What’s the Devil Got to Do With It? (#595)
Some people don't think Brad and Wayne talk about they devil enough as a real adversary that has impact on the circumstances of our lives. Responding to a listener's question they share from their own experiences about the reality of the enemy in the world, how they deal with him, and why an unhealthy focus on what the enemy is doing can distract us from our life in Jesus. While aware of his reality, they are not fearful of his activity because he was disarmed on the cross by the work of Christ. They talk about dealing with exorcism, fruitless efforts to cast out the flesh, and how to resist the major way he works with us — by inviting us to live in the domain of his lies rather than the truth of who God is and what he is doing in people around us.
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I’ve heard it said that the devil is a perfect gentleman…he doesn’t go where he isn’t wanted. But is it that simple? Resist the devil, and he will flee. Is it a one-time occurence, or an ongoing thing?
I believe there is a devil, Satan, and like Wayne, I’ve never met him face-to-face, but there is a reason he is called the ‘father of lies’ and he tries to use three of them against Jesus in their encounter in the Garden of Gethsemane. It is the same lies Satan uses against us: to put temporal needs above Godly ones, to put God to the test, and to worship Satan above God.
Jesus won His battle against Satan, and as a result, my thought is that my battle should not be so much against Satan, but with God. I can lose my battles with God and still come out victorious, unlike with Satan, who wishes to destroy me. So, for example, when God commands me to love someone who is seemingly unlovable, instead of resisting and going my own way, I simply give in. When someone tries to provoke me to fight or argue, I turn the other cheek. These are simple, yet difficult things for me.
The world tells us to love our own kind and fight for our power and dignity. Jesus died a criminal’s death on a Cross. Where is the love and dignity in that? It is in the actions of a Father who saw a very different man than most of the world saw, who saw Him as a part of Himself and thus gave him a position at His right hand.
How exactly do people get deceived by the devil? How does his deceptive ways get transmitted to my mind?
In November of 1992 I was “born-again.” Before this moment, I would ask many questions of the person who lead me in a “sinner’s prayer.” (Just writing that phrase – sinner’s prayer – strikes a yuck-chord in my heart now a days). Some of the things I asked were sort of absurd when I think about it now. However, back then these questions were very real to me. For example, I asked, ‘If a christian died and donated their liver to a non-believer, would that liver go to heaven?’ Thankfully, the person I asked did not mock me, because she knew I was sincere.
Well, after 2 years of my world being rocked and wrecked, I find myself back there in 1992 again, asking many questions, and hoping to find that what I believed since 1992 is really more than a fairy tale and folk lore. So, here is another question.
There seems to be an agreement that Satan is not omniscient, omnipotent, nor omnipresent; and the bible says Satan is the father of lies who seeks to kill steal and destroy. Also, he likely has never heard of me; and I doubt God will bring to Satan’s attention how righteous and obedient I am like he did of Job.
My question is, how exactly and literally does Satan deceive me? I doubt he has spoken to me in an audible voice. I doubt I have ever seen him. I doubt that he sends thoughts to my brain through ESP. So, how does he confuse and deceive me? Is it by telepathy? Is it by mind control? I really am serious when I ask, ‘how literally does Satan get me to believe his deceptions?’ If I spoke to a human trying to manipulate and deceive me, I might be able to catch and guard myself against a person audibly attempting to deceive. However, I do not recall hearing an audible voice from Satan like Adam and Eve did. I do not know how exactly and literally Satan implants his deceptions into my brain. Does anybody have any thoughts on this?
My experience Jim, is that Satan deceives me through other people who are under varying degrees of Satanic influence. People within my own family, for example, that believed they were too broken to follow God, or at least to experience His promises and blessings. So-called ‘friends’ that betrayed me by being duplicitous. People of power in the world with antichrist agendas. I too, generally don’t hear an audible voice. But my interactions with people are key.
Hi Ron. So Satan uses others to get to you? But how does Satan get to the others? Not trying to be difficult, but I am wondering how the first point of influence is transmitted from Satan to person. With the story of Adam and Eve, it seems simple to understand the mode Satan used to deceive – spoken audible words. But since I doubt to many of us have drawn Satan’s attention where we would have a conversation with him, then how does he influence and deceive us?
Wayne touched on your question more broadly and completely than I could, but the point seems to be that we don’t necessarily have to have a direct conversation with Satan to be influenced and deceived by him. I know that is not the answer you want, but merely by being a descendant of Adam, we have been encountered by Satan, so to speak. I guess I never struggled in trying to understand Satan’s methods as you have. They seem to be prevalent enough for me in myself, in the world, and in other people that I never questioned their origin.
