Satan Attacks Believers in Christ
by Jon Bloom
Jon Bloom is the Executive Director for Desiring God Ministries
“Ferocious battles with demonic unbelief are part of the normal Christian life.”
Superman is almost unstoppable. I say “almost” because he does have one vulnerability. Kryptonite weakens him, and too much of it can destroy him. Tony Reinke is exactly right when he says, “unbelief is our Kryptonite”.
Nothing on earth is more powerful than the Holy Spirit flowing through the faith of a born again disciple of Jesus (1 John 5:4). Nothing. It is the greatest superpower available to anyone anywhere. Through faith nothing is impossible (Matthew 17:20). When a Christian is full of Spirit-empowered faith, he cannot stop and cannot be stopped speaking about what he has seen and heard (Acts 4:20). Not even death can silence him (Hebrews 11:4).
This means that nothing is more humanly destructive to the domain of darkness than a faith-filled Christian. Through him, Jesus destroys the devil’s works (1 John 3:8). The only thing Satan’s forces fear more than the vibrant faith of a Christian is the unified, collaborative, vibrant faith of a community of Christians.
But we do have one vulnerability: unbelief. It weakens us and can destroy us. And Satan knows this very well.
Satan’s After Your Faith
Therefore, Satan’s primary goal in the thousands of his various attacks on us is to take down our faith. His primary goal against the church is to fragment the formidable force of united faith and isolate believers, weakening the church and making individuals more vulnerable (Hebrews 3:12–13, 10:25). His forces are hell-bent on these strategic objectives (Ephesians 6:11–12).
The faith of a Christian is God’s chosen channel to bring his saving, sanctifying, strengthening, healing, and delivering grace to the world. If Satan can weaken our faith, he can immobilize us. If he can destroy our faith, he can destroy us. But if he can’t disarm our faith, Jesus will destroy him through it.
This is why we find the fight of faith and the unity of faith so hard (1 Timothy 6:12; Ephesians 4:13). The stakes are very high in this spiritual war and the battle line is drawn over our faith. Satan is doing everything he can to employ the Kryptonite power of unbelief against us. This is what’s taking place in all our temptations to disobedience, discouragement, doubts, distractions, and divisions. Satan’s trying to weaken and destroy our faith and, through us, the faith of others.
Four Helps to Escape the Kryptonite Power of Unbelief
I fight this battle every day. And I have certain vulnerabilities to unbelief that are so disorienting and discouraging that sometimes I want to despair and just give up. I need help.
Superman can’t fight Kryptonite on his own. He needs someone to help him escape its power. When it comes to unbelief, so do I. And that helper is the Holy Spirit. Through the word of God, often mediated through another believer, the Holy Spirit seeks to focus my faith on Jesus’s truth and away from Satan’s lies. When this happens faith ignites and unbelief evaporates.
Since unbelief is so dangerous to us, when we suffer its effects, we must take urgent steps to receive the Spirit’s help. In a recent battle with unbelief, the Spirit used the four following means to help me. Perhaps they will help you.
1. I looked to the source of my power.
Peter’s walk on water is frequently helpful to me (Matthew 14:28–31). As long as his faith was focused on Jesus, he was able to do the humanly impossible. When his focus shifted to the wind and waves, he sank. When I find myself sinking, it’s always evidence of unbelief.
So I asked a friend, in this case my wife, to help me get my eyes on Jesus. I did this right away. And the Spirit helped my unbelief (Mark 9:24) through promises my wife helped me remember.
2. Soak in the promises that address unbelief.
I laid aside distractions, repented of my unbelief, and bathed in those particular promises until their comforting power took effect in my soul.
3. I continued “steadfastly in prayer” (Col 4:2).
I turned the promises into requests and didn’t stop praying them. Jesus says that when we abide in him and his word abides in us, we can ask whatever we wish and it will be done for us (John 15:7). I have always found this promise true, but I’ve also learned not to lean on my own understanding regarding his timing and ways (Proverbs 3:5).
God will answer. But since he usually is doing more in us and through us than we are aware of, we must trust him. Remain steadfast in prayer until the answer comes.
4. My weaknesses show Christ’s strength
This particular battle with unbelief involved weaknesses I wish I didn’t have and tempt me to feel worthless (I’m not talking about sins, though I have plenty of those, too). But the Spirit helped me remember that my weaknesses are where Jesus loves to show his strength (2 Corinthians 12:9–10). But no matter what unbelief uses against us, even when we give in to sin, there are superpower promises that the Spirit brings to mind to help us escape (1 Corinthians 10:13).
You have other ways that you’ve found helpful in the fight for faith, and I hope you share them with those around you.
Ferocious battles with demonic unbelief are part of the normal Christian life. This is war. If the fighting doesn’t get fierce, we are likely not engaged or doing anything threatening to Satan. But if Satan is fighting us with the Kryptonite of unbelief, he perceives a threat. When you feel yourself wilting, take heart. Through the promises of Jesus, the Spirit of Jesus will help you overcome your enemy’s most lethal weapon (John 16:33).