Scary, but true: Satan is constantly lying to you about yourself, others, and God. If you want peace and joy, you need to know how to fight the lies Satan wants you to believe. Knowing how Satan attacks is crucial to fighting his lies — and so is remaining true to Jesus Christ, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit.
I thought Satan didn’t bother me because I rarely feel sad, lonely, or even bored. I don’t struggle with depression or the “dark night of the soul” so many Christians and unbelievers deal with on a daily basis. I thought my feelings of not being good enough were normal; after all, I have a schizophrenic mother and grew up in foster homes. I believed God knew I existed because He created me — but I also thought He didn’t really care about having a personal relationship with me. My feelings of unworthiness and unlovability seemed harmless and even normal, but they were lies Satan wanted me to believe.
Satan is cunning, strategic, and ruthless. My biggest problem with Satan is his ability to appear harmless, innocent, and even beautiful. Satan’s lies and prompts aren’t outright bad or evil; he pushes us in small, seemingly innocent ways. Here are a few more lies Satan wants me to believe: writing articles for Echoing Jesus doesn’t matter. Sending my weekly “Echoes of Joy” newsletter doesn’t encourage, inspire, or make a difference to readers. I don’t matter, and God doesn’t really care about me. Those are lies Satan wants me to believe. I’m learning how to fight them.
What lies does Satan want you to believe? They’re insidious, which means they’re subtle, slow, and sly. They don’t seem evil or devilish, but Satan’s lies build walls between you and others, you and God, you and your purpose. For example, Satan wants you to spend your time scrolling through Facebook, shopping, or wasting your days and nights online instead of pursuing God’s call on your life. Satan wants you to think you have no friends because you’re weird or not a good conversationalist. When you feel like nobody cares about you Satan wants you to shut yourself away from the world and hide.
Learn the difference between the lies Satan tells and the truth God wants you to hold on to. This is a lifelong process because Satan will tell you different lies at different times of your life. Satan’s strategies will change as you grow, but these tips on how to fight Satan’s lies will never change. Why? Because they’re rooted in Scripture.
3 Ways to Fight Satan’s Lies
I’m walking through Matthew, seeing and echoing Jesus in different ways. In my last article — What Does Baptism by Immersion Do for You? Matthew 3 — I described how my husband Bruce wanted to get baptized in the Jordan River in Israel. It didn’t happen, but we learned a lot about baptism at the Christian world’s third holiest site, Qasr al-Yahud! I also explored Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist and the Holy Spirit’s “alighting like a dove” on the God’s Son (with whom He was well pleased).
In this article — How to Fight the Lies Satan Wants You to Believe — I describe three points I see in Matthew 4:1-11. My favorite tip is the last one; I didn’t see it until I literally started writing it. Inspired!
1. Follow the Holy Spirit — no matter where He leads
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” – Matthew 4:1 (CSB). The verse immediately preceding this is God the Father saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased.” – Matthew 3:16-17. That’s good news! John had just baptized Jesus; the heavens suddenly opened for Jesus and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on Him. More good news! But where did the Holy Spirit lead Jesus? Into the wilderness, for forty days and forty nights of fasting. That turns out to be good news for us, but not for Jesus. It was probably hot, dry and dusty during the day — especially if He was in the Negev Desert. At night it would’ve been so cold, maybe not freezing like here in Canada, but chilly to the bone nevertheless. There is so much depth and meaning in this first verse of Matthew that it would take me forty days and forty nights to say it all! But alas.
Where is the Holy Spirit leading you – and how are Satan’s lies tripping you up? Maybe you want to start something new in your life, perhaps make new friends or start a different career or end an unfruitful, unhealthy relationship. Maybe you don’t even recognize that Satan is lying to you about your abilities, future, resources, and possibilities. Or maybe you’re scared to follow the Holy Spirit because you know He’s leading you somewhere difficult and scary. You’re listening to the lies Satan wants you to believe because it’s easier to stay safe in the shallow end of the pool. Good thing Jesus didn’t do that, don’t you think? And Jesus was fully man during his wilderness stint (otherwise it wouldn’t mean a thing).
2. Learn how Jesus fought the lies Satan told
Read Matthew 4:1-11 out loud. Slowly. How did Jesus respond to each of Satan’s lies, temptations, deceptions, accusations? It might be helpful to consult an online commentary — but sit with God’s word first. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see Jesus in a different light. Imagine you’re sitting with Jesus in the wilderness, or walking with Him in the Negev Desert. What do you hear, see, smell, or taste when Satan says “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread”? Look at that first word: if. What does that remind you of? I thought of Adam and Eve, and how Satan said something similar in Genesis 3. Why did Satan use the word if?
Can you fight Satan’s lies the way Jesus did? This isn’t a rhetorical question: I’m asking you if you can fight the lies Satan wants you to believe by doing what Jesus did. First, learn how Jesus responded to Satan’s accusations, temptations, deceptions in Matthew 4:1-11. Then, ask yourself how you can apply Jesus’ response to your own experience with Satan’s lies, accusations, deceptions. Comment below if you’re confused or if you have questions. Feel free to write your answers below, too! I’d love to hear how you will fight the lies Satan wants you to believe. Maybe I can encourage and pray for you. If you need help hearing the Holy Spirit’s voice, read How Do I Communicate With the Holy Spirit?
3. Do not waste your precious time, energy or power fighting Satan
Look at Jesus’ three responses to Satan in Matthew 4:1-11. How many words did Jesus speak to Satan? How many words did Satan speak to Jesus? Satan is long-winded and descriptive in the temptations he lays before Jesus. In contrast, Jesus’s responses are short, terse, unequivocal. Jesus did not engage with the enemy. Perhaps Jesus didn’t want to waste His precious time, energy or power arguing with the devil. Jesus’ words are few, yet powerful.
What — or who — are you spending your time and energy on? Pastor Timothy Keller — one of my favorite pastors and Bible teachers — says what you think about most is your idol. If you spend most of your time thinking about your job, relationships, money, cars, appearance, pets, children or food (my weakness!) then you are idolizing that thing. It’s where your heart is. The same danger applies to learning how to fight the lies Satan wants you to believe: if you spend a lot of time talking to or fighting the accusations and attacks, you’re focusing on the wrong thing.
Do what Jesus did: answer Satan’s lies with short, terse, unequivocal responses. Do not engage in unproductive debates or fruitless arguments with anyone’s lies, deceptions or accusations because you will not win. Engaging with the enemy means you’ve already lost the battle.
To recap, three tips on how to fight the lies Satan wants you to believe:
- Follow the Holy Spirit — no matter where He leads
- Learn how Jesus the man fight the lies Satan told
- Do not waste your precious time, energy or power fighting Satan
Your big and little comments are welcome below! May you hear the echoes of Jesus in your day, sense the Holy Spirit in your life, and walk humbly with your God all the way home.
In peace and passion,
P.S. If you’re struggling to follow Jesus because you don’t fully trust God, read How to Love God Even Though He Let You Down.