That line has been attributed to Charles Baudelaire although I have also heard attribution given to C.S. Lewis.
In the end, I have come up with a list of 7 tricks that the devil has used and I submit them here:
7. “You are not you.”
In the wake of the national hubbub surrounding Bruce Jenner, a thought crossed my mind: Where is the concern for Bruce? Many people lauded Bruce for trying to reconstruct himself as a woman. I thought, “I can’t wait to hear the compassionate response from Christians!”
Boy was I ever disappointed.
Instead of compassion and concern, I saw Christians refer to Bruce Jenner as a “freak” and other unkind terms. Brothers and sisters, take a step back. What we have here is a clear case of someone whom Satan has tricked into doubting his very essence of being! This is something to grieve, not ridicule. Bruce needs our prayers. Satan has robbed him (and many others) of their identity.
This happens not only in the sense of sexual identity, but in the identity that we have as children of God. We find ourselves doubting our salvation (“Can God REALLY forgive me for ___?”) or–as illustrated in the life of Martin Luther–the depth of our faith (“How can we be sure that TRULY believe and are saved?”)
6. “I am more powerful than God.”
As I browse Facebook, I read many posts from people that fear a coming world dictator or some other trial/tribulation. Indeed, it is very likely that Christians in the West will face true life-or-death persecution at some point in the future. And this idea frightens many; certainly persecution is not something that we WANT to face.
Stop. Take a step back.
I recently heard a story about a missionary who served in a remote location. A large snake entered into the missionary’s house, causing the missionary’s family to flee. A local villager entered the house and came back out after a bit of commotion. The commotion continued as the villager explained. “I have cut off the head of the snake,” he said, “but do not go back in there until the snake is done thrashing about.”
You see, the snake was dead, but the rest of its body did not know it yet.
And so it goes with Satan. There is much commotion and in the midst of that commotion, things will get broken and we will face problems–perhaps even death. But take heart! Jesus has already won.
I especially love the way that this hymn explains it:
5. “I do not exist.”
For a long time, I agreed with the sentiment shared in the video at the beginning of this blog post. I felt that the greatest trick the devil pulled was to convince people that he didn’t exist. There are many out there today that find the concept of Satan to be ludicrous. In fact, there is a group of Satan worshippers who claim that Satan doesn’t exist.
I’m still trying to wrap my head around that one. However, it is much easier to ridicule something when it claim it doesn’t exist. If Satan isn’t real, then Scripture isn’t reliable and Jesus’ death and resurrection is a victory over nothing at all. (Of course, those who claim that Satan is not real would also deny the existence of Jesus as well.)
4. “Did God really say…?”
Ahhh… the same thing that Satan said back in Genesis chapter 3. Throughout history we see this same tactic used. Perhaps the most obvious occurrence (outside of Genesis 3, of course) is in the development of the historical critical method, which seeks to attack the entirety of Scripture. The fruit of this lie is evident not only those who fall away from faith, but also in heresies such as the Jesus Seminar. Additionally, we find Christians who reject the creation account–ultimately because they place human reason above the Word. Recently, we find Christians who seek to justify sexual sins (extra-marital sexual behavior, homosexuality, etc.) or even rebellion and revolt in the name of “justice.”
Of all of the “tricks” on this list, this is the one that weighs heaviest on my heart, I must confess. I am deeply saddened when I see brothers and sisters in Christ fall into this way of thinking and I pray that the Lord shows them the truth once again.
3. “Evil is good and good is evil.”
You can count on media to portray Christians in a poor light. Kirk Cameron, for example, is routinely portrayed as a lunatic by the media. Those things which the Bible regards as virtue [chastity (note: be sure to read this whole article, specifically from the section titled ‘When You Want to, But Don’t’, monogamy, etc.] are mocked and in some cases, referred to as dangerous. Groups that disagree with the consensus worldview get labels such as “hate group.”
This issue is one that really strikes a chord with me. When I see Christians who are shocked the world has rejected the message of the Gospel… I have to confess… I am a bit amused. It reminds me a bit of this clip:
We have a vein within Christianity that has believed that in order to rescue the culture from itself, we must imitate the culture. If you stop and think about it, such an idea really does not make sense. Just like the kids who see Steve Buscemi for who he really is in the video above, culture cannot be “tricked” into becoming more Christ-like. We cannot try to be just like the culture and then say, “I have something different to share.” Culture laughs and mocks at such claims because it knows that the “mainstream Christian” (for lack of a better term) is being dishonest–either about his or her faith or about the intent in being “hip to the jive.” Let us instead stand firm in our faith and hold fast to Scripture, sharing the message of the Gospel freely and unashamedly.
So, do not be surprised that culture stands opposed to what we believe, calling that which is good evil and that which is evil good. We stand in opposition to culture, but we do not stand alone.
2. “You can be like God.”
Aleister Crowley and Timothy Leary espoused the belief “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.” Both men were DECIDEDLY anti-Christian in their beliefs and such a saying, of course, sounds very similar to the promises of Satan in Genesis 3.
Let’s face it, Christians fall into this trap all of the time. We like to think that we are in charge. We like to claim ownership of that which God has entrusted to us. And when things do not go the way we have planned, we get upset–sometimes even with God. Maybe those times are small steps on the road to the clarity that God is in control. In those cases we just aren’t happy with what He is allowing!
1. “You need to fear me.”
The reason that this trick is number one on the list is that almost all of the others here can find its root in this one false statement. Consider, if you have made it this far, that this is an incredibly long blog post… and it is all focused on Satan.
Do you see the problem here??
Christians have gotten to the point where we are distracted by evil, bad things, bad guys, injustice, social justice, social ills, illness, politics, politicians, and everything in between… that we forget that God is in control! We forget the truth found in the quote from Spurgeon:
How much time do we spend “letting the Gospel out” and preaching the word compared to the time we spend defending it? Look at our message! Look at the culture around us! Fear not, my friends. God is in control of all. Simply preach the Gospel, in your words and actions that the Holy Spirit may use you to bring others to Christ.
And so, I leave you with this wonderful song. God bless you, dear friends!: