Throughout the Bible, names are often more than a word by which someone is called, but they are a job description or the representation of one’s character. And that’s no different for the name of the devil. In Hebrew, Satan is satan, which means “adversary” or “one who opposes.” That’s straightforward enough. But the name devil, in the Greek, uncovers a fascinating truth about how he opposes. It’s diabolos, which means, “slanderer.”
We know that to slander is to make a false statement that’s damaging to a person’s reputation. And there’s perhaps no description more fitting of him. As slanderer, the devil seeks to destroy two reputations: yours and God’s.
Goal No 1: Destroy Your Reputation
First, let’s look at how he tries to destroy yours.
As a Christian, the Bible is clear about who you are. It insists, “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things have passed away. Look, all things have become new” (2 Cor 5:17, MEV). Additionally, it says that you are declared righteous (2 Cor 5:21). Yes, “made new” and “righteous” are two foundational aspects of your new identity in Christ, and those identifiers are what the devil’s after.
To defame your name, Satan resurrects reminders of struggles, regrets and voices from the past to convince you that you’ll always be who you’ve always been. If you were abused, he’ll tell you that you’ll always be a victim. If you had some sort of moral failure, he’ll try convince you that you’re too dirty to be used by God.
Goal No. 2: Destroy God’s Reputation
Next, let’s explore how he seeks to slander God.
The Bible is very clear about God’s character. Over and over it affirms that God is good, faithful, loving and all powerful, to name a few of His attributes. Accordingly, the attacks Satan sends aren’t only aimed to cause you pain, but ultimately, to put God’s character into question. For example, if you suffer with sickness, the devil wants you to believe that God caused it and therefore isn’t good. Or if a disaster afflicts you, he wants to convince you that God sent it as a sign of punishment that He’s mad at you.
In essence, Satan’s cycle of slander goes like this: “You’ve messed up; you’ll never change; God is mad at you; and He’s punishing you for it.” Satan’s goal through it all is to cause you distance and separation from God.
How to Stand Against Satan’s Slander
Of course, slander can only succeed in someone who isn’t convinced of the truth. So the way out of Satan’s assaults is to consistently confront his lies and accusations with God’s Word about who you are and who God is. Here’s a helpful declaration that I use: “I’m a new person, declared righteous in Christ. I give thanks to God because I know that He is good and His love for me lasts forever!”
Be assured that over time you’ll thwart Satan’s strategy when he hears that you know who you are and who God is to you.