Satan, Bound

He's bad, but he's on a leash.

Moreover when he abandoned the blessedness of his Creator, that angel completely lost every good quality of his own nature which he had in his creation. But if he continues evil for himself, he always remains good for God while he complies obediently with the Lord’s command, though not of his own free will but because of God’s power. For of every good quality he had of his nature he now possesses only this: that he yields to God the Creator in all his commands.

  - Anonymous, Liber de Ordine Creaturarum, Irish, 7th century[1]

But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.”                  

  - Matthew 12.28, 29

Make no mistake about it, the devil and his ilk are a dangerous lot. Not so much for the threat of demonic possession, as of demonic deception. The devil stalks about like a roaring lion, and he will devour anyone who doubts his powers or tests his mettle.

But he stalks around on the end of a leash, held tight in the hand of his conquering Lord. The key to dealing with the devil is to keep your eye on the Lord, know the length of the leash He has him on, and don’t stray within his reach.

We are engaged in a great spiritual warfare, and our adversary wants nothing so much as to cause us to doubt our salvation, deny the authority of our King, and depart from the way of righteousness. So he strews our path with temptations, diversions, distractions, rationalizations, and trials, hoping to dislodge us from our walk with and work for the Lord.

Some Christian writers have puffed the devil more than they should, making him almost equal in power to our risen and reigning King, if only for now. He’s not, of course, even though he can be a fearsome foe. Jesus declared that He had bound the devil – put him under constraints and restrictions – and would from that moment forward plunder the devil’s holdings, until every lost and chosen soul was recovered and all of creation was restored to its good and upright condition.

The devil has no power to control or defeat those who understand his wiles and know how to avoid his traps and snares. The problem with most of us is that we recognize temptation too late, after we have tumbled through it into sin. Or we crumble under our trials and fall into despair, aid and abet the enemy of our souls by bringing the fire of sin into our breast, or practice a studied ignorance of the way of righteousness, so that we are easily distracted and diverted from our proper path.

If you are not making the most of your time, every moment of it, spiritual forces of wickedness will invade your time, in harmless guise, but with death-dealing intentions (Eph. 5.15-17). There is no neutral ground in the spiritual warfare.

We do not have to be defeated by the devil; Jesus has him on a chain. He can only do what the Lord permits.

But we do need to understand what is required of us, and to practice vigilance and continuous preparation against his every assault.

Keep your eye on Jesus. Understand the devil’s wiles and ways. Determine every day to resist him and send him packing. Then stay on the path of righteousness, and walk in the Spirit, not in the flesh.

For Reflection
1. How would you counsel a new believer to prepare for resisting the devil?

2. As you understand it, what are the keys to having daily victory in the spiritual warfare?

Psalm 35.1-4, 9, 10 (Creation: Exalt the Lord, His Praise Proclaim)
Contend, O Lord, with those who strive with me;
my shield, my strength and buckler be!
Engage with spear and axe to fight
and rescue me with all Your might!
My sould with Your salvation soothe,
and vanquish all who oppose Your truth.
Let those ashamed and humbled be
who would destroy and humble me.

Thus shall our souls rejoice in You
and hold Your salvation ever true.
Our bones as one aloud shall cry,
“Lord, who is like You, enthroned on high,
Who cares for those too frail and meek
to save themselves when they are weak?
Who rescues His afflicted ones
when foes their warfare have begun?”

Strengthen me to resist the devil, Lord, so that I always…

For a concise understanding of how the devil works, and how Jesus has bound and rules him, order our book, Satan Bound, by clicking here.

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T. M. Moore
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All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


[1] Liber, p. 13.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore