Bible Question:

How does Satan hinder Christians from doing God's will?

Bible Answer:

The Bible tells us that Satan uses many different schemes to hinder Christians from doing God’s will. It is clear from 1 Peter 5:8 that Satan or the devil controls this world. He does not like anyone on this planet called earth. The verse says,

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  1 Peter 5:8 (NASB)

Notice that we are told the devil or Satan prowls around the earth looking for certain people to devour. He is able to do this because God has given him this permission. In the book of Job, we are told that Satan’s activities are restricted by God (Job 1:10; 2:6). However within those restrictions, Satan can use different schemes to motivate Christians to not do God’s will. What follows is a summary of Satan’s schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11; Ephesians 6:11) or the techniques Satan uses to hinder Christians from doing God’s will.

Satan Hinders Christians From Doing God's Will

Satan Uses Temptation to Hinder Christians From Doing God’s Will

The first and most obvious way Satan motivates Christians to violate God’s will is that he tempts them to sin. God has commanded us to not sin. One example is found in 1 Peter 1:15-16. It says

. . . but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “ YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” 1 Peter 1:15-16 (NASB)

You see, sin violates God’s will. So, we should not be surprised that the New Testament describes different ways in which Satan tries to motivate people, including Christians, to sin.

Maybe the most common area in which Satan’s tempts people to sin is in the area of pride. In 1 Timothy 3:6, we are told church leaders are not to be new Christians. Otherwise, their position will be a source of pride.

. . . and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. 1 Timothy 3:6 (NASB)

James 4:6-7 also warns everyone to avoid pride.

But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:6-7 (NASB)

So, we are warned to resist the devil in the area of pride. That is, the devil wants us to commit the sin of pride. Therefore, the way in which Satan hinders Christians from doing God’s will is to motivate them to be proud.

Another common area in which Satan tempts people to commit sin is in the area of sexual activity. For example, in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, God tells Christian husbands and wives that their spouse owns their body. God tells married couples that they cannot refuse to engage in sexual activity with each other, except by agreement; and then couples can only delay sexual activity for a short time. That is the message of verse 5.

Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 1 Corinthians 7:5 (NASB)

Therefore, a second area in which Satan hinders Christians from doing God’s will is to motivate married couples to deny sex to their spouse.

A third type of sin in which Satan works is lying. Acts 5:3 tells us that Satan urged a couple to lie to the apostle Peter. Peter was a spiritual leader of the early church. We are told in this passage that when this couple lied to Peter, they also lied to the Holy Spirit.

But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land?” Acts 5:3 (NASB)

Therefore, the third area in which Satan hinders Christians from doing God’s will is by lying.

Satan tempts us to commit additional sins. These are by becoming angry (Ephesians 4:26-27), the pride of life in Luke 4:9–11, the lust of the eyes as in Judges 7:20-21; Job 31:1; Deuteronomy 5:21, and the lust of the flesh (Matthew 4:3-4).

We have seen several examples of different types of sins Satan uses to tempt us. Then when we sin, we violate God’s will. The Enemy, Satan, seeks to hinder Christians from doing God’s will.

Satan Uses Other Schemes to Hinder Christians From Doing God’s Will

Satan also uses other schemes to hinder Christians from doing God’s will. He does this by interfering in their plans in a variety of different ways. That is the message of  1 Thessalonians 2:17-20.

But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short while — in person, not in spirit — were all the more eager with great desire to see your face. For we wanted to come to you — I, Paul, more than once — and yet Satan hindered us. For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? For you are our glory and joy.  1 Thessalonians 2:17-20 (NASB)

While we do not know the details of how Satan prevented Paul from visiting the Thessalonians, it is clear that Satan stopped Paul. Maybe Satan used someone or an illness to prevent Paul from accomplishing God’s will.

Luke 22:31-32 reveals that Satan will attempt to hinder believers from performing God’s will by attacking their faith. This occurred with the disciple Peter. The Lord Jesus could have prevented Satan from testing Peter, but he did not stop him. Instead, Jesus prayed for Peter and allowed him to be tested. The benefit of the trial was he could more effectively minister to others.

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32 (NASB)

Satan successfully tempted Judas into betraying Jesus. The result was that Judas lost his ministry and Satan had a role in the events leading to Jesus laying down His own life. John 10:15, 17.

During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him . . . John 13:2 (NASB)

Satan thought that he had defeated Christ, but he was wrong. Sadly, Judas quickly committed suicide by hanging himself. God had planned everything so that Jesus would be killed.  The result was that the sins of a man or woman could be forgiven by faith in Jesus.

These are just a few examples of the various ways in which Satan hinders Christians from doing God’s will.

Conclusion:

We have discovered that Satan tries to hinder people from doing God’s will in a variety of ways. Job 1:13-19 reveals that Satan can also cause people to be killed, can change the weather, and even cause fire to come from heaven, if God allows him to do so. Therefore, how we defeat Satan? The answer is found in the Armor of God. We encourage the reader to visit the study in the book of Ephesians and find the “Armor of God, part 1” and “Armor of God, part 2.” Let’s not let Satan hinder us from doing God’s will!

Suggested Links:

What does the Bible say about foreplay and sex in marriage?
Schemes of Satan, part 1
Schemes of Satan, part 2
Armor of God, part 1
Armor of God, part 2