As Christians we know that evil exists, and for many of us Satan epitomizes evil. We may think that apart from Satan, man would not have known evil. Certainly Satan has the ability to appeal to our fallen natures. However, I believe that many Christians give Satan too much credit.
I often hear people blaming Satan for the bad things that happen in their life. If they lose their job, lose somebody they care about, trip and fall down the stairs, some people are quick to blame it on Satan. They praise God for the good in their lives, and blame Satan for all the bad.
We must realize some things about Satan in order to put his power into perspective. Unlike God, Satan is not omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. Instead his power is limited and he cannot do anything to people without God’s permission. He can only be in one place at one time, though he may use other means to tempt people. He certainly does not know everything about the past, present, and future.
In Job, Satan had to ask permission in order to put Job through all of those trials. God limited Satan’s actions, and there was nothing the devil could do about it. He is under God’s rule, not his own.
Another thing we must realize is that Satan probably doesn’t care enough about us to personally show up and tempt us as he did Job. He is plenty happy with the depravity we already live in. In fact, he is probably quite content when we are having good times. As Jesus said, it is nearly impossible for a rich man to get to heaven. This does not apply only to those who have a lot of money, but those who are rich in their own contentment; those who rely on worldly happiness instead of the joy we find in Christ.
When we are going through hard times, we are often forced to rely fully on God, when we would normally not do so without our trials. When we are clinging so tightly to God, it is very difficult for Satan to come in and take us away.
People also assume that God would never allow us to hurt or have problems in life, that Satan is the only one who could do that. We overlook the possibility that God uses those hard times to grow us in holiness and bring us closer to Him.
And finally, in the end, Satan loses. God will crush him rather quickly, and it will be over. The only reason Satan is around right now is because God allows him to be. Satan is not somehow evading God and hiding on earth. We must remember that Satan is a created being, not a god. He is not somehow the evil version of God, but a fallen angel.
Through our life, both good and bad, we must remember that God is the one in control, not Satan. We must rely on God fully through good and bad, and trust that He will carry us through safely until we reach eternity. Why would we want to give credence to the lie Satan wants us to believe? We know how the story ends, and God wins.