I was led to write this lesson after I published the previous one, Make Room for a Blessing. I heard from numerous readers who were
blessed by the message. In fact, more readers wrote to me about this lesson than any other. However, it was a lesson that I came very
close to pitching in the trash rather than publishing! Although the Lord spoke to me about the message several months ago and writing
it truly ministered to me, when it came time to hit the “send” button Satan whispered in my ear and told me not to publish it because it
was pointless and that readers would think I was crazy for publishing it. Fearing embarrassment and rejection I listened to the voice of
Satan for a few weeks, during which I was riddled with anxiety. Finally it dawned on me that I needed to obey God who had told me to
write the lesson and to ignore Satan! After getting such a large response to the lesson I felt led to encourage others who, like me, are
from time to time tempted to obey Satan’s voice rather than God’s.
As Christians we must constantly remind ourselves that Satan’s job is to rob us of an abundant life and that he is constantly looking for
opportunities to do so. Jesus said, “The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have
it abundantly" (John 10:10). Satan performs his job when he tempts us to disobey God’s instructions. According to James, Satan
tempts us in the areas where we are weak (1:14). The Bible illustrates that weaknesses in several areas can cause Christians to ignore
God and listen to Satan.
Fear is one area of weakness. It often manifests itself in our attempt to avoid physical or emotional discomfort. For example, Christians
may pass up an opportunity to be a witness for Christ to avoid the risk of rejection or embarrassment. Or we may refuse to exercise
our spiritual gift because of a fear of failure.
Greed is another area of weakness. It causes individuals to covet wealth and/or material possessions. Christians with this weakness
may refuse to tithe or to give to the needy in order to spend more on themselves. Or they may spend so much time trying to acquire
money or things that they have no time left to serve God.
Pride is also a weakness of many Christians. It causes individuals to covet power, authority or control. It can cause Christians to seek
control of situations instead of following the direction of the Holy Spirit. It is also reflected in a refusal to submit to another’s
leadership or authority.
As James warns, Satan is well aware of our weakness and uses it to tempt us into disobeying God. Unfortunately, when we do so we
rob ourselves, and often others, of God’s blessings. Consider what resulted when Adam and Eve obeyed Satan and ate the fruit that
God had instructed them not to eat, as recorded in Genesis 3:1-5. Satan appealed to their physical appetite, greed, and pride. The Bible
says Eve ate the fruit when she saw it was good for food, was good to look at, and would make her wise (3:6). Adam was a victim of
the same weaknesses and ate as well. As a result he and Eve lost their home in the Garden of Eden, relief from hardship, and their
fellowship with God. Further, their disobedience robbed mankind of the relationship with God and the eternal life that He desired for His
Now contrast Eve’s response to Satan’s voice with how Jesus responded to him, as recorded in Matthew. First, Satan encouraged
Jesus to eat. However, Jesus refused because knew it was God’s will for Him to fast. (4:3-4). Then Satan told Jesus to bring attention
to Himself by leaping off the top of the temple (4:5-7). Again Jesus refused because he recognized this ploy would elicit the wrong
kind of attention. It was God’s will for Him to gain attention because of His righteous life and message rather than a spectacle. Finally,
Satan offered Jesus immediate possession of “the kingdoms of the world” in exchange for His adoration (4:8-11). However, Jesus
knew that to do so would result in lost redemption for mankind, which was not in line with His Father's will, and He came to do the will
of His father (John 5:30). Because Jesus obeyed God’s voice rather than Satan’s, eternal life again became possible for all mankind.
How can we, like Jesus, not fall prey to Satan’s voice? The first step is to acknowledge our weaknesses. Dr. Phil often says, “You
can’t address what you don’t acknowledge.” Similarly, Bishop Dale Bronner said, “You can’t conquer what you won’t confront.” The
psalmist no doubt understood this because he begged, “Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my
thoughts! And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way” (Psalm 139:23-24 Amplified).
The second is to apply the scriptures to the situation, which is exactly what Jesus did (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10)! If what you are hearing
goes against God’s word do not follow it.
Finally, pray for discernment and wisdom as suggested in James 1:5. Jesus told the disciples that sheep know the voice of the shepherd
and will not follow a stranger because they do not know his voice (John 10:4-5). In other words, Christians should not be fooled or
tricked by Satan. Below are some ways to distinguish God’s voice from Satan’s voice.
In a letter to the “called believers in Christ,” the writer of Hebrews repeated the warning three times, “Today if you hear His voice do
not harden your heart” (3:6; 3:15; 4:7).
Will you follow God's voice today?
||Your name: (optional)
|Your email address:
I would love to hear from you about this lesson. Please feel free to send me your comments, questions, or suggestion
for a future lesson.