How to identify spiritual warfare (and fight back)

“The devil made me do it.”

“Just to play devil’s advocate…”

Conversations are filled with casual references to angels, demons, and evil. But what the devil is the truth about Satan?

Many of us have a picture of what Satan looks like: a red suit, pitchforks, horns, and a tail. However, the Bible offers a different picture of how the enemy acts or appears.

The Devil We Don’t Know

Satan’s default mode is deception (2 Corinthians 11:14). He pretends to have our best in mind, but in reality, he comes to seek, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). "…When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

Lies, whether directly or indirectly from Satan, derail us from God’s best. Even in our daily choices, it’s easy to believe small lies — but those small lies make a big difference. It's spiritual warfare, and we are caught in the crossfire.

Lies, whether directly or indirectly from Satan, derail us from God’s best.

A lie from the enemy says to live for yourself and do what you want, regardless of the consequences. Lies from the enemy cause us to question that God cares about us or that He even exists. We might believe the lie that God could never forgive or welcome back anyone who doubts or struggles to trust Him. But nothing could be further from the truth (Jude 1:22).

3 Ways to Spot the Devil's Lies and Fight Back

1. Read the Bible

“…You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

Sin follows when we exchange the truth of God for a lie (Romans 1:25). When we spend time reading the Bible and asking God what He wants to teach us, we’re actively searching for what is true. By applying what the Bible shows us about God, we are submitting to Him and resisting the devil and lies (James 4:7).

2. Stay Alert

There’s a spiritual dimension beyond the physical world we see. Satan looks for opportunities to distort the good things God created (1 Peter 5:8). The Bible describes a spiritual battle in which we’re able to stand up against powers of evil because of the power of God protecting us (Ephesians 6:11-18).

Constantly pursuing Jesus doesn’t guarantee we will understand everything, but gives us the perspective we need to trust Him through the challenges we face.

3. Preach To Yourself

We’re doing the devil’s job for him if we tell ourselves the lie that our ideas are higher than God’s ideas (Matthew 16:23). Instead of feeding ourselves lies, we can feed ourselves the truth that God has already given us.

When Jesus was in a difficult place and the devil tried to get Him to buy into lies, Jesus responded by recalling God’s promises in the Bible (Matthew 4:1-11). When Satan distorted other excerpts from the Bible, Jesus responded with more verses that showed the truth about God.

Jesus has defeated sin by His death and resurrection, and He will one day defeat the enemy once and for all (1 Corinthians 15:3-4 and Hebrews 2:14-15). In the meantime, we can keep reading the Bible, stay alert, and preach to ourselves as we celebrate the truth found in Jesus.

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