Satan is a liar (John 8:44), Satan is a deceiver (Revelation 12:9), and Satan is an accuser of Christians (Revelation 12:10). Satan is the Christian’s chief enemy, for we fight not against flesh and blood, but against Satan’s spiritual forces (Ephesians 6:12). And we are to resist him (James 4:7), but how? How do we fight against Satan?
The primary way to fight against Satan is with God’s word. The one offensive weapon we have been given in this fight against Satan is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).
But how do we fight against Satan with the word of God, specifically? Do we quote it to Satan, do we yell it at him, do we walk around the perimeter of our houses chanting it, or do we swing the literal book of the Bible through the air like a real sword?
How to Fight Against Satan: Don’t Dialogue with the Devil
Rule number one when fighting against Satan: Don’t listen to him. Satan primarily fights against Christians not through illusions and physical displays, but through doctrinal lies applied to real life. “God isn’t loving. He hates you for what you did.” “God isn’t forgiven. No one could forgive you.” “God isn’t holy. He’ll just forgive you anyways . . . so just sin the ways you want.”
Satan fights against us by leading us away from God through lies. He gives us a false doctrine, and then he tempts us to apply it to our life. God does the opposite. He gives us a pure and true doctrine through his Scriptures, and then he leads us through his Spirit in applying it to our lives for his glory and our good.When Adam and Eve where in a fight with Satan, notice their great mistake of dialoguing with the Devil:
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman . . . And the woman said to the serpent . . .” (Genesis 3:1-2).
Their first mistake in their fight with Satan was dialoguing with him at all. You can’t apply Satan’s lies to your life if you never take those lies in to begin with.
To fight Satan, we must so fill our minds and hearts with God’s word that lies stick out for what they are amongst the layers and layers of God’s truth. When a wall is completely white, you instantly see when a black smudge appears. When Satan and his demons begin to tempt and whisper false lies to us, we will only recognize their evil ways if we know God’s ways and our minds are filled with his pure truth.
How to Fight Against Satan: Speak and Believe Only What God Has Already Spoken
How are we to fight against Satan if we are not to tell him what to do? If we can’t talk to him, how can we banish him away?
To be clear, in your own power, you can’t banish Satan away in your fight against him. Satan is not under your authority. Satan does not listen to your words. Satan is, however, very much so under the authority of God, and if you are a Christian, you are on God’s side of power. Colossians 2:8-10 explains:
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.”
In our fight against Satan, we must remember that Jesus is fully God, he is the head over all rulers and authorities, and we have been filled in Christ. Satan must listen to Christ. Satan is under Christ’s authority. Therefore when we come under submission to Christ, when we proclaim Christ’s truth, and when we live a holy life by remaining in Christ, Satan will flee from us because he must listen to Christ.
When a police officer arrests a criminal, he doesn’t tell the criminal he’s under arrest because of the police officer’s personal opinion. The police officer has authority over the criminal because the law has authority over the criminal. Likewise, we don’t have authority over Satan, but God’s law does.
Therefore, when we fight against Satan, we must not speak to Satan in our own words. Rather, we must proclaim and believe only what God has spoken. We must not speak to Satan or tell him what to do in our own passion and zeal. Rather, we must pray to God against Satan, proclaiming what God has already commanded Satan to do.
For example, if you sense a temptation to feel condemned for past sins you have repented for and Christ has redeemed, you can proclaim in prayer to God, “Because of Christ I am free and there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1-2). Therefore Satan has no hold of me because of my past sins (Colossians 1:13). In Jesus name, Amen.”
Here we did not speak to Satan but only to God, and yet a prayer like this will surely be used by God to bring deliverance. When we refuse to believe anything other than God’s word, Satan’s lies will vanish from us. And when we proclaim God’s word when we sense Satan’s lies, God’s word always overrules Satan’s accusations and thus we will be able to walk in freedom.
How to Fight Against Satan: Do What Jesus Did . . . Use God’s Word
Perhaps the best place in Scripture to study how to fight against Satan is Luke 4:1-13 when Jesus is tempted by Satan. Jesus is God himself (while also fully man), and yet when he was on earth as a man he too only answered with Scripture when Satan tried to tempt him (Luke 4:4, 8, 12).
Jesus didn’t dialogue with the Devil. Jesus relied on God’s word, believed God’s word, proclaimed God’s authority, and then “[Satan] departed from him until an opportune time” (Luke 4:13). Likewise, when we submit to God and fight Satan with Scripture, he will flee from us (James 4:7). Through our earthly lives Satan will seek to attack us at opportune times, but we have nothing to fear, for he who is in us is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).
Satan is like a seductive, evil woman. She masquerades with beauty and temptations, but what she really offers is death, “With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him. All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter” (Proverbs 7:21-22). It’s worth noting that often times, when Jesus was casting out demons and one of them wanted to talk, “[Jesus] rebuked them and would not allow them to speak” (Luke 4:41).
Don’t dialogue with the devil. Don’t offer your thoughts and personal opinions. Don’t ever listen to his crafty lies like those of an adulterous woman who breaks down her prey with “much seductive speech.” To fight Satan: submit to God, believe the Bible, proclaim God’s truth, speak only to God, listen only to God, let God’s word speak on your behalf, and Satan will flee from you because he must listen to God.
We must fight Satan, but we must only fight Satan through the power of God proclaimed through his word.
(Note: This article is NOT referring to exorcisms and the casting out of demons. That is another topic for another article. Christians can be attacked, but they can’t be possessed. This article is referring to the normal temptations with which Satan and his demons attack Christians.)