One of the most important aspects of fighting spiritual warfare is the ability to recognize Satan’s voice when we hear it. And by voice I am not referring to an audible sound that resonates through our ear canal and bounces off our ear drum. I’m referring to a thought strategically placed in our minds. The same place where our own thoughts originate, like, “I want pizza for lunch,” or “I’m tired, I think I’ll take a nap.” (Click here for a more in-depth discussion on the Voice of the Flesh)
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).
“He was a murderer from the beginning and has always hated the truth. There is no truth in him. When he lies he is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44, NLT)
Did you catch that important phrase? When he lies he is consistent with his character. In other words, it is impossible for Satan to tell a complete truth. Maybe he can spew some half-truths, but as we know, a half-truth isn’t really the truth. It is a lie or a deception. Just as God can only act according to His character (holy, loving, just…etc.), Satan can only act according to his character (lie, deceive, accuse…etc.).
“The thief’s purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy.” (John 10:10, NLT)
Any thought Satan (or his demons) place in your head has this purpose, to destroy you, steal from you, or kill you (physically or spiritually). While Satan cannot snatch us from our Father’s loving hand (see Romans 8:38-39), he can render us spiritually dead, or ineffective for the cause of Christ. Nothing pleases our enemy more than seeing us stumble around in a fog of confusion over our purpose and place as children of God.
“The world around us is under the power and control of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19, NLT)
We know from passages like Job 1 that Satan is limited in power to only what God has allowed him to have. So we need not have an exceptional, hysterical fear over what Satan and his minions can do. However, we should take note of and respect the power that he does have over world forces. Why else would Satan be able to offer Jesus the kingdoms of the world (see Matthew 4:8-9) if they did not belong to him? He controls the world (as God allows)—albeit temporarily. Nevertheless, until Jesus returns and sets up His kingdom on earth, binding Satan for a thousand years, we will continue to see the work of the devil not only in our own lives (as he tempts us, speaks to us, accuses and oppresses us) but also in the world systems controlled by unbelievers.
“Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (Revelation 12:9, KJV)
One of Satan’s chief purposes is to deceive. Of course, one of the subtleties of deception is the deceived usually don’t recognize that they’re being deceived—hence the term, deception! If we think it will be easy to detect demonic influence, we are wrong. It won’t always be easy, and once Satan sees in our behavior that we are on to his schemes, he will try new ways to trick us. This is one of the reasons why putting on the armor of God daily is imperative to our spiritual health.
Life is not a joke to Satan. He knows what the Bible says, in fact, having been around for thousands of years we can be certain he knows the Bible better than we do. He knows what it says about his future, and he knows what it says about us, as God’s creation. We have authority over Satan, and he knows it. Rest assured, he’s not looking at us and laughing it up. A book I read recently says this: “Satan has you in his cross-hairs, and he’s not smiling.” He wants to destroy us in any way possible.
So, the first step in recognizing Satan’s voice is in understanding what his character is. When you hear “thoughts” you can test them against what we’ve already discussed (God’s Voice, the Flesh, or Satan) and see which voice the thought seems to line up with. For example, one thing I often hear, almost daily, is a thought that goes something like this, “God can control everything, and yet He is allowing this to happen. He’s not listening to your prayers anymore. He gets pleasure in seeing you suffer.” Sometimes it is easy to entertain such thoughts because there is partial truth to them. (God does indeed control everything and certainly could stop whatever is happening even though He has chosen not to.) However, it’s not enough to ignore these thoughts—we must rebuke them and reinforce the truth in place of that lie. If we fail to take this step, we are only leaving ourselves open to new attacks of a similar nature. (More will be discussed on this in the next post.)
I’m sure you can think of similar thoughts too. What sort of deceptions has the enemy consistently hounded you with over the years, either through your own thoughts or the words of others?
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Rebecca Aarup has written devotionals/studies/articles for a variety of publications including The Secret Place (Judson press), Evangel (Light and Life Communications), 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.