What Does the Devil Sound Like…continued
(for the first 3 characteristics of Satan’s voice click here)
4. Confusion or disorder. I remember a few years ago talking to my friend, trying to weed through the ministry options I thought God had placed before me. I was getting frustrated with God because in the midst of all my confusion, I felt like He was withholding from me the very direction I needed to make a good decision. Exasperated, I confessed to my friend, “I’m just so confused and frustrated!”
Immediately (and wisely), she responded, “Well, then we know that’s not from God, because God doesn’t bring us confusion. He brings us a sound mind.”
Whoa. I had not even considered that Satan would use “ministry opportunities” to tempt me to be confused. Yet, that is exactly what was happening. The ministry opportunities were not bad in and of themselves, but I felt tremendous pressure to pursue them. All of them. Immediately. I felt confusion about my priorities. I doubted God’s leading and provision. Had I forged ahead in frustration, I would have stepped out of God’s will and purpose for that particular season of my life. Because, it turned out, God didn’t want me to do any of them, yet.
That’s not to say every time we are uncertain, it is Satan. We all go through uncertain times, and we won’t always understand everything God leads us through, so we may sometimes feel confused—even frustrated. But we must remember that God leads us only to firm ground and straight paths. God’s ultimate purpose is never confusion. So if confusion is clouding your judgment, consider that maybe Satan (not God) is behind it.
“For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” (I Corinthians 14:33 NKJV)
What this voice sounds like in me: “What is wrong with me? Why can’t I figure this out? Everyone’s got it together but me. I’m so overwhelmed.”
5. Denial or discounting of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I always thought this one was kind of a no-brainer…like, of COURSE if I’m tempted to deny Christ, it isn’t God… Duh! Sort of like the devil showing up with a red suit and a pitchfork saying “Boo! I’m the Devil. Serve me!” Isn’t that pretty obvious?
He doesn’t normally do that. Instead, he manifests in subtle ways. Notice how in the last few years “spirituality” has become very popular? It’s now completely acceptable to believe in God (whatever you define god to be) and to exercise your freedom to practice your faith (whatever you define faith to be.)
What is NOT popular, however, is to believe in Jesus Christ and to practice faith in Jesus Christ.
Believing in God is popular.
Believing Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the only way to salvation is NOT popular.
Praying to God, popular.
Praying in the name of Jesus, not popular.
In fact, the name of Jesus is downright offensive to the general public. “God” is not offensive. But “Jesus” is offensive. Saying “Jesus” at the wrong place at the wrong time could land you in court or jail. Who do you think is behind this little scheme? Not God.
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.” (I John 4:1-6)
What this voice sounds like in me: This is a tough one to give a personal example, because I honestly don’t think I hear this one much (but trust me…I more than make up for it with all the other characteristics!). If you do hear this voice, you may hear something like this, “Just because your faith is right for you, it doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. Saying Jesus is the only way is spiritual bigotry. Who are you to judge? Faith is a very personal thing. Just be true to yourself and follow your heart. That’s the most important thing, but don’t push your faith on others.”
6. Condemnation, guilt, discouragement and shame. There is a guilt that leads to repentance (a genuine sorrow and turning away from wrong-doing) and then there is a guilt that lingers and oppresses long after you’ve asked for forgiveness. If you have sinned (and we all have!) and you’ve asked God for forgiveness, then God has forgiven you. Period. God may lead you to restore a broken relationship or repair something you damaged in your sin, but He will not condemn, discourage or shame you. If you are hearing a condemning voice, guess who is talking to you?
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” (Romans 8:1)
What this voice sounds like in me: “No matter how hard I try, I will never change. I’ve gone too far and done irreparable damage. No amount of prayer or Bible reading can transform my character. My poor children…I’m ruining them by passing on to them all my character flaws. I’m a failure. “
7. Division and isolation from others, especially from the body of Christ. When I am hurt or offended my first impulse is to isolate myself. I don’t mean taking a little time alone to regroup. I’m talking extreme isolation. There have been times I’ve worked out a mental plan to avoid my friends for the next several weeks, simply because someone hurt my feelings. *Sigh*….surely, that’s not God. Whenever I’m tempted to isolate, I must remember that God’s plan is for me to be in the body of Christ, not live alone. We are created in His image, and He is relational to the core. Any temptation to be otherwise comes straight from the pit of hell.
” The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (I Corinthians 12:12-27)
What this voice sounds like in me: “I’m too high maintenance. I’m too much…too loud, too talkative, to demonstrative, too opinionated, too hot-tempered. No one likes me once they really get to know me, so I shouldn’t bother getting to know people well. Don’t go deep! Just keep conversations on the surface. People don’t “get” me. I don’t need people. I can do it myself.”
How do we handle this voice when we hear it?
Not a long list of Do’s and Don’ts here. In fact, it’s quite simple. James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” To see what the Bible means by “resist,” let’s look at Jesus and how He resisted when the Devil tempted Him.
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: ” ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”
Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’
Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. (Matthew 4:1-11)And once again, it all comes down to knowing the Word of God. Even Jesus Himself quoted the Word of God to resist the Devil. Jesus, who could have out-witted, out-smarted and out-lasted Satan in any battle (verbal or otherwise) chose to use the Word of God as His only weapon. He didn’t argue. He didn’t threaten. He didn’t ignore. He simply resisted the Devil with the sword of the Spirit, and the Devil left.
I find that fascinating.
And so we end with, yet, another reason why it is so very important to immerse ourselves in the Word every single day. It’s not some legalistic ritual for us to earn righteousness. It’s the only spiritual weapon we need to defeat our Enemy when he whispers in our ear. Without it, we are completely ill-equipped for daily battle.
And it is a battle, is it not?
One thing that I started this past summer is a section in my journal where I record the lies I hear continually in my head. I write one lie at the top of a page and leave the rest of the page blank. As I come across scriptures that refute the specific lie, I write them down. This way, I’m always prepared for battle.
What lie is Satan whispering to you, and how do you use the Word to combat him?