Since this intimate relationship with God has been the design from the beginning, it is only fitting that Satan would attempt to prevent man from receiving love from the only true source of love. Satan will stand for almost anything else, before he will lie down and let man sit with the one and only true God. He will tolerate good works, giving, worship, fellowship, education, reading, etc, but the thing he directs the bulk of his effort and attention to is keeping men and women from believing that we are loved.
NT Wright in his Lent for Everyone daily devotional reflects further on this idea: “The real enemy is the power of darkness, the insidious, sub-personal force of death, deceit and destruction that goes in scripture by the name of ‘the Satan’, which means ‘the accuser’.” In reflecting on Matthew 12 NT Wright continues with this comment from the perspective of Jesus talking, “If it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you’ (verse 28). God’s sovereign power is at work — through Jesus; and he has won the right to put it into practice because he has first ‘tied up the strong man’ (verse 29), which presumably refers back to his initial victory over the dark enemy in his own solitary wilderness temptations (4.1—11). As is so often the case, the initial struggle that an individual has with temptation will, if successful, clear the way for fruitful work in the days and years to come. In fact, one might suggest that precisely the reason for the fierce temptation early on in someone’s life, or ministry, is because the enemy knows precisely how important that later work will be, and how vital it is — from that hostile viewpoint! — to sabotage it as quickly and thoroughly as possible.”
Whether or not we believe Jesus’ opening statement in John 10 about the thief really shapes how we approach today. Is Satan a declawed lion or is he truly a thief who is attempting to kill our spirit, steal our joy and destroy our lives and relationships?