Ron, I think I am asking these questions because I am looking for something that is real and makes some kind of sense. So instead of just focusing on and draining so much energy fighting and guarding against the ‘wiles of the devil’ based on WHAT satan does, I am wanting to know HOW he does it so I can have some sense that I am pursuing something real in this god journey.
Perhaps its kind of like Santa clause. I know WHAT he does (bringing presents to all good boys and girls…). However, when I look out HOW he accomplishes this in one night all over the earth, the myth of Santa falls apart and I no longer see what he does as something worth putting my faith or belief in.
Maybe I am pursuing the wrong path; I guess that will be revealed to me as well.
Hi Jim. Hear are my thoughts. I’ve always believed that the thoughts in my head can be mine, God’s, or the enemy’s. I don’t know if that’s ESP, or just my own deceptions given voice to the enemy’s ideas, and I’ve haven’t really given it a lot of thought as to th physic’s of it. Satan deceives the whole world by exploiting our sensual appetites, distorting our thinking so that we’re confused about what’s true, and what’s right. I hear his thoughts often expressed in people’s distorted “theologies”, thinking they are right when I know what they believe is derived from darkness not the light. But explaining that to people is never easy. People will die defending their pet theologies. But I think his thoughts come at is in a lot of ways, from the culture, from false teachers, from thoughts in our head, from song lyrics that sound good but aren’t true, from feelings that lead us astray and from a thousand other sources. I find myself less aware of how they get there and more focused on God showing me today what is true about him and true about me. It is a pursuit that will last a lifetime, I’m sure. That’s why I always say the the truth will set you free, but it will first mess with you. If we already liked the truth we would already believe it. We believe lies because they offer us some illusion of comfort or control. So the truth challenges us to risk the uncomfortable before we find the freedom in truth. It’s a journey. I hope the helps a bit.
“…thinking they are right when I know what they believe is derived from darkness not the light. But explaining that to people is never easy. People will die defending their pet theologies.” So true! I have lived in this place of ‘thinking (I was) right’ and it is awful for others and myself. Now a days it seems like there is not much I am sure of. I went from knowing and defending what I knew, to almost total uncertainty. What an insecure and unstable place indeed!
Thanks for sharing, Wayne.
My ten cents worth refers to both the podcast and the comments I’ve read so far. We might give Satan more credit than he is due. I know I can do a bang-up job of deceiving myself, and finding others that share in my self-deception. If he has handed me a baton, then surely I have run with it.
To me, the original deception in the garden boils down to this: 1) You cannot trust God. 2) You cannot trust what God says. Somehow Adam & Eve got to a place where they believed one or both of these lies enough that they ate from the tree. We don’t know exactly how or why they ate, but there’s mention of curious things like, “they saw that the fruit looked good to eat.” Their reaction of shame and hiding was as if they reverted into an infant-like state. We do know that they entered the domain of the knowledge of good and evil; a domain from which the only means of rescue or escape was by God himself.
Seems to me the same two lies have been the primary mode of deception, utilized with great effect ever since. I think we are confronted by both of these lies when we are very young and most vulnerable. If something can get me to believe that I cannot trust my ‘god-figure’ (usually a parent), then my own mind can imagine and interpolate and twist that into a shame and hiding reaction. [My perception from #593 where being honest brought me punishment, so I resort to lies to try to avoid punishment.]
Humans have an unbelievable ability to take an inkling of a lie and magnify it to fabricate a system or a lifestyle or a worldview. Self-deception can take over from the tiniest deviations from the truth. I’ve created some real doozers that have really twisted me up. But that should not surprise us, because the knowledge of good and evil is his domain, not God’s. The cornerstone of it and its mode of operation are ALL deception. That domain leads us to think we can tell the difference between truth and lies, but sadly we really can’t. Our only hope to see the difference is for some kind of reference from outside of that domain that exposes it for what it really is.
When God finally pokes through, you realize that most of your life has been lived under a cloud of deception. Getting to know Truth, the person, starts to clear the cloud and expose the deception. God shows himself as trustworthy. He plants a new seed of trust in your heart and tends it like the Master Gardener he truly is. We were created to live in a relationship of trust with Father every day. (modelled by Jesus himself) The events of Eden robbed us of that LIFE, which Jesus, through the cross and resurrection, won back for us, completely.
