Why do we so easily listen to the lies of Satan and let them drag us down? What can we do to overcome our tendency to let him get the best of us? How can we stay strong when the enemy’s attacks never seem to let up?
“He [Satan] 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.” – John 8:44
This week we return to our study about strategies Satan uses to try to destroy our marriages. God’s Word warns us about him in 1 Peter 5:8: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” But God’s Word shows us how to be protected from the enemy’s attacks.
We’ve already seen that Satan is subtle and uses accusations as well as our own worldly desires to harm us. We’ve also observed that he will try to convince us that the consequences of committing a sin against our spouse will not be so bad. That the reward will far outweigh any pain it might cause. This, of course, is a lie. After all, “he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).
The devil is a master of taking what God intends for good and trying to twist it so it is used for evil. But we have the truth of God.
Joseph discovered God’s truth as he went through all his trials. Satan had convinced Joseph’s brothers to bring harm to him. And in Genesis 50:19-20, we read what Joseph said to his brothers when they saw each other again, years later: “But Joseph said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.’”
Satan is out to harm our marriage, but God can use his attempts for good.
The stars in the sky are an example of something God intends for good that Satan attempts to use for evil. David proclaims in Psalm 19:1: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”
Many people look at the stars and see figures–people, animals, etc. They have named them and created what we call the zodiac. There is nothing wrong with that by itself. But some people believe that our lives are controlled and determined by those stars and the figures they form. That is a lie, since only God controls our futures.
Another example is the rainbow. God created the rainbow after He flooded the earth and saved mankind through Noah and his family. He wanted to remind us all of His grace and His promise never to flood the entire earth again (see Genesis 9:1-17).
But today when many people think of the rainbow, their thoughts do not turn to God but to the gay rights movement. (If you’d like to read more about how this happened, see A Rainbow Marriage.)
Satan has orchestrated things in such a way that something God intended to represent good is now used to represent something He deems as sinful (see Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9)–something that is directly in opposition to God’s design for marriage (Matthew 19:4-7).
Perhaps the most detrimental lie Satan has convinced our society of is that marriage is not necessary at all–much less for a life time. (For a secular humanist psychologist’s explanation of this, read “Monogamy unnatural for our sexy species.”)
This is again in direct opposition to what God teaches (Matthew 19:4-9; Mark 10:2-9). Unfortunately in my years as a minster and biblical counselor, I have seen many Christians impacted negatively in their marriages because they have bought in to these lies.
How do we make certain we are not led astray by Satan’s deception?
We must determine to believe and follow God’s Word above what man teaches.
God gives us the tools we need. One of the most important of those tools is His Word.
First, we must agree that the Bible is God’s inspired Word–true and completely trustworthy. He says in 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Jesus tells us we can trust God’s Word when He prays for His disciples in John 17:17: “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”
Satan will try to convince us that man–through science, philosophy and other disciplines of study–knows more about us and our world than God. That is a lie. Man can learn things about God’s world through his study. But anything man thinks he’s learned that contradicts God’s Word cannot be truth.
Think how much we deify science as a society. Yet what science teaches is constantly changing.
I have had kidney disease since I was born, and they discovered that I had it when I was five-years-old. My whole childhood I was told not to drink milk, sodas, or other things because they would increase the production of stones in my kidneys. My doctor today tells me now to drink anything, including milk and sodas, because any of it will keep my kidneys cleaned out and functioning well. The human body hasn’t changed. But man’s understanding of it has.
God’s Word will never change. It will always be true. We can always trust it because as we are told in Hebrews 13:8-9: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings.”
If we believe that the Bible is God’s Word, we must follow it’s teachings, not the world’s.
We are commanded in James 1:22: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Jesus tells us in John 14:15: “If you love me, keep my commands.”
Learning and living God’s Word–not what the world teaches–is the only way to a blessed marriage. It is the only way to know and follow God’s truth instead of Satan’s lies.
This is why it is so important to study God’s Word, so we will know that truth. This is why Paul told his young protégé Timothy: “Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:14-15).
We must all do this–in our individual lives and as married couples. Then as we study His Word and learn it, we must put it into practice.
God tells us in James 4:17: “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
If we reject the lies of the enemy and follow the truth of God’s Word, then the words of John H. Sammis’ 1887 hymn will be true of our marriages:
“Trust and obey, for there’s no other way,
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”*
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
♦ Read this week’s teaching together. Discuss what God has taught you.
♦ Ask yourselves as a couple the following questions based on this week’s teaching:
(1) Do you believe God’s Word (the Bible) is truly God’s Word, and that it is without error, to be trusted above what man may teach?
(2) Do you study God’s Word regularly together and individually so you know what it teaches?
(3) Do you seek to follow what God teaches you through it?
♦ Pray together and ask God to help you be consistent students of His Word. Ask Him to empower you to live out what He teaches you, no matter what others may say.
Next week we will look at yet another way Satan attacks our marriages and how God has provided for us to fight him off.
Until then, may God bless you and your marriage in all His wonderful ways,
* Here is a beautiful video of a version of the hymn “Trust and Obey” sung by Don Moen (with a wonderful surprise addition at the end).
Other posts in the OVERCOMING SATAN’S STRATEGIES series:
Part 1: Know the Enemy’s Ways
Part 2: Know God’s Truth
Part 4: Love with God’s Love
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