If growing closer in our relationship with God is the goal, then repenting and combating our sin nature is our highest priority, because it was sin that originally separated us from God, and it is sin that still stands in obstruction to our growth in God, even after salvation. Sin is a powerful persuasion, and it has a powerful promoter in Satan himself. If repentance is important, and it certainly is, then learning to repel Satan, and defying his power in our life is crucial.
But why does Satan pursue?
For the true follower of Christ, Satan’s goal is to separate us from a real intimacy with God through a vital and growing relationship. He’s already lost the battle for our eternal soul, so he can now focus his efforts on our daily walk with Christ, attempting to render it distracted, distant, and worthless. If Satan can keep us out relevant time spent in God’s Word, off our knees in real communication and prayer, and busy with life, then he’s winning the fight.
I believe that Satan loves religion, because the bells and whistles of religion are steeped in habitual tradition, often devoid of meaningful spiritual depth. Too often, Christians plan their spiritual life and work around a church calendar, instead of around the individual call that God has placed on their life. Sermons and podcasts become a substitution for Bible study, and intimacy with God is replaced with the simple practice of organized religion. Again, for the Christian, if Satan can get us wrapped-up in the activities of modern day religion, then he may be able to convince us that we’re “doing just fine” in our walk with God.
Religion versus Relationship
Satan would love to see us doubt God. He would love to see us renounce our Christian walk and thoroughly and completely embrace a life of constant sin and consistent rebellion. However, Satan may not be successful to that end. Consequently, we should be aware that all Satan really has to do in order to accomplish his goal is create a chasm in our walk with the Lord…a separation in our personal intimacy with God. He knows that the chasm doesn’t necessarily have to be deep, it just needs to exist. The chasm can form and never really affect our church calendar activities. It can form as we relish our perfect attendance in Sunday School and worship, and no one may ever know, because our “religion” is still intact…while our “relationship” with God suffers. It can become increasingly distant and meaningless. Frankly, it can die altogether.
Satan pursues us relentlessly. He touts the attractiveness of sin and the “good times” of our “old self"…compelling us to constantly revisit our sin nature. His quest is to lead us away from a repentant life. Satan wants to feed our sin nature and fuel the flames of our flesh until God is unrecognizable to us from the inside, because the small chasm he initiated in our relationship with God in the beginning has now grown much larger. If he can fill our mind and heart with sin, there will be no compulsion for growth toward the glorious things of God. And, where there is no growth, death quickly comes. This is not necessarily a physical death, but instead, it’s a death of our passion for Christ, a death of our close walk with Him, and a death of us walking out God’s will in our life. Satan wants us to lead a life consisting of the deliberate embrace of sin, a life devoid of repentance. And, his resources to do this are immense…
Next: Defy Satan Power in the Journey– Part 1: The Resources of His Pursuit
Keith Beatty is a Worship, Missions and Media Pastor living in North Alabama. He's excited and very humbled to be a follower of Jesus Christ!