DEVIL CANNOT AND DOES NOT KNOW OUR INNERMOST THOUGHTS
The Bible does teach us that Satan is powerful. Likely he was the highest of all the fallen angels (Isaiah 14:12-15; Luke 10:18; Revelation 9:1), and his tail drew the third part of the stars (also referred as fallen angels) of heaven and did cast them to the earth (Revelation 12:4). Even after Satan’s fall, not even Michael the archangel dared to confront him without the Lord’s help (Jude 1:9). According to the Revelation12:7-9, 13, there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels; and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth. Satan is the “the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient” (Ephesians 2:2b). And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore, it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works (2 Corinthians 11:14-15) However, Satan’s power has its limits, and reading our minds seems to be beyond his ability.
The devil cannot and does not know our innermost thoughts. He simply cannot read our minds, otherwise, he would not have wasted his energy trying to tempt Job (Job 1:6 – 12), or even Jesus when he was a flesh and blood human (Matthew 4:1 – 11). The devil has not been given the power to read our minds. The devil certainly does have the power to deceive those who do not follow God. He does know, however, as a constant observer of humanity since Adam and Eve, what generally motivates us. He knows how humans think in general because he thinks the same way! The devil knows the weaknesses of human beings and therefore knows how to tempt us. “Get away from me, Satan! You are an obstacle in my way, because these thoughts of yours don’t come from God, but from human nature” (Matthew 16:23). The devil seems to know our thoughts because human nature, apart from God’s spirit, can easily think and reason like he does!
Without God’s permission, Satan is not able to do anything. He cannot create or search the human heart. Therefore, the conflict between God and Satan is not really a struggle between two opposing powers with the outcome still in doubt. All power and authority belong to God and Him alone. However, we should never underestimate Satan. He cannot read our minds, but he can influence our thoughts. He is a sly and skilful adversary with many years’ experience in dealing with humanity. Though he is a powerful foe, he can be overcome. The Bible instructs us to “put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians. 6:11). Let’s examine some facts about him.
2.0 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. He depends upon God for his existence. However, he does not work alone. He has his minions, his demon forces that do his dirty work (Ephesians 6:10–12).
3.0 SATAN CAN DO NOTHING IN THE LIFE OF THE CHRISTIAN WITHOUT GOD’S PERMISSION
While God may allow demonic attacks in our lives, we 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” (Job 1:8). Satan, in response, pointed out the hedge of protection God had placed around Job’s household and everything he owned. John 10:28-29 says, and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
We see by above passages 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.
4.0 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 us to believe that we are not worthy to approach God. But we are not approaching Him on the basis of our worthiness. We are approaching God on the basis of what Jesus did for us at the cross. Remember that, because the devil doesn’t want us to know it. He wants to accuse us before God and keep us 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. 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.
5.0 SATAN CANNOT READ OUR MINDS OR KNOW OUR THOUGHTS
First Kings 8:39 says that God alone knows every human heart. There is no one else who has that ability. God knows what we will say before we can say it, while the thought is still formulating (Psalm 139:4). Jesus, being God incarnate, exhibited the divine quality of knowing men’s thoughts: “He knew what was in each person” (John 2:25; Matthew 9:4; John 6:64). It would take omniscience for Satan and his demons to read our minds, which they do not have. God is the only One who can know our thoughts.
6.0 SATAN CANNOT HARM ANYONE WITHOUT GOD’S PERMISSION
When Satan wants to destroy a saint, he must get permission before he touches him. So he comes to God and says, “Job only worships you because he’s rich. If I take his camels, donkeys, servants, he’ll curse you” (Job 1:9–11). And God gives him permission, but he puts a limit. “Don’t you touch his body” (Job 1:12). So he kills them all. Job falls on his face: “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away” (Job 1:21). Satan has to get permission to go after his body, and he gets it. But God says, “Don’t you kill him” (Job 2:6). Isn’t that remarkable? So Satan does harm to us, but not without God’s say.