One of my all-time favorite books as a kid was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. I read it at least 20 times. Tom was extremely clever and always tricking others to his advantage. When his aunt demanded he whitewash a fence, Tom made a show of how much fun he was having to convince other boys to not only do the work for him, but to actually pay him (in apples, marbles, and more) for the privilege of helping. We pass off the story as something that only children would fall for, but in fact, many of us fall for similar deceptions every day. We may be unintentionally helping the devil!
How could we possibly be helping the devil?
Satan is commonly referred to as the “father of lies” or “father of deception”. And one of his best tricks is to plant false thoughts in our heads.
He doesn’t come on strong at first. After all, if he engaged in an all-out assault, we could more easily recognize his lies. So instead, he plants little thoughts here and there, about our appearance, our worth, our future, anything he thinks we’ll believe:
You are ugly.
You are stupid.
You’re a failure.
No one likes you.
God is probably tired of you and your problems. Everyone else is.
You’re all alone.
No one understands how you feel.
You’ll never survive this low.
Because he peppers them lightly here and there, we never give them much thought at first. In fact, we usually assume they’re our own thoughts.
But if we don’t reject those thoughts as lies, they stay with us. And as time goes on, the lies build up, just like the tiniest snowflakes accumulate into five foot snowdrifts.
And the more of something there is, the more we believe it. If we see 2000 5-star ratings on Amazon, we feel confident that it’s an amazing product. When we hear the same thought 2000 times, we just accept it as truth.
And once we accept his lies about ourselves and our future, we start to stack them like bricks around ourselves. And the higher we stack them, the harder and harder we make our own escape. Satan only has to strategically plant the thoughts. We help to complete his work by accepting them and stacking them up into our own personal prisons.
Have you ever felt like you’re utterly alone? Surrounded by brick walls and unable to reach God or others? You might just be imprisoned by thousands of small deceptions, planted by the deceiver himself.
How can we escape and avoid helping the devil in the future?
So how can we escape from our prison? How can we avoid helping the devil to build our prison in the first place? We have to approach it one cleverly placed lie at a time:
- First, recognize planted thoughts as Satan’s lies. Romans 8:1 (NIV) reminds us, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Because God doesn’t condemn us, any voice that does is not His. Are those little seeds of thought labeling you as ugly, stupid, or worthless? Are they beating you up? Speaking negatively about you and your future? Telling you that there’s no hope? That you’re all alone? Then label it as it is – Satan planting lies in your head.
- Second, reject those voices/lies. James 4:7-8 (MSG) instructs us, “So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time.”
- Third, replace Satan’s lies with God’s truths. If you only rebuke the devil’s lies, but don’t replace them with anything, you may quickly fall back into them. 2 Timothy 2:26 tells us that when people embrace God’s truths, it enables them to “escape the Devil’s trap, where they are caught and held captive, forced to run his errands.” This is why it’s so important to read God’s Word daily, so that His truths are hidden in your heart. Then when Satan whispers that you’ll always fall back into your old ways, you can speak Romans 6:6, “Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end….no longer at sin’s every beck and call!” And when he tells you to worry, and keeps you up at night with racing thoughts, you can speak Philippians 4:6-7, “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray….Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.”
- And finally, surround yourself with God’s truths. In order to have God’s Word in your heart and ready to use against Satan’s lies, you have to read it. Yes, you’re right, it takes a lot of reading to be able to recall verses from memory. That’s why it’s important to establish a daily Bible devotional. You can read the Bible by itself, or you can find a devotional that provides a Scripture, then follows up with a few paragraphs to help you apply it to your own life. Another way to plant God’s truths in your heart is to print verses out and place them where you’ll see them often – your bathroom mirror, refrigerator, desk, etc. You can write down your own favorite verses or click HERE to download and print some of God’s truths concerning you.
Wrap It Up
Satan is constantly planting “thoughts” (read: lies) in our minds, hoping we’ll accept them and then use them to help build our own prison. We must recognize Satan’s lies, reject them, replace them with God’s truths, and then surround ourselves with God’s truths to resist helping the devil to sabotage us.
You were created in God’s image, and are full of unique gifts. You’re a child of the one true King, who will never leave you. Your story isn’t over, and will end in victory.
Accept the truth. Embrace it. Memorize it. Your faith and your life depend on it.
P.S. Missed the link for the printable verses? Here ya go!
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