Discerning the Devil: In Childhood

We’ve already discussed how to discern the voice of the flesh, now it’s time to talk about the voice of the devil. This is a loaded topic, so we may discuss this for several posts to come. Let’s review what we’ve discovered about Satan’s voice so far.

Satan’s voice: Incomplete truths, deceptions, schemes, tricks, lies, temptations, partial Scripture quotes taken out of context to support a view that is opposed to God (see Matthew 4:1-11).

It sounds so simple, but that is part of the great deception of our Enemy. If Satan was holding a play by play book of strategies in his hand, probably one of the first things he’d have written down would be, “Get them to think I am nothing to be concerned with. Get them to focus on every Scripture passage except the one’s that talk about me and my work. As long as they don’t care about me, fight me, or acknowledge me, my task will be much easier.”

And if you happen to be one of the minority, that is, one of the few Christians who actively fight the spiritual war (by active, I mean daily), you’ve probably been labeled by other believers as a fanatic. I wish it were true, I wish I was just an over-zealous spiritual warfare junky-fanatic. But that’s simply not the case. I believe the Bible is truth, and when it talks about the Enemy, that is just as true and important as what it says about developing the fruits of the Spirit or any number of other spiritual growth subjects. I don’t know this is true by experience only (for we can never trust our experiences alone as truth), but I know this to be true because of what the word of God says AND my experiences with that truth.

In my book, Like a Lost Sheep: Life through the Eyes of a Prodigal, I talk extensively about the voice of the devil and how it played a role in my childhood and the way I interpreted events. It’s important to note that Satan doesn’t wait until we are “all grown up” to attack us. His lies often begin to infiltrate our thinking when we’re children, before we’ve probably ever been taught anything about fighting a spiritual war.

“Jesus told the Jewish men of his time, who thought they were children of God simply because they were Abraham’s descendants, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” The Bible is clear about Satan; he is a liar and he is actively fighting against the Church (see 1 Peter 5:8-9, Ephesians 6:10-18, 2 Corinthians 2:10-11). Do you think he has enough manners to wait until we are adults to take aim and fire his weapons at us? Not a chance. From the moment we are born, the greatest Enemy of God has sought to destroy His most prized creation: man. If Satan can’t have our soul, he will at least try to ruin our testimony and affect in Christ’s kingdom. And he doesn’t sit back and wait until we recognize what he is doing, or we are old enough to understand. Satan is merciless, and he wants to destroy us.”

     So, in what ways might we have heard Satan’s voice when we were children? (This is important to think about and uncover, because often the lies we’ve believed as children affect the choices we make as adults.)

Think back to a painful childhood event, what were some of the things you “thought” at the time? I’ll give an example from my life. As an overweight child plagued with severe acne, I was teased quite a bit, not just from peer groups, but from my own family members. Every time I experienced the shame of teasing, I thought, “I am not good enough. I am ugly. No one loves me. I am alone. I am worthless.” Do you see how these thoughts differ a great deal from the voice of the flesh, which is rooted in pride?

Satan is merciless, he doesn’t care how old we are, and he takes every opportunity to hammer his lies into our psyche. Because if we believe, for instance, that we are worthless, we will probably make choices in our lives that reflect that belief.  In order to gain an upper hand in this Great War we fight as believers, the first step we need to take is to discover the lies we believed about ourselves as children and renounce them. It could look something like this.

“Lord, you know the experiences I had as a child and how they made me feel _________ (worthless, unloved, lonely…etc.). Today I choose to believe the truth that in Christ I am __________ (loved, accepted, never alone…etc.).  Thank you, Jesus, for your truth that sets me free. Open my spiritual ears so I might be better able to discern your truth from Satan’s lies. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

     What lies did you believe about yourself as a child? Have you been able to see how Satan was at work in your thoughts, even at a young age? Does this knowledge make you think about your own child may be experiencing and how you can help them combat it? In our home, my daughter (at five years old) has memorized and often quotes verses like the ones below to help her focus on truth and recognize thoughts that are opposed to the truth:

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5

“We take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

memory verse

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Other related posts:

Spiritual Warfare 101: Is it Real?

The Voices in My Head: The Flesh

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profilepic3Rebecca Aarup is an author and freelance writer. She is a health columnist for The Christian Online Magazine, creater of S.E.R.V.A.N.T. Sisters online women’s ministry, and has written devotionals/studies/articles for a variety of publications including The Secret Place (Judson Press) and Mustard Seed Ministries. She just released a new Bible Study The Word: Six Lessons from Psalm 119 which is available as a free download on her website or in print form from Amazon. Beyond writing, Rebecca is a wife, home-schooling mom, and Bible student at Liberty University. She lives in Glendale, Az with her husband Chris and 5 year old, Samantha.  You can read more from Rebecca by subscribing to her blog (it’s free) and following her on twitter and facebook.

 

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12 thoughts on “Discerning the Devil: In Childhood

  1. Well said! Well explained! I have experienced everything you touched on, and Jesus is still healing me and teaching me through the damage the enemy created.

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  9. Hi Rebecca, well done in covering a tough subject. We don’t like talking about the enemy much and it’s important we acknowledge we don’t need to be frightened of the enemy. Jesus has given us the victory and the power to resist the enemy. I think one of the key points we fail to recognise is that sin provides an opening for the enemy to take a grip of certain areas of our life. And if we’re not repenting and renouncing sin in our life then the enemy is likely to keep hanging around.

    I look forward to reading your next post, Rebecca.

    • Great insight, Ian. Right on the mark with your comments. We definitely need to remember not to fear Satan but fight him and his temptations to sin. There is much more to come on this subject and I look forward to more of your comments!

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