So today, it’s kind of like I’m in transition from one domain to another. Leaving the ‘knowledge of good and evil’ domain, and entering the ‘tree of life’ domain. [also known as the ‘true knowledge of God’] I’m getting to know Truth, the person, so light shines into darkness and dispels it. My struggle [wrestling] now is not ‘good vs. bad’ or ‘truth vs. lies’ but is LETTING GO of the old domain. Naturally, I resist letting go of it because I have trusted in it and entrusted myself to it my whole life, all based on the original lie. [You cannot trust God] But I am discovering that I CAN trust God, which gives me someOne real and personal and eternal to hang on to. But letting go is a process, and I’m discovering many things I didn’t know I was hanging on to, [things that ‘look good to eat’] so this may take a while.
Hi Brad and Wayne….thanks for the “shout out”! This is the April currently living in South Korea, whose father Richard (who I know is a friend of yours, Wayne) surreptitiously sent you an e-mail. I was surprised, to say the least, to hear myself being described and suddenly identified on your podcast this morning!
To clear up an apparent misunderstanding of my father’s on my listening habits, however: I haven’t technically started from the beginning of your podcasts, nor do I think (or intend) I will get through them all. As you can see, I listen regularly to your latest podcasts as well. But I AM going through many of the archives according to topic–mainly the ones regarding issues I’m personally struggling with or have questions about. Your lively banter and insight into various issues are my frequent companions while I’m getting ready for work each morning. As my father said, I don’t have much fellowship where I am right now, so listening to you guys has been a real blessing and source of encouragement.
Keep up the good work! I intend to remain a faithful listener…
Hi April! Thanks for writing and clearing up those misunderstandings, it speaks well of your sanity! 🙂 Sometimes dads mishear stuff. I do all the time with my kids. Yes I love your dad and have had some great times with him back in Richmond. I’m glad our voices are an encouragement alongside your journey. Whenever I hear about Korea in the news these days (which is often with the growing rhetoric from there), I get to pray for someone I know there alongside all the others I don’t. Your’e in our hearts, however, and I always appreciate those who’ve followed God’s leading to the “ends of the earth” to help serve others in his name. Blessings to you April. I hope we get to meet some day.
I have never believed in a literal devil, and since leaving the institution, I have never had any prompt to start believing he exists, except in metaphor!
My thinking is quite basic, the gist of what the devil wants is to make us mistrust Father. That he loves us unconditionally, and that his advice is always for our good!
I have many times had a ‘battle’ going on, between trusting Father, and dealing with my brokenness.
I don’t think we need any outside voice helping us to distrust Fathers goodness. I’ve never had any big implosion or world shaking thing happen, from thinking that the devil is simply my brokenness at work!
Living in Fathers love displaces all this anyway, and the whole conversation becomes a bit irrelevant
That some how seems to resonate more, David. If Satan is allegorical, then I can understand the metaphors and symbolism of the battles we face wrapped up in a person. I have always thought that Satan was and is a literal being, so seeing him metaphorically would cause a shift in paradigm for me. Thanks for sharing.
I totally get why everyone believes the devil is a literal being, especially since 2000 years of church history has made good use of using him to scare the masses into blind obedience….
If you look at the text though, it could be read either way, and there is definitely not enough evidence for the full fledged ‘doctrine’ of a supernatural devil.
That being said, like Craig said earlier, and Wayne, once we learn to let go and trust father, the devils power diminishes according..( I think that’s the correct English..)
If the original lie was, “you can’t trust Father” then to learn to trust will displace the lie….
Thank you, Wayne and Brad, for addressing the topic I asked you about back in early July. The insights and thoughts expressed in your discussion on the podcast are appreciated and are, again, helpful food for thought. I think that what I’ve encountered in my current church community regarding this topic is another example of what you describe as people taking either their interpretation of Scripture or their experiences and systematizing it. It then gets expressed and promoted as a governing principle or “truth” that all followers of Christ should adopt in their own walk with God. I think that, in many cases, this how books such as the Strongman’s book on Spiritual Warfare or some seminars on spiritual warfare come into existence. I do have a follow up question for you. The key scripture I brought up in my email to you, that is often referenced in my church community regarding our need to engage in spiritual warfare is Ephesians 6:11-12 – “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places…” Paul, then goes on to describe the armor of God, which in my recent contemplation of this scripture seems to be describing something different than the activities termed “spiritual warfare” that are expressed in these systematic approaches to dealing with the schemes of the devil. I’d love to hear your (both Wayne and Brad) take on what you believe Paul is addressing in this scripture… is it this dynamic of confronting the devil with spiritual warfare as these systems define it… or do you think it is something else? Thoughts from others engaged in discussing this topic are welcomed, as well
Yeah, sorry, Mike we didn’t get back to that in the podcast. I don’t know if we’ll deal with it again or not. My view is that these extended metaphors are just that, not to be taken literally. I’ve been in “worship” services where people mimic putting on the helmet, taking the shield, while the chant various mantras to God and I find that incredibly weird and unhelpful. Those thinks are more like incantations than fight. Here Paul is describing different aspects of our relationship with God internally that help thwart the devil’s agenda and lies. He’s talking about being marinated in God’s reality with things like the truth, peace, righteousness, trust and wisdom in how we live and respond to God, not an imaginary set of armor we put on. These aren’t actions we do, but a life we live. So that the reality of Ephesians 6 grows out of our relationship with him where were girded with his life and then the enemy’s lies and devices have little power.
