“Take your stand against [Satan], firm in the faith.”
1. (a) Why is our fight against Satan important especially now? (b) How do we know that we can win the fight against Satan?
SATAN is fighting against the anointed who are still on earth and the “other sheep.” (John 10:16) In the short time that he has left, the Devil wants to destroy the faith of as many of Jehovah’s servants as he can. (Read Revelation 12:9, 12.) But we can win the fight against Satan. The Bible says: “Oppose the Devil, and he will flee from you.”
2, 3. (a) Why does Satan want people to believe that he does not exist? (b) How do you know that Satan is real?
2 Many laugh at the idea that Satan even exists. To them, Satan and the demons are characters found only in books, horror movies, and video games. Such people feel that if you are intelligent, you would not believe that wicked spirits exist. Does it bother Satan that people do not believe that he and his demons are real? No. It is easier for Satan to trick those who doubt that he exists. (2 Corinthians 4:4) Satan actually promotes ideas like this so that he can mislead people.
3 As Jehovah’s servants, we are not misled. We know that the Devil is a real person. How do we know this? The Bible tells us that Satan spoke to Eve through a serpent. (Genesis 3:1-5) He spoke to Jehovah, questioning Job’s motives. (Job 1:9-12) Satan tried to tempt Jesus. (Matthew 4:1-10) And after Jesus became King in 1914, Satan began “to wage war” with the anointed still on earth. (Revelation 12:17) This war continues as the Devil tries to destroy the faith of the anointed and the other sheep. To win this battle, we must fight against Satan and keep our faith strong. This article discusses three ways to do so.
4. How is Satan the greatest example of pride?
4 Satan is extremely proud. This wicked angel dared to challenge God’s right to rule, and he tried to make others worship him instead of Jehovah. So he is the perfect example of pride and arrogance. Therefore, one way that we can fight against Satan is to reject pride and to be humble. (Read 1 Peter 5:5.) But what is pride? Is it always bad?
5, 6. (a) Is pride always bad? Explain. (b) What kind of pride is dangerous, and what are some Bible examples of this?
5 According to one dictionary, pride is a feeling of confidence and respect for ourselves. It is also “a feeling of satisfaction which you have because you or people close to you have done something good or possess something good.” There is nothing wrong with feeling that way. The apostle Paul said to the brothers in Thessalonica: “We ourselves take pride in you among the congregations of God because of your endurance and faith in all your persecutions and the hardships that you are suffering.” (2 Thessalonians 1:4) So feeling good about the work of others and even having some pride in ourselves can benefit us. We do not need to be ashamed of our family, culture, or the place where we grew up.
6 However, there is a kind of pride that can ruin relationships, especially our friendship with Jehovah. This type of pride can cause us to feel upset when we are counseled. It can even cause us to reject the counsel instead of humbly accepting it. (Psalm 141:5) This kind of pride is described as thinking too much of ourselves or as “a haughty attitude shown by people who believe, often unjustifiably, that they are better than others.” Jehovah hates arrogant pride. (Ezekiel 33:28; Amos 6:8) But Satan loves it when humans imitate his arrogance by bragging about themselves. Imagine how Satan rejoiced when Nimrod, Pharaoh, and Absalom showed improper pride by their bragging! (Genesis 10:8, 9; Exodus 5:1, 2; 2 Samuel 15:4-6) Pride was also a reason why Cain lost his relationship with God. Jehovah himself counseled Cain, but Cain was too proud to listen. He was stubborn, ignored God’s warning, and did not hesitate to sin against Jehovah.
7, 8. (a) What is racism, and how is it related to pride? (b) Explain how pride could destroy the peace of a congregation.
7 Today, people show pride in many harmful ways. Pride is sometimes related to racism. According to one dictionary, racism is prejudice against people who belong to other races. It is also “the belief that people of different races have different qualities and abilities, and that some races are inherently superior or inferior.” Racism has resulted in fights, wars, and even mass murder.
Pride can harm the peace of a congregation
8 Of course, such things should not happen in the Christian congregation. Still, disagreements between brothers and sisters may start with pride and can get out of control. That happened to some early Christians, which is why James asked them this powerful question: “What is the source of the wars and fights among you?” (James 4:1) If we feel hatred for others and feel that we are better than they are, we may say or do something that really hurts them. (Proverbs 12:18) Clearly, pride can harm the peace of a congregation.
9. How does the Bible help us to fight against racism and other kinds of improper pride? (See opening picture.)
9 If we tend to feel that we are better than others, we need to remember that Jehovah hates “everyone proud in heart.” (Proverbs 16:5) We also need to examine our hearts and ask ourselves, ‘Do I feel that I am better than people who are of another race, nationality, or culture?’ If so, we are forgetting that God “made out of one man every nation of men.” (Acts 17:26) So in a way, we are all one race because everyone came from Adam. It is very foolish to believe that God made some races better than others. If we think this way, we are allowing Satan to destroy our Christian love and unity. (John 13:35) To fight Satan and win, we must avoid all kinds of improper pride.
AVOID MATERIALISM AND LOVE FOR THE WORLD
10, 11. (a) Why might it be easy to love the world? (b) What was the result of Demas’ love for the world?
