The devil’s first strike against God was to deceive man, God’s wonderful creation made in His image. The devil has been a liar from the day he lied to Eve, the first woman, until this moment. Scripture teaches “he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). Who is the devil God created the devil, also known as Satan or the ancient serpent as an angel to serve Him in heaven. Scripture also calls him Lucifer, son of the morning. Instead of glorifying God, he rebelled and said in his heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned...I will ascend...I will make myself like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:12-15). Because of his pride and rebellion against God, the devil was cast from heaven. When he fell, he took many angels with him who now exist as his demons, doing his work. They are enemies of God and all His creation. Why does God allow the devil to roam free on earth? God is sovereign, all-knowing, and all powerful. We can’t grasp why He allows the devil to continue lying and deceiving. We can only trust that God is good and will work everything to His glory. We learn from the Old Testament book of Job that God puts limits on how far the devil can go. Otherwise, he would have destroyed all mankind by now. Recognize the subtle ways the devil lies. Scripture describes the devil as a schemer, wily, and tempter among other names. He also sometimes appears as an angel of light. One of his favorite devices is deception. Let’s look at 5 subtle ways the devil lies so we can be prepared to thwart his attacks: 1. The devil lies by subtly twisting truth. Being crafty, the devil often approaches us with truth intertwined with a lie. He uses just enough truth to make us doubt. When God created Adam and Eve, He gave them freedom to eat from any tree in the garden except from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil stating if they did, they would die (Genesis 2:16-17). The devil appeared to Eve in the form of a serpent and engaged her in conversation. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’” (Genesis 3:1). When she told him why they couldn’t eat from the tree in the middle of the garden, the devil replied, “You will not certainly die...for God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5). The devil subtly wove lies into the truth. It was true they would not die physically but they did die spiritually and though their eyes were opened to good and evil, they did not become like God. Because of the devil’s deceit and Adam and Eve’s sin, all mankind was separated from God. 2. The devil lies by planting seeds of doubt. The devil wants us to doubt God’s word. He said to Eve, “Did God really say...” (Genesis 3:1). When the Lord Jesus Christ was led into the wilderness to be tempted, two times the devil said to Him, “If you are the Son of God...” (Matthew 4:3, 6). The devil plants thoughts like: “How could God love someone like you? “Does God hear your prayers? “If you’re truly a Christian...” He gets our focus on ourselves and our inadequacies, distracting us from the truth that no one can meet God’s standard of perfection. That’s why Jesus came to die for us. He lived a sinless life and willingly died to pay for our sin. 3. The devil lies by subtly suggesting no one will know of our sin or it won’t hurt anyone. The devil often snags us with whispered words, “Come on, no one will know.” He argues that as long as the thought, attitude, or action doesn’t hurt anyone else then it’s not a big deal. I wonder if that’s how he tempted Ananias and Sapphira. Their story is told in the New Testament book of Acts. They sold some property and gave the money to the church claiming to be giving it all yet holding back some for themselves. Peter, one of Jesus’s disciples, said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to human beings but to God” (Acts 5:2-4). Scripture doesn’t reveal how Satan tempted Ananias but perhaps he lured him with the idea he could get the praise and recognition for giving all the money yet have the benefit of keeping some for himself. Who would know? Yet God knew and revealed it to Peter. God always sees and He’s the one we’re to serve and honor. We’re His beloved children and when we injure ourselves through wrongdoing, we hurt Him. 4. The devil lies by appealing to our pride. Pride was Lucifer’s downfall. He was cast from heaven because he wanted to exalt himself above God. Self-adulation is putting ourselves before God. Submitting to Him is an act of humility. The devil comes with subtle lies like these: “Look how much better you are than them.” “How dare they treat you this way.” “Look what you did!” The tempter will use anything he can to lure us to focus on ourselves instead of God. He knows arrogance will be our undoing. This isn’t the kind of pride one experiences for a job well done. This is the conceit which causes us to exalt ourselves and blinds us to our faults. The great Christian writer and apologist, C. S. Lewis, wrote, “For pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense” (C.S. Lewis). 5. The devil lies with false promises. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, Scripture records, “The devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you bow down and worship me’” (Matthew 4:8-9). The devil offers temporary pleasures here on earth and claims they will fulfill our deepest longings. He suggests we can find the fulfillment we long for without seeking and obeying God. He promises riches, fame, freedom to indulge our every desire, or power but he doesn’t tell us that path leaves us empty, alone, and dead inside. The devil’s purpose is always to steal, kill, and destroy. Bible commentator, David Guzik, writes, “Essentially, this vision invited Jesus to take a shortcut around the cross. Jesus came to win all the kingdoms and their glory back from Satan’s domain, and Satan offers them to Jesus, if He will only fall down and worship him.” The devil suggested Jesus could avoid the cross and still achieve His goal. A promise impossible for the devil to make happen. Jesus responded, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written; ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’ Then the devil left Him” (Matthew 4:10). We also can rebuke the devil in the name of Jesus while standing on truth. How are we to respond to the lies of the devil? I believe the first action we must take is to yield to God. Scripture teaches “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). If we attempt to fight the devil in our own strength, we may have some momentary victory but ultimately, we will fail. For the Bible teaches “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” (James 4:6). It’s essential we submit in humility to our Father, then resist the devil. A person caught up in pride can’t fend off Satan because they’re standing with him. Ephesians 6:10-18 is perhaps the most well-known Bible passage concerning how to stand firm against the devil and his demons. The Apostle Paul instructs us to put on the “full armor of God.” The first protection of this spiritual armor listed is the “belt of truth.” Our main weapon against the lies of the devil is the truth. We find truth when we study and meditate on Scripture. In order to identify lies we need to be intimately acquainted with God and His word. When we understand who God is and who we are in Christ, we can recognize when the devil is attacking us with lies. First published at iBelieve.com
Tag Archives: Resist the devil
As C.S. Lewis said, we’re at war and living in enemy occupied territory. We. Are. At. War. Why should I be surprised it feels like a battle. The enemy is working as fast as he can to steal the souls of our children and young people. I often forget I’m in the middle of a battle. Satan never forgets. His forces never stop lying, deceiving, and killing. But God also never forgets and never stops loving, reaching, and revealing truth.
Too often while Christians are busy fighting each other or flying political banners, the enemy is working non-stop to steal our children.
Please help us stand firm, Lord (Ephesians 6:11). Help us put on the full armor. Father, help me to submit to You and resist the devil. Help me stay as close to You as I can (James 4:7-10) and enable me to fight a good fight.
Soon after waking this morning, some thoughts came to mind similar to this:
“Who do you think you are? Writing about following Jesus. You’re not good enough.”
“You won’t be able to write a devotion today. You have nothing else to say.”
“You can’t do that. You’ll fail” — In response to a new writing opportunity that came up yesterday.
Thoughts bombard our minds constantly. Too often we accept every thought as if it is true just because it came to mind. God teaches us to fight and resist thoughts that are against Him and His truth. Our enemy, the devil, knows how effective thoughts are and he uses that to discourage us.
James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
I’m learning to resist those defeating thoughts! To ignore them. To refuse to believe them. In a sense to defy them: “I’m going to write anyway!”
In the past, I’ve let those lies stop me. Now, I’m not saying I can do it on my own. It begins, as the verse says, with submitting to God. Instead of listening to the lies, I say,
“God, I yield to You. Use me for Your glory. Use all I do and say. Show me if I’m off track. Help me to follow You.”
I submit to Him and His truth.
I resist the lies.
I step out to obey and leave the results to Him.