“… lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11).
Do you know Satan can take advantage of you if you are ignorant of his devices? I have never tried to expose who Satan is but I believe the Lord is now leading me to make believers aware that he is present and real in the same way we know God is present and real. But Satan tries to conceal the truth about his existence in our generation. He does not want those living in darkness to know he exists.
When I was growing up, our home did not have electricity. As boys, we walked around at night. Sometimes I would pass by a particular place and get the feeling that there was something terrifying near me even though I could not see it. I would start shaking with fear.
As I grew older, I developed some mischievous habits. At night, for example, I would carry wet balls of soil and stand strategically at our gate waiting for passers-by. If I spotted someone walking alone, I would throw the soil at him. Terrified, he would run helter-skelter, not knowing it was just a scheme by a mischievous boy who derived fun from scaring grown-ups in the dark. May God forgive me for the things I did. This is exactly how Satan operates – he instils fear and operates in darkness.
So who is Satan? Where did he come from and what does he look like? To start with, the Bible mentions angels named Michael, Gabriel and Lucifer. Every time you hear of the angel Michael, you know it is about war. He comes to fight on the side of God. Gabriel is primarily a messenger who brings God’s messages to humans, as recorded in Daniel 10. In the Old Testament, we sometimes read about “the Angel of the Lord”; that angel is what we call in theology the pre-incarnate Christ.
There are countless other angels in heaven, but let us zero in on Lucifer, who was the angel in charge of worship in heaven before his fall. The Bible says when he was worshipping in heaven, pride entered him and he equated himself with God. He wanted to be worshipped like God.
In life, those small evil thoughts usually give birth to tragedies. Nothing starts off big; even deception starts off small. You need to check what is in your heart. Proverbs 4:23 exhorts us to “keep our hearts with all diligence for out of it springs the issues of life”. God does not judge what we see; He looks at the inside.
I kept company with some believers in church thinking they were good people. But one day, evil was found in them. Wickedness grew in their hearts but from outside they looked just fine. They would greet me jovially as their pastor and some even served with me at the altar. Eventually, evil caught up with them, leading some to shipwreck their faith as described in 1 Timothy 1:19.
When evil enters people, they begin looking for an opportunity to be lifted like Satan did. I remember one Christian brother saying to me: “Pastor, at my age, I need to be the pastor of a church.” I asked him whether he had heard from the Lord, because age is no reason to start a church. He told me he felt he needed to be a senior pastor somewhere. Sadly, he has not become one to date.
Some older people might question why they are serving under me. But ministry is not about age; it is about God’s call. I went into ministry at age 22. If you try to start a ministry at that age simply because I did, you might end up getting very frustrated.
When evil is found in you, pride will manifest. I have heard someone say: “I will leave that church and then see what he will do without me.” What do you mean what I will do? Did I beg you to join me in the first place?
Pride occurs when you feel nothing can work without you. In Africa, we have the problem of presidents who do not want to step down from power. When asked why, they often retort: “There is no one (else) fit to rule.” You mean you are the only person who can lead?
Personally, I believe someone else can do better than me. If I died today, Nairobi Grace Chapel would not die, unless it was not God’s work but mine. God is able to raise another person and give him or her greater grace than He has given me.
Elijah was a great prophet of God, but the day he was taken up, Elisha received a double portion of his anointing and so he was able to do double what his predecessor had done. But pride says: “If not me, then nobody else.”
Lucifer was able to rally a third of the heavenly angels to rebel against God. That means if there were three billion angels in heaven, for instance, then one billion were cast down with Satan. It is sad when a mad person commands a following. He can even make his followers believe that he knows whether or not their names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life!
Because of what Lucifer did, the Bible says war arose in heaven (Revelation 12:7-9). Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his fallen angels, scripturally known as demons and evil (unclean) spirits. Knowing that Satan and his angels were cast down from heaven should not make us afraid. Why? Because for every one demon, there are two angels of God fighting for us. May God help us to understand this revelation.