Never underestimate how much Satan hates you. He loathes you with an icy hatred that exceeds any ire you have faced on this earth. His hatred is ultimately directed toward God.
When Satan recognized Jesus as God’s Son, his hate and fear compounded. On one occasion the demons cried out, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” (Mark 1:24). On another occasion the demons cried out to Jesus, “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” (Matt. 8:29).
Satan is God’s creation—never forget that. He was not created evil; he became evil. We have an enemy whose hatred of God is also directed at us. When Satan was cast down, taking with him all those who entered into his conspiracy, he devoted himself to blinding men and women. He blinds them by exploiting their hate, their jealousy and their desire for self-vindication and vengeance.
All he ever does is attempt to defeat God. He is deceived, telling himself he will somehow win in the end. Although he knows his doom is sure, he still tries his best to take all he can with him to hell.
The next time the devil, called the accuser in Revelation 12:10, reminds you of your past, remind him of his future: “And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur ... [He] will be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Rev. 20:10).
Satan may win some battles, but God has won the war.
What the devil does, then, is tempt us. He masquerades as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14). He comes like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Pet. 5:8). He does his best work through our unforgiveness. If he can get you to hold a grudge, he can play with you like a toy. Refusing to let others off the hook is your way (even if you don't mean to) of beckoning to the devil, “Come and get me.” One important advantage of totally forgiving others is that Satan “might not outwit us” (2 Cor. 2:11), so that “Satan will not outsmart us” (NLT). Therefore if he finds the seed of resentment in you, it makes easy work for him.
Unforgiveness means resentment, and resentment is at the heart of jealousy. Satan can see jealousy in us quicker than you can bat an eyelash. The moment he sees jealousy in us, he is merely waiting for the moment to exploit us, pounce on us and engineer us to do his wish.
Don’t let Satan have that pleasure with you. Don’t give him that satisfaction. My loving counsel to you: Learn to recognize jealousy in yourself as soon as possible, and then fear it. Fear jealousy as you would fear being trapped by a violent fire. Run from it. When you see it in yourself, do all you can to resist it.
R.T. Kendall has been the pastor of Westminster Chapel in London for the last 25 years. He now lives in Key Largo, Fla. He is a well-known speaker and the author of Jealousy: The Sin No One Talks About, from which this article was excerpted.