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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, May 16 2024

Seven things Satan wants for your life

Satan has an agenda and will do whatever he can to steer us away from God. If we are aware of how Satan operates, we are better equipped to respond to his tactics and, with God’s help, combat them.

Our greatest defense against Satan is a right relationship with God, who wants to “bring many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10) and “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).

Satan wants to destroy mankind and will do whatever he can to wear us down and lead us away from God. He knows our weaknesses and that’s where he aims his attacks, often waging battle with our minds. He wants us to contemplate destructive thoughts, harbor ungodly attitudes that can lead to disobeying God, and develop sinful habits that will eventually bring about our demise.

If we are aware of how Satan operates, we are better equipped to respond to his tactics and combat them. Following are just seven of the many mindsets and habits Satan seeks to foster in us, that we should be aware of and avoid.

Doubting God’s existence and His Word

The Bible is often viewed as just another piece of literature or that it has serious errors and should not be taken literally. The idea that the natural world came into existence through evolution and there is no God is now widespread. This approach is usually conveyed as facts in scientific terms, and the average person may feel hard-pressed to refute it. These concepts can start to erode our beliefs, and we may even develop doubt about God’s existence.

The concept God created the natural world using evolution (as theistic evolutionists espouse), results in viewing the biblical creation account in figurative terms, with this approach then being applied to other biblical passages. If we begin to doubt God’s Word we will be tempted to rely on our human reasoning rather than look to God for direction. God wants us to trust Him and not depend on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).

Living in fear and worry

Satan knows what “buttons” to push to make us worried and fearful—whether it’s financial troubles, health concerns, relationship problems, or the instability in the world. Christians are exhorted not to worry or be fearful (Philippians 4:6, Matthew 6:25-34, John 14:1, Proverbs 12:25). It is not only bad for our physical health, but very damaging to our spiritual health, and can drive a wedge between us and God. We need to look to God with faith that He will protect and provide for us and see us through our difficulties. Satan wants us to doubt God will sustain us and answer our prayers.

Prioritizing the physical and temporary

We are to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” and to “lay up…treasures in Heaven” (Matthew 6:33,20). Human beings tend to do the opposite, prioritizing our personal desires and living for the “here and now.” Satan, as the “prince of the power of the air,” promotes this thinking (Ephesians 2:2-3). Television programming and advertising bombard us with messages that “having fun” and “acquiring things” is the way to find fulfillment, encouraging us to prioritize our time and energy to achieve these material pleasures. This is not to say we shouldn’t seek enjoyment in life or have “nice things,” but if it is our top priority, it can steer us away from building and maintaining what has eternal value, which is our relationship with God.

Becoming preoccupied with entertainment

The temptation to spend inordinate amounts of time checking social media posts, playing video games, or binge-watching TV shows can be compelling with our smartphones and entertainment devices constantly at our side. There is nothing wrong with enjoying some leisure time, but if we use most of our free time this way we probably won’t be devoting the time to Bible study, prayer and meditation we should. It may also be diminishing our interactions and relationships with family and friends. Our time is our most precious commodity, and Ephesians 5:16 stresses we need to “redeem” or “make the most” of it.

Becoming confused

Most of us are overloaded with information to the point it is hard to process it all. We also often only hear part of the story, or the facts might be twisted to promote a particular agenda, making it hard to know what’s true and what isn’t. Even when we’re seeking guidance, we may get contradictory advice, depending on which “expert” we go to for help. Satan is referred to as the “father of lies” and the “deceiver of the whole world” (John 8:44, Revelation 12:9). He promotes our confusion and lies about God’s truth, as he did with Adam and Eve, so that we won’t develop the courage and convictions we need to face life’s challenges.

Harboring grudges

When we become angry, we open the door for Satan to influence our thinking. In Ephesians 4:26-27, the Apostle Paul warned about the dangers of prolonged, uncontrolled rage: “‘Be angry, and do not sin:’ do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.” Each of us has a tendency to think too highly of our own opinions, and Satan nurtures this mindset. He wants us to think we’re always right, so we’ll feel justified in holding grudges against those who offend us. He will try to prevent us from realizing or being concerned about the hurt we’re causing. Holding grudges can weigh us down and destroy our character, which is one of Satan’s goals.

Feeling alone and disconnected

God created us to be social beings. Genesis 2:18 tells us “it is not good that man should be alone.” We need warm, caring relationships with friends and family. Satan knows that loneliness (being physically isolated from other people or emotionally disconnected from others) harms us, and can lead to depression and burnout. Trials and challenges can seem insurmountable if we’re facing them alone.

Christians need contact with like-minded individuals. (See the following article The Church - Help For Greater Growth). Church attendance is down in western nations, yet attending church is so important—not only to hear the messages, but also for fellowship. Our church friends can help us stay on track and provide encouragement for us.

James 4:7 says we are to “submit to God” and “resist the devil,” and then Satan will flee from us. To submit to God means to look to Him for direction and to strive to obey Him. To resist Satan means to actively uproot the destructive thoughts he sows in our minds. This can include guarding what we allow into our minds through media, and being mindful about who we spend our time with. 1 Corinthians 15:33 warns that “evil company corrupts good habits.” We should surround ourselves with godly individuals whose influence encourages us to develop our relationship with God. Regularly attending church is vital (Hebrews 10:25), giving us access to a community of supportive believers.

We need God’s help to counter Satan. We should pray daily for spiritual strength, the discernment to make wise decisions, and to be protected from Satan’s devices.Studying the Bible helps us understand how God wants us to live and equips us to detect the lies and false values promulgated in society. When we are close to God, and have the support of uplifting, godly people, we will be far less likely to be enticed to Satan’s way of thinking.