What Satan Can And Can’t Do
I started writing this blog post with a specific goal in mind. I intended to show you what Satan can do, according to the Bible. When I got to the end of the post I wasn’t satisfied with it. It wasn’t that I didn’t think I had done a good job writing it. Rather, I wasn’t pleased with the goal of the post. I wrote it in part because many people want to know what Satan can and can’t do. When I finished I realized all I did was communicate information. Information is fine but that isn’t why I study and teach the Bible. I study and teach it for life-change, mine and yours.
With that in mind let’s look at this with a different goal. First I’ll summarize what Satan can do. Then let’s see what Satan can do that really matters.
Satan can do many different things. Rather than list everything, here’s a summary by category.
Four categories of activity of what Satan can do:
- Things spirits do, e.g. travel between heaven and earth Job 1:6-7, be visible or invisible Genesis 18:1-2.
- Affect nature, e.g. control the wind Job 1:18-19, cause lightning Job 1:16.
- Affect people physically, e.g. sickness Luke 13:10-16.
- Affect people mentally, e.g. blind them to the Gospel 2 Corinthians 4:4, deceive them Revelation 12:9.
That’s it. I gave you a few examples to demonstrate each point. Everything Satan can do is included in these four categories.
Other than knowing this for information’s sake, does it matter? Stop and think about it. Does it really matter what Satan can do? The answer is yes, if he is doing it to you.
[Tweet “It’s not what Satan can do that matters to us. It’s what Satan does to us that matters.”]
This shifts our topic from the realm of the theoretical to the practical. Fortunately, everything Satan can do doesn’t affect us as Christians. If we expanded the categories above I would put sub-categories for points 3 and 4;
- What Satan can do to Christians
- What Satan can do to non-Christians
Some of what he does to Christians and non-Christians is the same and some different. One example is demonization or demon possession. Many wonder if a Christian can be demon possessed. If by “demon possessed” one means controlled by Satan against your will, the answer for Christians is a definitive “No” 1 John 4:4; 5:18. The answer for non-Christians is yes, under some circumstances.
So what really matters to us is what Satan does to us. This raises three other questions.
- Can we know that Satan is doing something to us?
- How can we know that Satan is doing something to us?
- What can we do about whatever Satan does to us?
These questions are a problem for many Christians, but they shouldn’t be. In my next post we’ll dig more into this.
For today, remember, what Satan can and can’t do isn’t really important. What’s important is our preparation for and our response to him. To be prepared do two things. Be alert watching for an attack 1 Peter 5:8. Pray every day that the Father will protect us from the evil one Matthew 6:13.
What do you think? This is a complicated subject. I’d love to hear from you below with your questions or comments.