10 Satan is “the ruler of this world,” and he controls it. (John 12:31; 1 John 5:19) Many of the things this world promotes go against Bible standards. Of course, not everything in the world is evil. However, we can be sure that Satan will use his world to take advantage of our desires and try to cause us to sin. Or he will try to get us to love the world and neglect our worship of Jehovah.
11 Some early Christians loved the world. For example, Paul wrote: “Demas has forsaken me because he loved the present system of things.” (2 Timothy 4:10) The Bible does not say exactly what part of this world Demas loved, which caused him to abandon Paul. It could be that Demas began to love material things more than his service to Jehovah. If that was true, Demas lost the opportunity to have exciting privileges in God’s service. Was it worth it? No. Demas could have remained Paul’s helper. The world could never offer him anything better than Jehovah could!
May we never let money become more important than our friendship with Jehovah
12. How can Satan take advantage of our desires using “the deceptive power of riches”?
12 The same can happen to us today. As Christians, it is normal to want to provide for ourselves and for our family. (1 Timothy 5:8) Jehovah wants us to enjoy life. We know that because he gave Adam and Eve a beautiful paradise to live in. (Genesis 2:9) But Satan can take advantage of our desires using “the deceptive power of riches.” (Matthew 13:22) Many think that money and material things will make them happy or successful. If we think this way, it can cause us to lose the most valuable thing we have, our friendship with Jehovah. Jesus warned: “No one can slave for two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick to the one and despise the other. You cannot slave for God and for Riches.” (Matthew 6:24) If we slave only for material things, we have stopped serving Jehovah. That is exactly what Satan wants us to do. May we never let money or the things it can buy become more important than our friendship with Jehovah. To fight Satan and win, we must have the right attitude toward material things.
RESIST SEXUAL IMMORALITY
13. How has this world promoted a wrong view of marriage and sex?
13 Another one of Satan’s traps is sexual immorality. Many people think that being faithful to a husband or a wife, as well as marriage itself, is outdated and limits their freedom. For example, one actress said that it is impossible to be faithful to one person. She added, “I don’t know anyone who’s faithful or wants to be.” An actor said, “I’m not sure if it really is in our nature to be with someone for the rest of our lives.” Satan must be very happy when famous people criticize God’s gift of marriage. The Devil does not support the marriage arrangement, and he does not want marriages to succeed. So to fight Satan and win, we must have God’s view of marriage.
14, 15. What can you do if you are tempted to commit sexual immorality?
14 Whether married or single, we must work hard to fight all kinds of sexual immorality. Is this easy? Not at all! For example, if you are a young person, you might hear your schoolmates brag about having sex with whomever they want to. They may also brag about sexting, that is, sending sexual messages and pictures on their cell phones. In fact, in some countries, sexting is understood to be the same as sending someone child pornography. The Bible says: “Whoever practices sexual immorality is sinning against his own body.” (1 Corinthians 6:18) Much suffering and death have resulted from diseases that are spread by sexual relations. And most young people who had sex but were not married say that they regret what they did. The entertainment world wants us to believe that there are no consequences for breaking God’s laws. If we believe such lies, we can be misled by “the deceptive power of sin.”
15 If you are tempted to commit sexual immorality, what can you do? Recognize that you have a weakness. (Romans 7:22, 23) Pray to God for strength. (Philippians 4:6, 7, 13) Avoid situations that could cause you to commit immorality. (Proverbs 22:3) And when there is a temptation, reject it immediately.
16. What did Jesus say when Satan tried to tempt him, and what can we learn from that example?
16 Jesus set a powerful example for us. He was not fooled by Satan’s promises. He did not even stop to think about them. Instead, he immediately told Satan: “It is written.” (Read Matthew 4:4-10.) Jesus knew God’s Word, so it was possible for him to quote scriptures right away when Satan tried to tempt him. To fight Satan and win, we must not allow ourselves to be tempted to commit sexual immorality.
WIN THE FIGHT BY ENDURING
17, 18. (a) What other traps does Satan use, and why do we expect that? (b) What will happen to Satan, and how does that encourage you to endure?
17 Pride, materialism, and sexual immorality are just three of Satan’s traps. There are many more. For example, some Christians have family members who oppose them or schoolmates who make fun of them. Others live in countries where the government tries to stop them from preaching. We expect to face such difficulties. Jesus himself warned us: “You will be hated by all people on account of my name, but the one who has endured to the end will be saved.”
18 How can we fight Satan and win? Jesus said: “By your endurance you will preserve your lives.” (Luke 21:19) Nothing that any human can do to harm us is permanent. Nobody can take away our friendship with God unless we allow that to happen. (Romans 8:38, 39) Even if some of Jehovah’s faithful servants die, it does not mean that Satan has won. Jehovah will resurrect them. (John 5:28, 29) But Satan has no future. After this wicked world is destroyed, he will be thrown into the abyss for 1,000 years. (Revelation 20:1-3) At the end of the thousand years of Christ’s rule, Satan will be “released from his prison” and will try for one last time to mislead perfect mankind. After that, he will be destroyed. (Revelation 20:7-10) Although the Devil has no future, you do! Continue to fight against Satan, and keep your faith strong. You can fight Satan and win!