As Jesus’ followers we must learn over time to recognize the voice of our shepherd and distinguish it from the voice of the evil one, Satan. God allows Satan to tempt and lie to us.
Satan wants to separate us from God. God wants us to study and know God through His word so as to easily recognize when Satan is at work and choose instead to honor God and reject Satan’s lies.
Satan was allowed to tempt Eve in the Garden of Eden. She choose to trust Satan instead of God, with grave consequences. Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness. Jesus knew and trusted the word of God and thus recognized the lies and deceit… the trap Satan was trying to lure him into.
Satan continues today to try to trick and deceive people in an effort to separate them from God. Sadly, he is very successful because people are not prepared as Jesus was with a strong foundation of understanding God’s word as truth.
There are key differences, or tells, that can help us distinguish between God’s voice and that of Satan.
- God speaks clearly and directly about the truth of what is good and what is wrong. There is not much “gray” area. Satan lies and rationalizes why wrong behavior is really acceptable.
- God’s will never contradicts what He has already revealed to us in His holy scriptures. Satan’s lies contradict or twist scripture out of context. They are easier to spot for those who have taken the time to study and know God’s word.
- God calls us to admit we are sinful, repent wholeheartedly and change our behavior in pursuit of a holy standard. Satan tells us the Bible is wrong or inaccurate or no longer applies. He tells us that we are like many others or better than most, we are good enough, we don’t need to change our behavior.
- God’s path is typically harder, takes longer… it requires discipline and conviction. People will mock you and try to stop you. Satan’s path is easy and comfortable. People do not mock you. You blend in with the world.
- God warns us that there are negative consequences to our sin. Satan tries to convince us there are no negative consequences.
- God leads us to have a humble spirit, knowing who we are in Christ and giving glory to Him. Satan fills us with pride, focusing our thoughts on how good we are by ourselves.
- God cares not only about “what we do” but also cares about “how we do it” and “why”. Satan says “the ends justify the means”. Satan suggests you can act in a way that is against God’s word so long as you have a good cause.
- God provided a way through Jesus Christ to atone for our sins and reconcile with God. Satan tells us we do not need God…that we are good enough on our own.
As followers of Christ we must acknowledge that Satan is real and is working to trap us and lead us into sin and away from God. Then we must study God’s word and focus on developing a relationship with Him through consistent prayer. We must listen carefully and test what we hear to ensure it lines up with God’s will and character. Only by doing this can we live the life that God wants for us.