By Clarence L. Haynes Jr., Crosswalk.com
We all recognize that we have an enemy. We all know that Satan attacks. The question however is: how does he do it? What are the ways and methods the enemy uses to attack and try to get us off course? It is so very important to understand his methods because when you do, you can be on guard and ready to fight back.
I believe Satan is really after three things in your life.
Your relationship—Your walk with God.
Your fellowship—Your communion with others in the body of Christ.
Your discipleship—Your commitment to fulfill God’s purpose for your life.
One of the ways the enemy works to attack these areas of your life is by planting little seeds of doubt, often in the form of questions. In other words, he messes with your mindset or your thinking. If you remember this is what he did with Eve in the garden when he asked, “Did God really say?”
The way he operated then is still how he operates now. These seeds attack one or all three of these areas in your life. If we are not careful these little seeds can take root and we can begin to breathe life into them. They can latch on to your thinking and cripple you, leading you to an unproductive life. The best way to defend yourself is to recognize what some of them are.
For this reason, I want to share with you seven questions Satan will ask to mess with your mindset.
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1. Did God really forgive you?
One of the tricks Satan often uses is to get you to believe that either God hasn’t forgiven you or that he won’t forgive you. The problem with this feeling of unforgiveness is that it pushes you away from God.
Another word for this is condemnation. Condemnation doesn’t make you want to draw close to God, it makes you want to run as far away as possible. Remember, this is what Adam and Eve felt in the garden and it caused them to hide from God.
Satan understands the power of feeling condemnation. He knows if he can get you thinking these types of thoughts you will question God’s ability or willingness to forgive you. This will have devastating effects on your walk with God. You won’t pray. You won’t worship. You won’t open your Bible because in your mind you stand condemned.
Here are two verses to help you root out this seed.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus – Romans 8:1
You can be confident today that God is not only able to forgive he is willing to forgive. When he forgives you, he wipes the slate clean and he doesn’t remember your sins anymore.
As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. – Psalm 103:12
You are forgiven. You are free. You are not condemned.
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2. Does God really love you?
Many times, this question rolls around in your head, especially when a major disappointment or tragedy happens in your life. You begin to wonder if God’s love is real. After all, if God really loved me why did this happen? I don’t want to suggest that this is a simple question to work through, it’s not, but it’s important to understand that God really loves you and he proved it.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8
The proof of God’s love for you isn’t that everything always goes right in your life. You have to remember we still live in a fallen, sinful world.
The proof of God’s love is that he dealt with our greatest malady, which was our sinful condition. If he would have left us in that condition we would have been separated from him forever. So, if Satan tries to trick you and cause you to begin to wonder about God’s love for you remember the cross. That was and forever will be the greatest evidence of how much God loves you.
3. Why did they do that?
One of the most frustrating questions you can ask is why did they do that? Satan knows this. When you ask this question, usually it is to yourself and never to the person who did whatever it is they did. When this happens it only leads to speculation and accusation. I heard someone say this: without complete information, any conclusion you come to is probably false.
When you question the motives of a person, without talking to that person, this becomes a breeding ground for mistrust, blame, division, and ultimately separation. This is right up Satan’s alley. If someone you know does something wrong or does you wrong, don’t ask yourself why—ask them why. This doesn’t mean you will like the answer, but at least you don’t have to assume what it is.
This one act alone creates a potential open door for unity and continued fellowship.
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4. Do you really believe God is going to come through for you?
This is a question of God’s faithfulness and his ability to take care of you. If Satan can get you to question God’s faithfulness this leads to worry, confusion, anxiety, stress, and even depression. None of these are healthy and none are good for you. Consider God’s promise in Hebrews (one of my favorite scriptures)
…for He has said, “I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you [assuredly not]!” – Hebrews 13:5 (AMP)
You should let that resonate in your heart for a while. This should build your faith and destroy your worry. Know this today, God will be faithful to you. He will not let you down. You can trust that today no matter what the enemy tries to tell you.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. – Isaiah 43:2
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5. No one understands what you are going through.
This one really isn’t a question but a whisper that will sometimes attack you when you are in a hard place. The goal is to isolate you. Isolate you from God’s presence because he doesn’t understand. Isolate you from God’s people because they don’t understand. This is what Satan wants you to believe. When this happens, you are left to your own devices leaving you weak and vulnerable.
Again, this is the place he wants you to be. If these whispers come—remember the truth of God's word.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrews 4:15-16
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
You are not alone. You are not in your struggle alone.
Not only does God understand, but he has placed people around you who will, too. In the hard moments of life, don’t be afraid to look to God and the people who he has surrounded you with. By the way, if you feel like there aren’t any around, then pray and ask God to bring them into your life. I have prayed this before and God did it for me. I am confident he can do the same for you.
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6. Do you really think you can do that? Look at what you are.
When this flows in your heart, the enemy is either trying to get you to look at your limitations or your qualifications. He is laying down the challenge that you can’t be the person God wants you to be...or accomplish what God wants you to accomplish.
It is so important to remember that because God dwells inside your heart, you are not limited or unqualified to do anything. Since he is the God of the impossible, and he lives in you, then even the most impossible situations become possible because he is doing the work through you. That’s why Paul said I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
God’s presence in your life removes the limitations and it is what makes you qualified. Satan wants to trick you into looking at only your own ability and that could be pretty depressing for any of us. God wants you to lean into his ability, because when God is for you then who can really stand against you? What he started in you he will bring to completion; so rest in his ability and not your own.
Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – Philippians 1:6
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7. Is it really all worth it?
Sometimes in life, you will face discouragement. You will toil, work hard, give your best, and after doing all that, you may not get the result you wanted. After pouring your heart and soul into whatever you are doing, someone can make you feel unappreciated or of little value or worth.
In moments like these, Satan may whisper this thought: is it really worth the effort?
If you dwell on this question too long, you may feel like packing everything up and walking away. I want you to recognize that accomplishing God’s purpose in this life will come with some bumps and bruises. There will be disappointments, betrayals, misunderstandings, and frustrations in the process, but stay in the fight. It won’t be easy but it is all worth it.
There is no greater impact you will have or greater joy you will find than accomplishing God’s will for your life. Whether that’s in your family, your career, or your ministry there is no greater fulfillment. This is why you were created and this is what Satan is trying to keep you from. Let these words encourage you:
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed…Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day, for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 2 Corinthians 4:16-17
You Can Overcome Satan’s Schemes
The Bible encourages us to be aware of the devil’s devices or schemes. The truth is he has a plan and a strategy. However, the truth also is that in Christ you can win and overcome all of his schemes. When Satan attacks, and he will, then gear up, fight back, and remember two things:
- You are more than a conqueror, and
- the Holy Spirit who is in you, is greater than Satan who is in the world.
He will attack. But by God’s grace and strength, you will fight back and you will win.
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