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 CHAPTER 16

Oppose the Devil

Oppose the Devil

“Oppose the Devil, and he will flee from you.”​—JAMES 4:7.

1, 2. What do we need to understand about Satan and the demons?

LIFE in Jehovah’s new world will be wonderful. Finally, we will live as God intended for us to live. But right now we live in a world controlled by Satan and his demons. (2 Corinthians 4:4) Even though we cannot see them, they exist and they are very powerful.

2 In this chapter, we will discuss how we can stay close to Jehovah and protect ourselves from Satan. Jehovah promises that he will help us. But we need to understand the methods Satan and the demons use to trick and attack us.

“LIKE A ROARING LION”

3. What does the Devil want to do to us?

3 Satan claims that humans worship Jehovah for selfish reasons and that we will stop serving Him if things become too difficult. (Read Job 2:4, 5.) When someone shows that he wants to learn about Jehovah, Satan and the demons notice, and they try to stop him. They are angry when a person dedicates himself to Jehovah and gets baptized. The  Bible compares the Devil to “a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone.” (1 Peter 5:8) Satan wants to destroy our relationship with Jehovah.​—Psalm 7:1, 2; 2 Timothy 3:12.

Satan is angry when we dedicate ourselves to Jehovah

4, 5. (a) What is Satan unable to do? (b) What does it mean to “oppose the Devil”?

4 But we do not need to be afraid of Satan and his demons. Jehovah has limited what they can do to us. Jehovah promises that “a great crowd” of true Christians will survive “the great tribulation.” (Revelation  7:9, 14) There is nothing the Devil can do to stop that from happening, because Jehovah is protecting His people.

5 If we stay close to Jehovah, Satan cannot break our relationship with Him. God’s Word assures us: “Jehovah is with you as long as you remain with him.” (2 Chronicles 15:2; read 1 Corinthians 10:13.) Many faithful men and women of old, such as Abel, Enoch, Noah, Sarah, and Moses, opposed the Devil by staying close to Jehovah. (Hebrews 11:4-40) We can do the same. God’s Word promises: “Oppose the Devil, and he will flee from you.”​—James 4:7.

“WE HAVE A STRUGGLE”

6. How does Satan attack us?

6 Even though Satan knows that Jehovah has restricted what he can do to us, he will still try anything to weaken our relationship with God. Today, the Devil attacks in many different ways, and he uses strategies he has used for thousands of years. What are some of these?

7. Why is Satan attacking Jehovah’s people?

7 The apostle John wrote: “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19) Satan has this wicked world under his control and would like to control Jehovah’s people too. (Micah 4:1; John 15:19; Revelation 12:12, 17) The Devil knows that he does not have much time left, so he is putting intense pressure on each one of us to be disloyal to God. Sometimes the Devil uses  direct attacks, but at other times his attacks are more subtle.

8. What does each Christian need to realize?

8 We read at Ephesians 6:12: “We have a struggle [“wrestling,” footnote] . . . against the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places.” Each Christian personally has a fight against the Devil and the demons. We need to realize that all those who make a dedication to Jehovah are in this battle. In his letter to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul urged Christians three times to “stand firm.”​—Ephesians 6:11, 13, 14.

9. What do Satan and the demons try to do to us?

9 Satan and the demons try to deceive us in various ways. Just because we have resisted Satan in one way does not mean we cannot be overcome by him in another. The Devil tries to find our weaknesses so that he can choose traps to catch us. But we do not have to be caught, because the Bible teaches us about the Devil’s traps. (2 Corinthians 2:11; see Endnote 31.) One of these is demonism.

STAY FAR AWAY FROM THE DEMONS

10. (a) What is demonism? (b) How does Jehovah view demonism?

10 Demonism involves supernatural things that bring a person into contact with the demons, things such as fortune-telling, witchcraft, casting spells, or trying to speak with the dead. The Bible tells us that demonism is “detestable” and that we cannot be involved with demonism and at the same time worship Jehovah. (Deuteronomy 18:10-12;  Revelation 21:8) Christians must completely avoid all forms of demonism.​—Romans 12:9.

11. Where could curiosity about the supernatural lead us?

11 Satan knows that if we are attracted to the supernatural, it will be easy for him to draw us into demonism. Any form of demonism would destroy our relationship with Jehovah.

SATAN TRIES TO TRICK US

12. How would Satan like to influence our thinking?

12 Satan tries to confuse the thinking of people. He gradually creates doubts, until people think that “good is bad and bad is good.” (Isaiah 5:20) The Devil promotes the idea that the Bible’s counsel does not work and that we would be happier if we ignored God’s standards.

