You’ve seen him, haven’t you? Satan, with the red costume, the pitchfork, and the blazing fiery eyes! While you probably have seen this cartoon depiction of the devil on television and in the comic strip section of the newspaper, such an image is unrealistic, and those who expect the devil to always be in uniform and easily identified will miss him every time.
The Bible does describe Satan and makes no mistake about some of his attributes so that God’s people may know that he exists and the manner in which he operates. Satan is described as an adversary and a roaring lion (1 Pet 5:8), a deceiver of the whole world (Rev 12:9), god of this world (2 Cor 4:4), dragon and ancient serpent (Rev 20:2), a liar, murderer and the father of lies (Jn 8:44), and the evil one (Matt 13:19), to name a few. Satan isn’t some made up enemy that your parents and Bible class teachers invented to scare you, but he is no doubt a real being who wants to devour and destroy lives as he has done from the beginning (Job 1:6; 1 Pet 5:8).
Satan is noted mostly for his lying and his ability to deceive, this is what caused Eve to sin in the beginning as she bit into not only the forbidden fruit but also the lie that Satan had sold her (Gen 3:4; Jn 8:44; 1 Tim 2:13-15). Satan has not given up on lying to people, though he doesn’t act directly, through different mediums he deceives and people allow themselves to be used in his service (2 Cor 4:4; 2 Tim 2:24-26).
The truth is becoming harder and harder to find, not because the truth is elusive or too difficult to comprehend, but because men are looking in the wrong places and don’t have a love for the truth (Jn 8:31-32; 2 Thess 2:9-12). For every truth of God’s word that we won’t accept, Satan has a lie that he will put in its place to pacify and satisfy us. Here a few of Satan’s popular lies to consider.
“You don’t need to repent”
Someone has said:” People on earth hate to hear the word repent and people in hell would give anything to hear it one more time”. While that statement may not be entirely accurate there is some validity to it. The devil wants to convince most folks that “you’re really not so bad, you’re better than most folks”. Satan knows that unless a person repents they can’t be saved (Lk 13:3-5; Acts 2:38), so as long as he can keep you thinking you have nothing from which you need to repent, he can keep you in a lost condition. It is one thing to be out of town and know that you need directions, but it is an entirely different and dangerous situation to be lost in a place and being under the false assumption that you know where you are going. Satan would have the whole world and the church to believe that sin is only the big stuff, like murder, adultery, homosexuality, and if you’re not guilty of any of these “big sins” (there’s no such thing), then you don’t have to repent (1 Cor 6:9-11; Gal 5:19-21).
Repentance calls for one to change their mind which leads to a change of action and makes restitution wherever possible. This must be done and we must not buy into the lie of the devil which says “I don’t need to repent, I’m fine!” The truth is, Jesus and John the immerser both came preaching a message of repentance, and the early church preached the same message, and people today still need to repent—even if it’s not a sin that gets much fanfare and doesn’t make the nightly news (Mt. 3:2, 4:17; Acts 17:30, 20:21).
Comparing ourselves to others doesn’t make us righteous either, Jesus is the standard and not men (2 Cor 10:12).So that gossip that you’ve done that nobody knows about, the lusting that occurs inwardly that is unknown to the world, and whatever other “pet sins” one may engage in, don’t believe the lies of Satan. Repent and turn, and God will forgive and refresh (Acts 3:19-20).
Once Satan can no longer fool you about the necessity of repentance, he wants you to believe that you can do it tomorrow. This idea of putting off the right thing until tomorrow is not only dangerous, it is rather silly. Nobody ever lives in tomorrow, by the time tomorrow comes, it’s today. As long as men think they have more time to do the right thing, the virtuous and noble deed will always be on tomorrow’s to-do list. Satan knows that tomorrow isn’t promised, but as long as he can make procrastination your chief virtue he can keep you right where he wants you.
It’s one thing to know that I need to repent, evangelize, pray and encourage—but it’s another matter to recognize that I need to be doing those things today! The truth is that tomorrow isn’t promised (Jas 4:13-17), and if the day comes we can’t be sure if it will yield favorable circumstances to accomplish our goals (Prov 27:1). The calendar of the Bible always reads today, and when we see something we need to do, don’t buy into Satan’s lie that you can do it tomorrow, do it today (2 Cor 6:2; Heb 3:7-8).
“All the real fun is sinful”
Satan wants the world to see sin as pleasurable and the Bible does not deny this fact (Heb 11:25). The only problem with sin, however pleasurable it may be, is that it doesn’t last, and it ultimately condemns one’s soul (Jn 8:21). Satan would have the world to believe that real fun is fornication, immodest dress, lust, cursing, and that if you don’t engage in these things you can never have any “real” fun. Sometimes people buy into this lie and think in order to become a Christian they must give up all their fun activities, or that Christians don’t have any real fun. This is simply not true.
In the first place, those engaged in sin are not merely having fun, while they enjoy a degree of fleeting pleasure, Satan forgets to remind them that they are slaves as well (Jn 8:34-35; Rom 6:16; 2 Tim 2:26). In the next place, the Christian can have the most fun, he has the most to be happy about and can truly enjoy this life (Jn 10:10; Phil 4:4). We have to let God define what true fun is, and the best fun one can have is serving God and his fellow man. Christianity did not come to rob men of their fun and happiness but to help them enjoy it in its fullness (1 Jn 1:4; 2 Jn 1:2).
He is fake, or impossible to overcome
So many live their lives as if all they have to do is fail to acknowledge Satan’s existence, and this will free them from him and his influence, this is a lie! Satan exists and his influence can be seen all around us, but to deny his existence does not make him nonexistent, but rather makes one more likely to fall into his traps. Christians must be watchful for him because he does exist, and as long as he can keep you thinking that he doesn’t, you won’t think to arm yourself against his devices (Eph 6:10-17). If you view life’s trials, calamities, and persecutions as merely unfortunate coincidences, then you have forgotten that there is a war taking place and that we must be on guard against this enemy (2 Cor 10:4-5).
And then there are those who fall into sin and believe that they can never overcome, they think that they are simply at the mercy of the devil (queue the famous line from the Flip Wilson song: “the devil made me do it”). Satan is not an unstoppable force, he was overcome by Jesus and can be overcome today when we properly place our faith in Jesus (Jn 16:33; 1 Jn 5:4-5). We can’t merely believe, but must be obedient to God, to merely believe is not to overcome the devil but to have the same faith as the demons (Jas 2:19).
The Bible teaches that Satan is cowardly and when he is resisted, he will flee (Jas 4:7). As the Lord overcame Satan when tempted, so can we (Mt 4:1-11), recognizing that God provides a way to escape all temptation (1 Cor 10:13). Satan can be overcome and has continually been conquered since the first century. We can do the same today (Rev 12:10-11).
We don’t have to believe Satan and his lies, we must simply resist him and trust that God will deliver us. There will always be those out there who want to believe a lie, but we don’t have to be one of them. Love the truth, and reject Satan and the lies he loves to tell.