The devil is a real spiritual being, not a myth or figment of the imagination. Created by God as an angel, he rebelled against God and fell from heaven, bringing many other angels with him.

Though we should not become preoccupied with the devil, we should also not be ignorant of him. The Bible gives repeated exhortations to actively resist him. 1 Peter 5:8-9 says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”

The devil is not omnipresent; that is, unlike God he cannot be everywhere at once. He is also not all-knowing or all-powerful. Though he has real power, he is a finite being.

Along with Satan, there are multitudes of demons and fallen angels that make up the kingdom of darkness.

Referring to Satan, Jesus said that “the thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10). The only reason the devil will come to you is to bring harm and destruction. He is an utterly evil being, with no hope of redemption or mercy.

Let’s look at five of his characteristics.

1. The Devil is a Deceiver

If Satan’s primary motivation is destruction, his primary method is deception. Though he comes to destroy, he appears as an angel of light (see 2 Corinthians 11:14). He has been deceiving people since the Garden of Eden, when he convinced Adam and Eve to eat from the wrong tree.

Jesus said this of the devil: “Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44 NASB). It is his very nature to lie, but his lies often carry the appearance of truth; they are packaged in a way that many people believe them.

2. The Devil is a Tempter

One of the names given to the devil in the Bible is “the tempter” (see Matthew 4:3 and 1 Thessalonians 3:5). Satan works in conjunction with the world system and the sinful nature of man to constantly bring temptation into people’s lives. He wants to bring people into rebellion against God and agreement with himself. Even Jesus was tempted by the devil. Right before He began His public ministry the devil was there to bring various temptations before Him.

Temptation is inevitable in this world so don’t be taken off guard when it happens. Like Jesus, we should be prepared to stand against temptation with the Word of God.

3. The Devil is a Thief

In John 10:10, Jesus referred to the devil as “the thief.” Satan loves to steal from people the things that God has intended for them. He steals joy, hope, life, love, health, and destiny.

He robs the church of its inheritance and keeps people from entering into the promises of God. Many believers are not walking in the blessings of God, not realizing that the thief has robbed them.

4. The Devil is a Murderer

Jesus also referred to the devil as a murderer, saying in John 8:44 that “he was a murderer from the beginning.” There is a destructive, hateful, and murderous nature about the devil. He delights in death. Whether it is through murder, suicide, drug overdose, abortion, sickness, or otherwise, Satan is a destroyer.

He certainly seeks to kill people, but also families, churches, dreams, and the list could go on.

5. The Devil is a Distorter

The devil is not a creator; instead he takes what God has created and perverts it. A prime example of this is the area of sexuality. God created sex to be enjoyed by a husband and wife in the context of the marriage covenant. Satan has taken this gift of God and perverted it through promiscuity, adultery, homosexuality, pornography, and other distortions.

Another example of the devil’s distortion is his counterfeiting of the power of God. You can be sure that Satan has a counterfeit for every genuine gift of the Holy Spirit. For example, the counterfeit of the gift of prophecy is occult divination; psychics, fortune-tellers astrologers, and false prophets are operating in a demonic spirit that mimics the true gift of prophecy.

Though this is not an exhaustive list, it gives you an idea of the primary characteristics of our enemy. Now, follow the admonition of James: “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

Questions: Which of the 5 characteristics stands out to you the most? What other characteristics of the devil can you think of?


15 Responses to “5 Characteristics of the Devil”

  1. Thanks for a very good reminder of what we’re facing in our day-to-day living. Blessings.

    • Appreciate the feedback Emily!

      • Hi,

        I just got finished reading this. Good job! I think it’s very important that people are aware of the enemy and his tactics. If you don’t know how he operates how will you be able to recognize what he’s doing or when he’s doing it? Especially if you are not spending any time in the Word, then you won’t know God’s character either and can easily get them confused. Thanks, more teaching like this is very much needed in this hour.

        • Glad you enjoyed the article, thanks for the comment! We do need to be aware of the enemy’s schemes like the Bible warns.

          • Robinie says:

            Thank you for your article! It is so important to know the enemies characteristics as we are not fighting flesh and blood.
            The devil targets children, especially in puberty and as it seems especially kids of Christian upbringing. Families need to be surrounded by our prayers as many go through unbearable turmoil!

  2. Jean Wilson says:

    Thank you for the work you do. For allowing God to use you for the benefit of the rest of us.

  3. Evans Mwansa says:

    That is powerful ,but we need more articles.

  4. I understand about devil clearly. Here after I don’t obey to Satan, don’t fear about him. I’m always abide with God.

  5. Maureen Pirone says:

    While it is true that the devil tempts us; we can only be tempted by what we have not died to or crucified in our own flesh.


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