The day you put your faith in Jesus Christ, your eternal address changed from a place known as hell to a place called heaven. It was a day in which you passed from darkness to light, a day in which you found new purpose and meaning.
It was also a day in which a very real spiritual war began in your life. Conversion made your heart a battlefield. You came to realize that not only is there a God who loves you, but there is also a devil who hates you and wants to pull you back into your old ways again.
We should never underestimate Satan. He is a sly and skillful adversary with many years' experience in dealing with humanity. Though he is a powerful foe, he can be overcome. Let's examine some facts about him.
Satan is nowhere near to being the equal of God.
God is omnipotent: He is all-powerful. God is omniscient: He is all-knowing. God is omnipresent: He is present everywhere.
The devil, in sharp contrast, does not reflect these divine attributes. Satan is very powerful, more than any man, and more powerful than most angels. But he is not anywhere near to being the equal of God.
His knowledge is limited, and he can't know all of our thoughts. And while God can be everywhere at the same time, Satan can be in only one place at one time. However, he does not work alone. He has his minions, his demon forces that do his dirty work (Ephesians 6:10-12).
He can do nothing in the life of the Christian without God's permission.
While God may allow demonic attacks in your life, you are still under God's divine protection. In the book of Job, for instance, we read of the angels coming to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan being among them. God said to him, "From where do you come?" (Job 1:7).
Satan answered, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it."
Then the Lord essentially began bragging on Job, who was "a blameless and upright man" (v. 8). Satan, in response, pointed out the hedge of protection God had placed around Job's household and everything he owned.
We see by this passage that in spite of his power and wicked agenda, the devil must ask permission when it comes to the life of the child of God, because God has placed a divine hedge of protection around His own.
You can be oppressed to some degree, but if you are a Christian, neither the devil nor a demon can ever take control of your life. When you placed your faith in Jesus Christ, you came under His protection. He placed His I.D. tag on you that says, "Property of Jesus Christ. Bought with the blood." Satan knows that and must back off.
Having said that, it doesn't mean the devil can't try to lure you out of God's protection and draw you into his web of deception. That's why, as a child of God, your objective should be to stay as close to the Lord as you possibly can — and keep as much distance between yourself and the devil as possible.
The devil wants to pull you down before God. Then he wants to accuse you.
On more than one occasion, the Scriptures refer to Satan as an accuser. Revelation 12:10 calls him "the accuser of our brethren who accused them before God day and night...."
Satan wants you to believe that you are not worthy to approach God. But you are not approaching Him on the basis of your worthiness. You are approaching God on the basis of what Jesus did for you at the cross. Remember that, because the devil doesn't want you to know it. He wants to accuse you before God and keep you away from Him.
The difference between Satan's accusations and the Holy Spirit's conviction is that Satan will always drive you from the cross. Jesus always will bring you to it.
The devil was soundly defeated at the cross of Calvary.
Colossians 2:15, speaking of what Jesus accomplished at the cross, says, "Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it." At Calvary, the devil lost his foothold and stranglehold on the life of the human race. This means that each of us can be set free by the power of Jesus Christ.
The story of Johnny Cash’s life and spiritual struggles offers hope to anyone who has had trouble staying on the straight and narrow path—and reminds us that God redeems broken lives and makes them whole again. My new book, Johnny Cash: The Redemption of an American Icon is a fascinating look at a unique and talented musician and follower of Christ!