13. How has Satan tried to create doubts?

13 Spreading doubt is one of Satan’s most effective methods. He has been using it for a long time. In the garden of Eden, he tried to create doubts when he asked Eve: “Did God really say that you must not eat from every tree of the garden?” (Genesis 3:1) Later, in Job’s time, Satan asked Jehovah in front of the angels: “Is it for nothing that Job has feared God?” (Job 1:9) After Jesus’ baptism, Satan challenged him by saying: “If you are a son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”​—Matthew 4:3.

14. How could Satan make people doubt that demonism is dangerous?

14 Today, the Devil continues to create doubts. He tries to make people question whether demonism is  really that bad by making certain forms of it appear innocent. Even some Christians have become blind to its dangers. (2 Corinthians 11:3) So, what can we do to protect ourselves? How can we make sure that we are not being deceived by Satan’s tricks? Let’s examine two areas in which we could be tricked: entertainment and medical treatment.

SATAN USES OUR NATURAL DESIRES AGAINST US

15. How could we get involved with demons through our entertainment?

15 Today, many movies, videos, television shows, computer games, and Internet sites feature demons, magic, and supernatural powers. Many see these things as harmless fun and do not realize the danger of letting demons into their lives. A person could also become involved in demonism through things such as horoscopes, palm reading, tarot cards, and crystal balls. The Devil hides the danger and tries to make such things seem mysterious, fascinating, and fun. A person could even think that there’s no harm in watching something demonic or supernatural as long as he doesn’t actually practice demonism. Why is this thinking dangerous?​—1 Corinthians 10:12.

16. Why should we reject entertainment that features the supernatural?

16 Satan and the demons cannot read our thoughts. But they can learn what we desire and how we think by observing the choices we make for ourselves and our family, including our choice of  entertainment. If we chose movies, music, or books about spirit mediums, magic spells, demon possession, witches, vampires, or similar subjects, Satan and the demons would know that we are curious about them. They could then try to involve us even more deeply in demonism.​—Read Galatians 6:7.

17. How can Satan take advantage of our desire to be healthy?

17 Satan can also take advantage of our desire to be healthy. Today, many suffer from bad health. A person might have tried different treatments without success. (Mark 5:25, 26) He might even  become desperate and be willing to try anything. But as Christians, we need to be careful not to choose medical treatments that involve the use of “magical power.”​—Isaiah 1:13.

Rely on Jehovah when you are sick

18. What medical treatments would a Christian avoid?

18 In ancient Israel, there were some who did use “magical power.” Jehovah said to them: “When you spread out your palms, I hide my eyes from you. Although you offer many prayers, I am not listening.” (Isaiah 1:15) Just think​—Jehovah would not even listen to their prayers! We do not want to do anything that could damage our relationship with Jehovah and keep him from helping us, especially when we are sick. (Psalm 41:3) So we must find out if a treatment we are considering is connected in any way with demonism or supernatural power. (Matthew 6:13) If there is a possibility that it is connected, we need to avoid it!​—See Endnote 32.

STORIES ABOUT DEMONS

19. How has the Devil made many people afraid?

19 While some people think that the Devil and the demons are imaginary, others know that they are real because of personal experience. Many people live in terror of wicked spirits and are slaves to superstitious customs. Others spread fear of the demons by telling stories of their doing terrible things to humans. Often, people are fascinated by these stories and are excited to tell them to others. Those stories often make people afraid of the Devil.

20. How could we spread Satan’s lies?

20 Think about this​—Satan wants people to be  afraid of him. (2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10) He is a liar who knows how to influence the minds of those who are drawn toward demonism and make them believe things that are not necessarily true. Those people may tell stories of what they think they have seen and heard. The more that people repeat such stories, the more the stories become exaggerated. We do not want to help Satan spread fear by repeating such stories.​—John 8:44; 2 Timothy 2:16.

21. Instead of telling stories about the demons, what can we talk about?

21 If one of Jehovah’s people had an experience with the demons, he would not repeat the story to entertain others. Jehovah’s people do not need to be frightened of anything the Devil and his demons can do. Instead, we need to focus on Jesus and the power Jehovah has given him. (Hebrews 12:2) Jesus did not entertain his disciples with stories about the demons. He focused on the Kingdom message and “the magnificent things of God.”​—Acts 2:11; Luke 8:1; Romans 1:11, 12.

22. What are you determined to do?

22 Let’s not forget that Satan’s goal is to destroy our relationship with Jehovah. He will try anything to make that happen. But we are aware of the Devil’s methods and are determined to resist all forms of demonism. We will “not give the Devil an opportunity” to weaken our determination. (Read Ephesians 4:27.) Yes, if we oppose the Devil, we will be safe from his traps and secure in Jehovah’s protection.​—Ephesians 6:11.