Our church works together with some other churches in the community to offer an Awana program as part of our ministry to children. One of the things that happens when Awana meets is that all the children have a short lesson together before going off into smaller groups for the rest of the evening. Lately I have been doing this teaching and last Monday the lesson had to do with the temptation Jesus endured while he was in the desert after his baptism. Matthew 4:1-11 tells of the encounter between Jesus and Satan. In preparing for the lesson some words of Jesus about Satan came to mind. In the ending to John 8:44 Jesus says of Satan,
"When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies."
In the temptation that all Christians experience, and the sin that results when we give in to temptation, Satan lies to us twice. The first is in the temptation itself, when as we think about turning from God's will for our lives we consider the same words Satan spoke to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:1, "Did God really say…?"
In our minds we have all kinds of ways to convince ourselves that whatever it is we are considering is not really wrong, or not as bad as something else, or something that we know is wrong but we are also sure that God will forgive us. We hear the words of Satan calling us, calling us away from God. They sound so seductive. We really shouldn't go that direction, but... He is a liar, and his lies can sound so good.
But he doesn’t stop as he draws us into temptation. We may give in to a sin one time, or we may give in to a whole bunch of them many times. Eventually we come to our senses and realize we need to turn back towards God in confession and repentance, seeking his forgiveness. And that is when the "father of lies" gets started on us again.
The lies we hear in these times are varied, such as, "You can't be forgiven again;" "God has no more patience for you;" "You've crossed a line where forgiveness can't go;" "You've never truly believed in God." Whatever particular words we hear from Satan as we turn towards God, Satan's intent is always the same. To keep us trapped in misery and separated from God.
As Jesus so clearly said, Satan is the father of lies and it is in his basic character is to lie continually, especially to anyone whose heart is seeking God.
And so we fight these lies with two truths. One is that our place with God as his dearly loved children is always and entirely in his hands. Paul writes in Ephesians 2:8,
"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God."
And the second truth also comes through Paul, in Romans 8:38-39,
"For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
When you hear the lies of Satan, remember, and stand firm, on the truth from God.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.