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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Who Are YOU?

Who are you?

Are you a parent? Are you spouse? Are you a musician?  Are you a lawyer? Are you a teacher? Are you a business man (or woman)?

Are you in recovery? Do you suffer with a chronic illness? Have you been abused? Are you a victim? Are you a survivor?

Who are you? How would you answer that question?

Most of us have identified ourselves through our circumstances, but there is a better way to live.

6 months ago if you had asked me that question I may have answered, “I am a recovering addict” or “I’ve survived a terrible illness” or even “I am a pianist”. Today, though, I would not answer that way.

Today I am a child of God, I am free, I am washed, I am clean, I am sanctified, I am pure, and I am righteous in His eyes. In other words, I am united with Christ, I am complete in Him, and He is my identity. I am a not a survivor; I am a Jesus follower who was brought through a painful illness. I am not a recovering addict; I am a redeemed sinner delivered from the bondage of chemicals. I am not a musician; I am a friend of God who enjoys worship through the expression of music.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in what we experience and use that as our identity. We put labels on ourselves and spew them out naturally in our conversations. We’ve been tricked into thinking what we do is who we are. We are not what we do, we are not what we’ve done, we are not our hobbies, we are not our passions, we are not our illnesses, we are not our failures; that is not who we are if we have placed our trust in Jesus.

We are disciples of Jesus who are in a process. We are saved by grace and being sanctified daily. We are loved, cherished, bought for, sought after, ravished with blessings, and free from condemnation. That friends, is who we are. We experience any number of difficult things in our lifetime, but we were never meant to use those experiences as our identity.

Am I a mom? Yes. I am a mother and a wife, but that is not my identity. My identity is solely enveloped in the person of Jesus and I am merely a vessel available for his use in various aspects of living. No doubt, he gives me numerous opportunities to rely on Him.

 “I was [those things] but now I am washed, I am sanctified, I am justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of my God.” (1 Cor. 6:11)

Personalizing Scripture is an excellent way to retrain your mind in understanding your identity. Turning “you” into “I” and “me” helps the brain make a connection from God’s word into daily living. Eventually it will be natural to claim your identity for what it really is. You’ll be less tempted to sulk in self-pity as a victim of your circumstances, but will be able to boldly proclaim the truth.

So, once again I ask, who are you?