If you are doing anything right, you should have caught Satan’s attention by now (Ref. Job 1:6). One of our great blessings is that while our adversary is powerful, he is not God. Satan’s powers are intimidating enough as it is (Matthew 4). It appears that the deceiver goes after people who stand out as examples in the Kingdom of God. The Evil Spirit seduced Kings Saul (I Samuel 16:14) and David (I Chronicles 21:1). When the Jews were attempting to restore Jerusalem in the days of Nehemiah, the father of lies accused the high priest Joshua (Zechariah 3:1). The ruler of darkness in this world was always after Peter (Matthew 16:23), sifting him like wheat (Luke 22:31). The accuser of our brethren managed to put it into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus (John 13:2, 27). Belial controlled the wickedness in the gentile world and our culture is under the evil spirit’s power (Acts 26:18). The devil made life difficult for the Apostle Paul, always trying to gain the advantage over the Apostle (II Corinthians 2:11), literally mugging him with sharp pain (II Corinthians 12:7), snatching away the souls of those he taught who hesitated in their attention to the gospel (Luke 8:12). Beelzebub managed to throw many a monkey wrench into Paul’s missionary plans (I Thessalonians 1:18). The deceiver sends his lying servants out into the church to do his will in the disguise of ministers of truth (II Corinthians 11:14), as preachers of tares in the field sown with good seed (Matthew 13:39). The murdering spirit lies in predatory wait (I Peter 5:8) for the babes (I Timothy 3:6-7), the self-satisfied (James 4:6-7), the deceived and ignorant in the church (II Timothy 2:25-26) that he might pick them off.
But Satan is not omnipresent. He is only one place at a time. He must "roam up and down upon the earth" (Job 1:7). Satan is not omniscient. This snake did not know the Almighty’s plan of redemption, for if he had, he would never have allowed the crucifixion of Jesus (I Corinthians 2:8; Revelation 12:1ff). The devil is not omnipotent. If we resist him (James 4:7), or fight back against him with God’s weapons (Ephesians 6:11), he will flee.
Our best defense is in knowing how Satan works against us because he can only gain the advantage over us if we are unaware of him (II Corinthians 2:11). Satan is like all predators - he goes after those who are around the one he wants. If he cannot get the elder, the deacon, the preacher, the saint, then he goes after those who are close to them: their friends, family, and loved ones.
He permits success and praise to come to those he would bring low that they might be lifted up in their own confidence. The earlier the better for this, Satan has learned, that inexperience coupled with arrogance might make his prey vulnerable to his testing. Beware when all men speak well of you. Those who live godly in Christ Jesus and prove resistant to the slanderer’s wiles, he defames and spreads malicious lies that he might discourage the righteous and blunt their influence.
If he cannot corrupt you, he will seek to kill you. If he cannot take your life like the murderer he is, then he will rob you of the lives and happiness of the ones you love. If he is prevented from this, he will attack your body with weakness, pain, and disease. He will constantly use the evil in others to destroy your name and influence. He will withstand the good you seek to do, hinder your labor, and reduce your opportunities.
Never mistake the evil providence of Satan for the good providence of God. Your only defense when Satan brings you under attack is to keep your faith in God’s loving power. Never lay aside your shield of faith, or he will kill you without mercy. He who works in us is greater than he who works in the world (I John 4:4).