I have always believed that Satan’s powers were seriously limited somehow – someway back in the first century. I was taught that on many occasions and a couple of scriptures were always used to confirm that speculation. In my recent study of spiritual warfare, I have re-examined those verses and have serious doubts that they have anything at all to do with Satan’s powers being limited or reduced somehow – yet. He has always been restricted in what he could do, primarily needing permission before controlling anyone’s life, but I see nothing that tells me he can’t do everything he’s always been able to do. And no, I don’t know what that means about what demons did and do. What it does me do – when you begin thinking it all through – is it makes me wonder if Satan can do to any of us the things he did to Job. First, he had to get God to quit protecting him, which opens up another can of worms that I’m not writing about right now. Just think about it! He used enemy tribes of raiders to kill his worker and steal his livestock. He was able to use lightning and wind/tornadoes to destroy more livestock and all his children, not to mention destroy huge parts of his property and possessions. Then, he was able to use natural diseases to give Job sores/boils that were so painful he scrapped himself with a piece of broken pottery. I’m not sure how much he was behind getting Job’s wife and best friends to discourage him and give him terrible advice, but he was certainly an influence behind it.
What does that mean for us? After deep study and prayer, I have come to this deep theological conclusion – I don’t know. I know life isn’t always fun or fair. I know that we do our greatest growing spiritually when we face trials and hardship. It is part of the discipline that a loving Father gives – or allows. I know that Satan can’t control me any more than he could control Job, if I refuse to let him into my heart. I can and must resist and fight. I trust that God will not allow me to have any temptation that I can’t choose to reject. Jesus told us he’d help us avoid them if we asked.
One of the things this study has made me more sensitive to, is the work of the Holy Spirit and God’s angels in my life. If I am filled with the Holy Spirit and it lives in me and leads me, Satan can not dwell where the Spirit lives. He can hurt me and those I love. He can attempt to lure me away from a loving Father who did more for me than I will ever understand, but if I resist him – he must flee! I believe that because God promised it! What I don’t know, and never will, is how long will he be gone.