Daily Devotional

The Frustration of Satan

by Simon Whitton

16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions
21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.

Galations 5:16-24 (NIV)

Why did Satan go ahead with the crucifixion of Christ, when he must have known it would result in his ultimate defeat and victory for those in the kingdom of God?

The most common explanation is that Satan did not expect Christ's death to turn into victory, so was taken by surprise. However, I believe Satan had full knowledge of the scriptures and was completely familiar with Old Testament passages, such as Isaiah 53, that clearly tell of a Christ who must suffer and die in order to triumph. Satan also knew Jesus to be the Son of God, and must have paid close attention to His clear prophecies that he would be killed and resurrected on the third day.  (Matt 16:21; Mark 8:31; Luke 9:22; John 2:19-22)

There is also the incident where Satan had a hand in trying to keep Jesus from the cross.

21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!"
23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.
Matthew 16:21-23(NIV)

The explanation for all this is found in the character and nature of Satan. He has the knowledge and intelligence to be rational, but he often doesn't have the ability to put his own will into practice. Satan is driven by passions and forces that are beyond his own control. It would be a mistake to credit Satan with uncorrupted qualities like self-control and patience, which are fruits of the Spirit. Instead Satan finds himself acting out of hatred, jealousy, rage, lust, impatience and arrogance; things which can overpower sound judgment.

Satan hated Christ with such overwhelming rage he couldn't stop himself from viciously persecuting Him, eventually resulting in Jesus' execution…and resurrection.

The frustration of Satan is that he's a slave to his own nature, like a rabid dog appearing friendly and docile one minute then dangerously aggressive the next, with little self-control. This is true for his demonic hordes, and sadly for people who indulge their sinful nature, thinking they can 'do what thou wilt'.  It may satisfy at first, but then they lose control of themselves, and are left with deep frustration.

Spend some time praying, and rejoice that God has called you to be free; and that self control and all the fruit of the Spirit is available to you. Ask the Lord to increase the fruit of the Spirit in your life, that He might operate through you and be a blessing to those around you.

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