The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!”
Satan speaks to us through other people, and sometimes he even speaks to us directly. So how can we know for sure whether it is God or Satan speaking to us? Let me give you three filters to use when you are evaluating the messages you receive.
First of all, are these words true? Remember in John 8:44 Jesus said that Satan “is a liar and the father of lies.” When somebody comes to you with a railing accusation that has no basis in fact, you can know that Satan is the source of those accusations. The Bible says he is “the accuser of our brethren” (Revelation 12:10). Lies always come from Satan.
Second, do these words motivate me to faith or to fear? Sometimes Satan places paralyzing thoughts into our life to keep us from moving toward God. These words seize our minds and paralyze us with fear. Where does that come from? In 2 Timothy 1:7 Paul wrote, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” No, when somebody speaks words to you or you have thoughts that cause you to question the goodness of God, the love of God, or the power of God over your circumstances, that is Satan communicating his thoughts to you.
Third, do these words contradict the teaching of Scripture? In Genesis 3, God had told Adam and Eve that they would die if they ate from the tree in the middle of the garden. But the serpent said to Eve, “You surely will not die!” (v. 4). Amazingly, Eve chose to believe the serpent rather than God. She was saying, “I believe this serpent knows better than God what is best for my life.”
Other people may speak words to you that sound appealing, but they contradict God’s Word. Maybe your employer comes to you and says, “Why not fudge the truth here a little bit?” Or maybe your mate says, “You need to put your allegiance to me above your allegiance to God.” Or maybe your pastor says, “You really cannot believe that this Bible is the truly inspired Word of God.” Whenever you fall for words that contradict the teaching of Scripture, what you are really saying is, “This person knows better than God what is best for my life.” You see, any time we sin, any time we knowingly disobey God, what we are really saying is, “God, I know what is best for my life. I know better than You do.” Somebody has said, “All sin is basically contempt for God.” That is why it is important that we carefully evaluate every thought that comes into our minds and every word that is spoken to us.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Winning The Mind Games” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.