From the Pulpit: Beware of the Deceiver, Satan

May 5, 2019

Your enemy Satan (the devil) goes by many names but he’s always evil; a liar, deceiver, accuser, false prophet and more. His one strategy is to “kill and steal and destroy.”

He’s the master of deception. He deceived Eve in the garden of Eden. He tried to deceive Jesus. And he’ll try to deceive you. But today you can begin to learn how to recognize the deceiver’s tactics in your daily life.

In the Garden of Eden, Satan deceived Eve. “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it (the fruit) your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5)

He lied by directly countering God’s instructions not to eat from the tree and also about the consequences of disobedience. This tactic has worked so well that Satan has become the known as the God of this world. “… the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers …” (2 Corinthians 4:4)

Satan can deceive people by his direct influence.

Many whom Satan deceives become his agents spreading his lies around the world. “The field is the world … and the weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil.” (Matthew 13:38-39)

Jesus said to the religious leaders of his day: “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.” (John 8:44)

Satan may try to deceive you through the influence of people — family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, those in authority, etc. “… Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14)

People who are deceived are not aware of their condition.

Consider “socially acceptable modern recreational activities” such as: drug use, drunkenness, promiscuity and a host of others. Satan loves to point out the “benefits” of such behavior but hides the nasty consequences (just like he did with Eve). Many have destroyed their lives and the lives of other by being swallowed up in these deceptions. Satan wants you to think there’s nothing wrong with destructive behavior.

Even when you have already confessed your sins to God, Satan will continue to condemn you. He is “the accuser of our brothers …, who accuses them day and night before our God.” (Revelation 12:9-10)

But God says: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) and “…as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12)

Have you ever felt “you’re worthless or you’ll never amount to anything”? This seems to be the image commonly held by many of the prisoners I’ve met during my prison ministry. Most have never had a positive role model to guide their lives. Few have ever had a caring father present in their lives. Many have had a father who led them into crime. This phenomenon is the same for both male and female prisoners. Christ died on the cross for us all because he knew we were worth the cost.

Fear not! If you follow God’s plan, you can always defeat Satan. I’ll tell you about it next time.