Another fortress that is built by Satan in the lives of men is the root of greed. Like pride, greed gives strength to numerous other strongholds, which attach to this root. Greed does not love his neighbor. Greed loves the things of this world. Greed hoards and lives his whole life for himself as he builds a fleshly kingdom. Greed acts as though he is going to live forever. He is deceitful and manipulates his neighbor to fulfill his selfish ambition. Then anyone loves greed, he is loving the nature of Satan rather than the giving and loving nature of God. In the next illustration, picture a man who loves the selfish ways of greed and tries to follow the Lord Jesus Christ at the sametime.Can God control the life of a man whose heart loves greed? Can anyone who loves greed truly love his neighbor? Picture a salesman in the world system whose heart loves greed. He will exaggerate, withhold information, apply pressure, manipulate, and intimidate his neighbor to make a sale to fulfill his lust and greed. He exploits and uses his neighbor because he loves greed and selfishness more than he loves his neighbor. This is why the judgment of God is on the world today. The god of this world, Satan, has trained the world to love greed and to make it to the top, regardless of who suffers. This is called success by the standards of this world.
When anyone does not turn from greed, he will use the things of God to build opportunities for himself and fulfill his lust and greed. Lust of the flesh is when one’s heart is drawn to love something else more than he loves God. This is idolatry. John warns us: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever” (1 John 2:15-17).The Psalmist described the ones who love pride and greed: “The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined. For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous whom the Lord abhorreth. The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. His ways are always grievous; thy judgments are far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them. He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved: for I shall never be in adversity. His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity. He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten: He hideth His face; He will never seeit” (Ps. 10:1-7, 11).When a worldly church still walks after the flesh and loves pride, greed and selfish ambition, there is no difference between them and the world. The Psalmist also said, “Help, Lord; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men. They speak vanity everyone to his neighbor: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak. The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: who have said, with our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us? The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted” (Ps. 12:1-4, 8).Every man in the world walks in the image and likeness of Satan. He does not love nor honor God; neither does he love his neighbor. Each one in the world lives for himself. The strong deceive, manipulate and lord it over the weak. Everyone greedily gathers and hoards for himself, while all-around him his neighbor hurts and suffers in need. “The whole world lieth in wickedness” (1 John 5:19). ..Their hearts agree with Satan.
The Powers of Darkness (satan and his angels) Control Men through Thoughts
Satan is the god of this world (1 Cor. 4:4). Since the way of Satan and the way of the flesh is the same, the powers of darkness are continually directing the hearts of the people in the world toward selfishness. Because both the people of the world and the worldly people in the church love this selfish nature, Satan uses them as puppets, keeping their minds and hearts occupied with selfish ambition and the things of this present world. Satan leads the whole world to practice sin and rebellion toward God. The people of the world welcome thoughts and suggestions from the powers of darkness, such as anger, unforgiveness, hate, envy, lust, jealousy, greed, pride, and revenge. Everyone walks and talks like his master, Satan. You will know them by their fruits. However, the Spirit of God leads Christians to take all these selfish thoughts captive that exalt themselves against the Word of God in order to walk in loving obedience to Christ. This is how we resist Satan and the flesh. Satan and the powers of darkness have the whole world seeking success, power, control, beauty, greed, selfish ambition, name, and reputation. Everyone deceives his neighbor in order to seek these selfish interests for himself. He seldom considers the needs of others, nor his Creator, because of his selfish motives. Therefore, the whole world is under judgment and the wrath of God. The sentence of death rests upon each person in the world. With every act of rebellion toward God and his neighbor, the powers of darkness are able to build stronghold upon stronghold, fortress upon fortress, until he is destroyed. This judgment comes upon him because he loves the nature of Satan and hates his neighbor, rather than loving the nature of God so he can also love his neighbor.
He walks in spiritual ignorance and spiritual darkness because he does not seek with his whole heart the One who created him. God permits the heart of every man to be tested. From morning until night, the powers of darkness tempt his heart against his neighbor, or entice his heart with things of the world. Satan will remain his master as long as he does not come to receive wisdom and knowledge from God so he can walk in love. Without the wisdom of God, he will remain in ignorance and be destroyed in spiritual darkness. Each person in the world spends his entire life living for himself and comparing himself with others: “they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (2 Cor.10:12). “The people which sat in great darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:16, 17).