John 8:44b …He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Satan works his power most through deception. He perverts and twists things that are good and godly into destructive and misleading outcomes for humanity. I particularly dislike how Satan uses scripture and twists it to deceive.
In two past articles, both by the title “Overcoming Temptation” (One is on my Random Ramblings blog), I pointed out some ways Satan twists God’s word and written scripture to deceive. I will reference them as well as some other examples of Satan’s deception.
From the beginning of what we know of God in Genesis, Satan has been
twisting God’s word. He did not have scripture to twist. However, he did twist
God’s word. Notice in Genesis 3, 1b“…Did God really say, ‘You
must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Then again, 4”You
will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman, 5”for
God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be
like God, knowing good and evil.” And they did not die…right away. They did die
later, which I do not think was the plan. Satan twisted God’s word. God did not
tell them when they would die if they ate of the tree. After the fact in 3:19
God tells Adam of his fate by ending the verse with…”for dust you are and to
dust you will return.”
Satan twisted scripture when Jesus was in the wilderness for forty days fasting. When tempting Jesus, Satan took Psalm 91:11-12 out of context. Satan was taking this passage totally out of context in order deceive and thwart God’s plan for redeeming His people. Still, Jesus was able to answer twisted scripture with truth in scripture.
Satan even twists scripture for me. For years I allowed Satan’s little twist of Romans 3:23 beat me down make me feel I will never have joy in the redemption that is in Christ. I could finish the phrase, “…for all have sinned…” by heart, “and fall short of the glory of God,”…then, God revealed to me that there was a comma at the end of the phrase. Not many know what the rest of the verse says…including me. Verse 24 finishes that phrase in the positive, “and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Satan commonly uses God’s word and twists and perverts it in order to draw us further away from God and the redemptive power of the blood of Jesus.
Through his deception, Satan also twists gifts from God to draw us into sin and further away from God. A huge area is in the arena of sex and sexual desires. Sex is a beautiful, intimate bonding between husband and wife. The desires we have are a gift from God. However, Satan has been bombarding humans with twists and deceptions around sex and desires throughout the history of humankind. Some current examples are obvious. Pornography, extramarital affairs, and same-sex attraction are twists on God’s plan for sexuality. A subtle twist I see amongst Christians has been how we treat sex as a church body. I have noticed that we have done two things: First, in many cases, we as a church have ignored sexuality as if it is taboo or too dirty to talk about sex. I have worked out of fear when I have ignored the subject. I fear that if I talk about it around youth, then I might arouse love too early. Second, which is related to the first, we have put sexuality into a shameful and negative light to the point that it cannot be fully enjoyed or appreciated within marriages. I know of too many couples who have struggled with shame around their sexuality within their marriage due to the negative light in which it was painted prior to marriage.
Another gifted area for me and how I am misled by Satan’s deception is in the areas of the gift of eternity and freedom in Christ. So much of the time, I will live my life with no joy. Now, I realize that there will be sufferings, consequences for actions, and general evil that occurs in my life. However, what gets in the way of my joy are the lies, deceptions and shame from my past and prior wounds. I will begin to believe that I will never measure up, I’m not good enough, and I do not have what it takes to be in the kingdom of God. As I continue to allow the weight of past experiences pile on, I look at life through a negative view of myself. I realize that I am to lose self and be filled with Christ. This is not what I am talking about here. Even when I lose self for Christ’s gain, I have joy. It is when I am burdened with Satan’s lies and negative messages that I block the joy that comes through knowing my salvation in the blood of Jesus.
There are so many other ways that Satan deceives and lies to us. He is a master of those deceptions as Jesus noted in this week’s verse. My challenge for myself is to hear God’s voice louder…and believe that voice.
1. When you think about Satan twisting scripture, what passages come to mind for you?
2. What gifts in your life do you see Satan twisting?
3. In what ways do you relate the two gifts I mentioned?
4. What lies or deceptions from Satan are blocking your Joy?
5. Pay attention this week to where Satan is twisting and using God’s word and gifts for his gain. Ask Jesus to awaken His Spirit within you to see these deceptions.
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