I recently discovered a trait of Satan which I am sure he did not want me to know about. For years I knew that Satan is a single being. His power is limited. Unlike God, he is not all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-present. Therefore, I concluded, particularly on the third count, that Satan could not be responsible for so much that we attribute to him. If he is off bothering one Christian somewhere, he cannot be in two places at once. Hence, he can’t be bothering me while at the same time bothering you. Therefore, whatever is going on, the cause cannot likely be Satanic in origin. The cause must be of the flesh.
While I still hold strongly to that belief, this discovery about Satan has set it back a bit. As I studied God’s Word about Satan, something about my belief just didn’t hold up. For instance, God wrote Ephesians 6:11 to a wide audience, not to an individual or in the singular case. “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” This is true of many verses about Satan and his interaction with Christians. Since our theology about his limited powers still stands, I had to ask myself why God wrote these verses to a broad audience instead of singular.
The only thing I can conclude is that Satan has one power which enables him to bother Christians seemingly all at the same time. He has the power of speed. This gets into the spirit realm. This is a realm which we know little about today. Philip experienced it at least once when he was caught up in the Spirit and found himself out in the desert alongside the Ethiopian eunuch. Some folks compare this translation to “beaming up” from Star Trek. Just as God can use spiritual means to nearly instantaneously transport our physical bodies across great distances us, so can Satan use this method. I suspect the angels and demons can also do this.
Therefore the warning to us to be sober and vigilant takes on all the more gravity. For our adversary, the devil, is nearby and in an instant can be closer than we desire. We must keep our spiritual armor on all the time.
The “good” news for some Christians is that if they remain asleep in sin, they need not worry about any visits from Satan. They do his work for him without need of further assistance.
But when a Christian wakes up or senses the pricking of the Holy Spirit to repent, I believe both Satan and the flesh will rear up to resist. This is a power we need to learn to recognize. This is the battle in the spiritual realm that we fight. It is not a battle of the flesh. We have no power over the dead man of the flesh. Our victory is only in Jesus and His death. To live sin-free and awake unto righteousness here on earth we must continually do battle in the heavenly places with Jesus’ blood-washed linens beneath our armor.