Thanks, Wayne. Your comments closely follow my thoughts that have come out of asking God for a fresh perspective on this scripture. Thanks again, for taking the time to share your perspective.
I looked up the word armor in the Greek and it means ‘equipment’. It has strong symbolism because armor is made of several parts. So when we put on the ‘full armor’ of God, we are putting on multiple aspects of His character.
The Invisible God! The invisible realm. Who can know it? Who can see it?
The Old Testament and New Testament reveal many things to us of the spiritual realm. We know God is invisible, and lives in an invisible realm. 1Tim:1:1 says “Now unto the king eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God”. Col.1:16 says “For by Him all things were created : things in heaven and on earth: visible and invisible whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities”.
There are certain things we are told and many things we are not told but can we know more than just hearing and reading about them in such an object way. I believe we can. John 17:3 This is Eternal Life to know thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. Col 1: 15 Christ the image of the invisible God. The Spirit reveals Christ to us and forms Christ in us. However, we cannot know the spiritual realm by trying to understand it by our natural man. I Cor 2:14 the natural man understands not spiritual matters as they are spiritual discerned, they require the Spirit of God to reveal them.
There is a vast difference between the spiritual realm and the physical realm; there are very different laws that come into play. Man is bound by the laws and limitations of the creation he lives in. From my understanding of the scriptures the spiritual realm is not bound by the same laws or limitations as we are.
God of course is all-knowing, all-powerful and not limited to space or time. I believe only he has this ability. However we also know that that there are angels of varying order, elders and living creatures – Col.1:16 For by Him all things were created : things in heaven and on earth: visible and invisible whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities. From Gen:18 we know angels are able to take human form and Paul mentions entertaining angels without knowing it in Heb 13:2. They have a form adapted to the spiritual realm but can take on human form in the earthly realm when the occasion demands. They are living spiritual beings with a heavenly body.
Satan was an Archangel, a position given to him by God. His beauty and his desire to sit on God’s throne and to make himself equal with God is covered in Isaiah 14:12-14 and Ezekiel 28:12-17. Satan, as I understand it, means adversary, an enemy of God as well as man. His ability to come before God and accuse man is recorded in a number of scriptures. In Job 1:6-7 he is roaming through the earth. Going back and forth in a very short time did not seem to be a problem to him.
I am sure that he knows exactly where we are, and what we are thinking and all our weakest points. He is after all called “the accuser of the brethren” besides we know that the whole world lies in the evil one. But we also have the assurance that the Son of God has come and given us understanding, that we may know Him who is true.(1 John 5:19-20)
In Job 1:6-12 the Lord asks Satan if he had considered His servant Job. Satan’s reply was that God had put a protection around Job and if God would remove the protection, Job would curse God. I am so thankful that the Lord has put a hedge around my life. Although at times it has seemed very rocky indeed, but the Lord Jesus said in this world we would have tribulation but be of good cheer – John 16:33. Luke 22:31 says that Satan had desired to sift Peter as wheat. One commentary says that Satan had demanded Peter for trial. Lord I pray, keep us from the evil one. John 17: 15.
Satan is called the prince of the power of the air (Eph2:2). Satan also showed the Lord Jesus all the kingdoms of the world (Matt.4:8) and said that he would give them to him, if he would worship him. There are principalities and powers which we do not and cannot fully understand Eph.6: 12. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Wayne and Craig have covered a number of points as to how Satan can influence us.” It is important for us to remember however that greater is He that is within you than He that is in the world.”
Pauls description in Ephesians 6. of the Armour of God seems to me to be a metaphor as Paul was in prison at the time and guarded by Roman soldiers and used their dress as an example to explain a spiritual reality to deal with the enemy.
I have just tried to add a few thoughts to the other comments. I am so thankful to the Lord for His love and care for me through the years. Perfect love casts out fear. The more deeply I have come to know him and love him and to know the depth of His love for me the more peacefully I travel this journey.
The Lord Bless you all.