“That there is a devil is a thing doubted by none but such as are under the influence of the Devil.”
~Cotton Mather (Feb 12, 1663 – Feb 13, 1728), a New England Puritan clergyman
If a key to spiritual victory is to tell the devil to stop lying to the soul, and then to tell oneself to stop believing the lies of the Enemy, how does one recognize Satanic deception?
First, the lies of Satan are always contrary to the Word of God. The lies may be subtle at first, as when Satan simply invited Eve to question God’s goodness and grace, but as the dialogue continues the lie will grow bolder until it is plain the known will and Word of God is being violated. There is an audaciousness to sin.
Second, the lies of the Devil violate the conscience. The soul that is born of God is sensitive to sin. A question arises when the heart is doing or saying something that is contrary to holiness.
Third, the lies of Satan are reinforced by the world. When the thoughts of the Christian must find validation from the world then there is usually something wrong.
Fourth, the lies of Satan come in different phases or what is sometimes called “half-truths”. The intent is to mislead and misdirected from true truth, and in that way the lies of Satan can be detected. It is possible to play man a game of spiritual mental gymnastics in order to justify the unjustifiable.
Fifth, the lies of Satan can be identified for when the truth is plainly presented in a gospel message the heart is convicted of wrongdoing. One of the signs of righteousness and being filled with the Spirit is that the heart is not condemned.
Why Does the Heart Embrace the Lies of the Enemy?
The lies of Satan are believed because faith is weak. Faith is weak by natural spiritual dynamics for the believe is exhorted to grow in grace and in knowledge. “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18).
The lies of Satan are believed because of fear. Christians are like little children, and are afraid of many things until there is a level of spiritual maturity to enjoy.
The lies of Satan are believed because they are persuasive. A good lie will have an element of truth associated with it. The closer to the truth a lie is the more effective it can be. If a believer does not think through a thought, then a lie has a good chance of being embraced.
The lies of Satan are believed because they appeal to the flesh. The flesh enjoys the will to power and the principle of pleasure. The Christian is to mortify the flesh. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience” (Col. 3:5-6).
The lies of Satan are believed because many Christians have yet to learn, the Devil is a defeated enemy. He has no real teeth to do harm to the believer, apart from the believer doing harm to himself by embracing the lies of the Devil. No one has any more authority over another person than what that individual is willing to give them. Spiritually, this principle is true as well. Satan only can harm the Christian who does not see him to be just a roaring lion, with real power.
Writing in Moody Monthly, Carl Armerding recounted his experience of watching a wildcat in a zoo. “As I stood there,” he said, “an attendant entered the cage through a door on the opposite side. He had nothing in his hands but a broom. Carefully closing the door, he proceeded to sweep the floor of the cage.” He observed that the worker had no weapon to ward off an attack by the beast. In fact, when he got to the corner of the cage where the wildcat was lying, he poked the animal with the broom. The wildcat hissed at him and then lay down in another corner of the enclosure. Armerding remarked to the attendant, “You certainly are a brave man.” “No, I ain’t brave,” he replied as he continued to sweep. “Well, then that cat must be tame.” “No,” came the reply, “he ain’t tame.” “If you aren’t brave and the wildcat isn’t tame, then I can’t understand why he doesn’t attack you.” Armerding said the man chuckled, then replied with an air of confidence, “Mister, he’s old–and he ain’t got no teeth.” ~Carl Armerding, Moody Monthly
The power of the Cross is greater than the power of Satan.
“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).