The Deceiver is an appropriate name for Satan. He’s good at spinning lies – big whoppers, little while lies, whatever. He offers them to us so cleverly wrapped up in bits of truth, like those bacon-wrapped little smokies coated in brown sugar they serve for special occasions at work.
But we are not unaware of his schemes.
Satan knows the power of God. He’s seen the book of Revelation and knows what God’s plan is. Honestly, he witnessed the unfolding of the story throughout the entire Bible. So why persist in his diabolical ways? Because if Satan can take even one more person away from eternity with God, he thinks it’s all worth it. His nature is to rebel against God, and he’s all about taking you down with him.
Let’s take a look at Jesus’ words in John 8 to remind us of what the Bible says about Satan:
“He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).
The Word of God reminds us time after time about the schemes of Satan. We as humans have selective memory loss. We may brush right over a painful memory with high gloss paint, trying to hide and forget the scars. We’ll convince ourselves that we’re tough and it wasn’t THAT bad. Satan likes to use that to his advantage. He stands next to the refreshments table offering you another toothpick to spear “just one more” bacon-wrapped little smokie. Never you mind the 9 you already consumed made your tummy hurt a few minutes ago; you deserve another one.
Satan lures our focus off of God and over to ourselves. We’re narcissistic creatures, so it may not take much. The one who takes their eyes off of Jesus only for a moment is about to experience trouble, just like Peter taking his eyes off of Jesus after he stepped out onto the waves.
The best way to defeat the Deceiver’s lies is by refuting them with Scripture, like Jesus did in Matthew 4 when He faced temptation. Of course, you have to know the Bible in order to whip out The Word at a moment’s notice. If the Word of God is a double-edged sword, then it’s a formidable weapon. It’s dangerous if we don’t know how to use it; think of an adolescent young man waving around his new “toy” and just about slicing off his friend’s nose and gauging out his own eye. It’s fantastic to be armed and have cool weaponry, but, just as they teach in self-defense classes: don’t carry the knife if you don’t know how to control it. It’ll get used against you.
“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path” (Matthew 13:18-19). Jesus explained that without a rooted understanding of the Word, Satan will come to take advantage. Have you ever noticed that after a spiritual breakthrough, you often feel more attacked? To be honest, I think we should just come to expect it. That’s Satan swooping in to steal what is not his.
But despite all of the attacks, God cannot be stopped. “His truth is marching on,” we sing about this time of year. God is going to bring His kingdom here regardless, and He is going to use weak, puny, susceptible humans. “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:18-19).
I’m still not sure why God continues to use people after we’ve failed Him so many times. We like to give into temptation; it’s easy and fun! But God isn’t deterred; He’s willing to forgive and restore and keep moving. And wherever Satan is counterattacking, that means that God is planning and moving forward with big things. You’d better take notice.
I recently took note of a popular song when it came blaring through the wall my Sunday School classroom shares with the Children’s Church. This happens every week, as the kids praise LOUDLY to upbeat music. But this particular week, they were alive, practically shouting the chorus. My middle school girls, of course, ignored whatever I was saying and joined right in: “GOD IS ON THE MOVE, ON THE MOVE, HALLELUJAH!” There’s some power in this song. I read the verses this evening and was struck by how exciting it is to join in God’s moving to bring His kingdom. Now whenever I hear it, I too feel obliged to belt out the chorus like the kids. I hope you make this song your anthem this week as you fight off attacks in your life.