Whether we like it or not, every Christian must come to terms with the fact that there is a real enemy. Known by many names, including Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebub, and the devil, he makes it clear from his first encounter with mankind in Genesis 3 that he has nothing but malicious intent for God’s creation. So much so that Jesus says this regarding his character, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)
In other words, there is no truth, no good, no love, and no hope that can come from the devil. When we allow the words of the enemy to have power in our lives, we come into agreement with things that directly oppose God’s Word. His desire is to “kill, steal, and destroy” anything that brings God glory, including bringing destruction to mankind themselves.
Here are six things Satan wants more than anything else:
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1. To Make You Doubt God's Word
Satan shows his greatest trick during the first encounter with mankind in Genesis 3.
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God actually say, "You[a] shall not eat of any tree in the garden”?’ The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Yes! Satan has been convincing people to doubt God’s Word since the beginning of time. To this day, the enemy has convinced people to doubt the inerrancy of the Bible and even the promises that are listed in His Word. Many have become skeptics and spend more time trying to prove God wrong than accepting God’s love for them. By doubting even one word of what God has spoken, we start to second guess all other things that have been said and that will be said. Just like faith can move mountains, one seed of doubt can spread like an infection across entire families, causing many to stumble, just like we see in the Garden of Eden. Above all else, we must remember that God does not lie.
“God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19)
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2. To Paralyze You with Fear
Fear is another tactic of the enemy. As one who used to struggle with extreme fear and panic attacks at the slightest scare, I can attest that fear kept my eyes on things that were immediate and not on God. If our lives have become riddled with fear, we will find that we are consumed with the “what ifs.” Life becomes focused on what we can and cannot control versus putting complete faith in God. Fear will keep us from taking a step of faith into a new career, praying for a friend who may reject us, and even being able to rest. God does not give us fear. Instead, His Word brings peace, wisdom, love, and a sound mind.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” (1 John 14:18)
3. To Silence You from Sharing the Gospel
A Christian who hoards the gospel to themselves is an ineffective Christian. One of our primary roles as a follower of Christ is to make more followers of Christ. In fact, Matthew 28:19, would deem it to be our greatest mission. Yet, one trick of the enemy is to silence Christians. We see this in modern social media as many Christians feel nervous to share God’s Word for fear of being virtually attacked or not wanting to be associated with the “church.”
Although we cannot give the enemy 100% credit for this (truthfully, those who share the gospel in a way that is malicious, and hateful have played a role), we can see how many Christians prefer to worship quietly to not cause anyone to be offended. Yet, followers of Christ should take every moment they can to spread the gospel. When we shrink back from doing so, the enemy wins! If we aren’t being an influencer for Christ, the enemy will certainly find opportunities to influence those around us. Let us no longer be ashamed to share the gospel, by any means necessary.
“For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.” (Romans 1:16)
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4. To Cause You to Live in Shame
Reminding you of your past indiscretions or current insecurities is another scheme of the enemy. In fact, if the enemy can convince you that your past has disqualified you from receiving God’s love or grace, you will never come to accept the Word of God fully. In this manner, you will remain defeated and frustrated, only accepting some of God’s Word. Shame keeps our eyes focused on ourselves, reminding us over and over of what we did wrong or how we don’t measure up.
Truthfully, the enemy has no issue reminding you of these things and making you feel like you aren’t worthy to worship God, do things that He has called you to do, or to receive His promises. Even more so, this shame will keep you from praying to God and even sharing the gospel with others. If the enemy can keep you in self-pity, you will never walk in God’s peace. Remember, we are not a sum of our past behaviors. Instead, when we make a choice to turn away from sinful desires and walk towards God’s love, He will show us how to live a life that is rewarding and where we can be free from condemnation.
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1)
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5. For You to Worship an Idol
An idol can be anything that we place before the Lord. In the Old Testament, this was clear to see as they worshipped literal objects. Although most Christians don’t have a golden calf or statue of Jesus that they praise, there are still many idols that have taken their place in our hearts.
From worshipping our favorite celebrity, to spending hours on social media, to living a life that is extremely focused on self, we can make anything an idol. This trick of the enemy is much cleverer as it may not be realized right away. In fact, we can spend years worshipping things that seem good on the outside but suddenly become an obsession to where “it” becomes our primary focus in life. Thus, what started as a positive thing such as going to the gym daily, going on vacations, making money, or finding a spouse, can become our primary source of hope and happiness.
Before long, we can start to look to those things more than we look to God. This can be dangerous, as when these things fade, we are left with a sense of hopelessness. Although God wants us to have good things, we can never worship them more than the one who gives them to us. We must be willing to lay down whatever the Lord leads us to, if it is standing in the way of a life that is submitted to the Lord.
"You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments." (Exodus 20:3-6)
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6. For You to Be Deceived
It has never been more important for Christians to stand on the Word of God. In today’s culture, we see so many accommodating the Word to fit their lifestyle instead of accommodating their lifestyle to match the Word. This form of trickery is Satan’s attempt to make Christians pick and choose which aspects of the Bible make them feel good.
Instead of seeking a life that follows the Spirit, we look to our own flesh and concept of morality to find truth. In many ways, we become like Eve wanting to only accept portions of God’s Word but preferring our will over His. The truth is, if the enemy can keep Christians lukewarm and hypocritical in their faith, he can cause many to not want to follow the Lord.
We must remember that Satan will do anything to cause confusion, including using Christians with so many different beliefs that it appears to be dozens of different religions mixed into one. We must know that anything we believe that contradicts the Word of God is simply another ploy of the enemy. Let us not give the enemy any more power over our minds and action and walk fully in God’s Word.
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
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Originally published Thursday, 06 May 2021.