maiming, deceiving . . . Jesus comes to undo what Satan has done. Furthermore, it can be really encouraging to remember what Jesus said as a counter-point to Satan’s purposes in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
If you find yourself in a season where Satan is wreaking havoc in your life—lying, stealing, raping, pillaging, destroying—it could be helpful to remember that Jesus is present to destroy what Satan is trying to do in your life. Additionally, James 4:7 says, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Let’s stay in a posture of embracing Jesus and resisting Satan–devil hostile and Jesus welcome!