We’ve been speaking about ideas lately, our thought lives. On Friday, we requested if God can learn our ideas. The resounding reply is sure, God can learn our ideas, and never solely our ideas, but additionally the intentions of our hearts. That reality carries huge implications for every of us. It means God can see the distinction between what we need to say and what we truly do say. He can weigh the distinction. So we are able to glorify God by stopping sinful phrases from exiting our mouths. That’s one of many fascinating implications we checked out Friday, in APJ 1917.
We’re going to start out this new week with one other brief however profoundly vital query about our thought lives. It’s requested by Garrick: “Pastor John, can Devil himself put ideas into our heads?”
Sure, he can and he does. And naturally, the pressing questions then are, How can we acknowledge them? And the way can we resist them and never get managed by them? However earlier than I give some biblical examples of this, it might be good to remind ourselves that Devil’s placing ideas in our minds and placing wishes in our hearts or our our bodies are very carefully associated.
Typically he might put wishes for one thing sinful immediately into our hearts, adopted by ideas that justify these sinful wishes. Typically he might do the reverse by placing misleading ideas in our minds that result in sinful wishes. Now, Garrick solely requested about ideas, however I simply needed to make plain that ideas and wishes are so carefully associated that we ought to be asking about each, so I’ll preserve that in thoughts.
Devil and Our Sinful Nature
Let’s begin with the biblical textual content that truly makes use of the phrases that Garrick utilized in posing his query — specifically, “Does Devil truly put ideas in our minds?” Right here’s John 13:2: “Throughout supper” — that’s, through the Final Supper — “the satan had already put it into the guts of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him.” The thought, the intention, the will was there in Judas. Devil, John says, “put it” there.
Now, right here’s one other clarification although. That doesn’t imply — it doesn’t imply for Judas, and it doesn’t imply for us — that the intention and the will didn’t come up out of Judas’s personal sinful nature. He’s described in John 12:6 as a thief who’s taking cash out of the disciples’ cash bag. It says he’s an individual who had no coronary heart for the poor, which implies he was additionally a liar, which additionally means he was grasping. So we are able to infer fairly definitely from this that Jesus was not the type of Messiah Judas needed to comply with. He had different issues occurring in his thoughts and coronary heart. All Devil needed to do was intensify and direct Judas’s personal sinfulness. That’s true with us as effectively. There’s no clear tremendous line between the ideas that Devil places and the ideas that we give you, or the wishes that Devil places and the wishes that we give you.
“Our personal sinfulness is like an invite, like a welcome mat and an open door to Devil.”
We don’t know precisely how. It’s these how questions that baffle us, isn’t it? We don’t know precisely how Devil interacts with our personal sinful nature to do his ugly work. However I feel it’s truthful to say that our personal sinfulness is like an invite, like a welcome mat and an open door to Devil. That’s what Paul says in Ephesians 4:26–27: “Don’t let the solar go down in your anger, and provides no alternative to the satan.” In different phrases, sinfully holding a grudge is sort of a welcome mat put out for Devil. And it really works the opposite approach round. When Devil beckons us to sin with misleading ideas or wishes, our personal sinful nature kicks in and makes these beckonings extra engaging.
Right here’s one other biblical instance to reply Garrick’s query, “Does Devil put issues in our coronary heart?” Right here’s Acts 5:3, the place Ananias and Sapphira resolve to mislead the apostles and preserve again a part of their pledge. Peter stated, “Ananias, why has Devil stuffed your coronary heart to mislead the Holy Spirit and to maintain again for your self a part of the proceeds of the land?” Ananias and his spouse had the thought, “Ah, let’s make a bit extra cash for ourselves by mendacity about how a lot we bought our land for.” And the thought turned a plan, and the plan turned a deed, and Peter describes that entire course of as “Devil stuffed your hearts.” Devil brought about the plan to seem extra fascinating than honesty or worship. Devil’s design stuffed them up and conquered all their different ideas and wishes. It was a reasonably pricey sin (see Acts 5:5, 10).
One other instance is how Devil moved King David to take a census in Israel towards God’s will. “Then Devil stood towards Israel and incited David to quantity Israel” (1 Chronicles 21:1) — that’s, to take a census of Israel. He put the thought in David’s thoughts, and he made the thought appear like navy knowledge when it was, in truth, mistrust in God. And finally, he needed to repent of that folly.
We’d suppose, as we return to the very starting of the Bible, that the deception of Eve within the backyard of Eden was not like the best way Devil works at this time, as a result of it was by way of an precise dialog between the satan and Eve. However Paul stated that Christians have to be on guard towards the same assault identical to within the backyard of Eden. He stated in 2 Corinthians 11:3, “I’m afraid that because the serpent deceived Eve by his crafty, your ideas might be led astray from a honest and pure devotion to Christ.” Right here, Devil’s work in our minds is named main us astray, corrupting our ideas. We don’t understand how Devil does it, however there it’s; he does it. He can spoil and warp and mislead our ideas and switch them into ideas towards Christ and for sin.
Weapons of Fact
Now, the principle actuality to remember in all that is that Devil is a deceiver, a liar, a assassin. He works his destruction primarily by deceiving, by mendacity — typically with half-truths, however all the time with misleading, murderous intent. Right here’s Revelation 12:9: “The good dragon was thrown down, that historical serpent, who is named the satan and Devil, the deceiver of the entire world.” John 8:44: “[The devil] was a assassin from the start, and doesn’t stand within the reality, as a result of there is no such thing as a reality in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his personal character, for he’s a liar and the father of lies.”
All his ideas, in different phrases, are deceptive. They’re deceptive ideas. Whether or not they’re half-truths or entire falsehoods, they’re deceptive. All his miracles are mendacity miracles — that’s, miracles within the service of a lie (2 Thessalonians 2:9) — which implies that the central and steady-state weapon towards him is reality, religion within the reality.
Right here’s the best way Paul says it in 2 Timothy 2:25–26. We must always right our opponents “with gentleness. God might maybe grant them repentance resulting in a data of the reality.” And right here’s the impact of that: “. . . and so they might come to their senses and escape from the snare of the satan.” That’s how he does it: data of the reality. Jesus stated, “You’ll know the reality, and the reality will set you free” (John 8:32).
Let me preserve studying 2 Timothy; I ended in the course of verse 26. “. . . they might come to their senses and escape from the snare of the satan, after being captured by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:26). How did he seize them? How did Devil seize them? By trapping them with lies, untruth. He persuaded them to consider a lie by placing lies of their hearts, by deceiving them that error is best than reality, sin is best than righteousness. The treatment, Paul says, is to talk the reality and present righteous love.
That’s precisely what we get in Ephesians 6:11–18. “Placed on the entire armor of God, that you just might be able to stand towards the schemes of the satan.” Then six items of armor are talked about, and 4 of the six relate on to reality, as a result of the schemes of the satan are lies, and we defend ourselves and others with the reality:
- belt of reality (Ephesians 6:14)
- sneakers of the gospel (Ephesians 6:15)
- sword of the Spirit, which is the phrase of God (Ephesians 6:17)
- defend of religion, which is religion within the phrase of God (Ephesians 6:16)
“Devil can put ideas in our minds, however God has given us all the things we have to acknowledge them and resign them.”
You will have the phrase of God in your hand like a sword, and you set the defend up, and also you belief the phrase of God, the reality.
Renouncing Devil’s Lies
I feel the reply to Garrick’s query is fairly clear. Sure, Devil can put ideas in our minds, however God has given us all the things we have to acknowledge them and resign them. Listed below are the questions I feel we have to ask of each thought that comes into our thoughts.
- Is that this thought false to Scripture?
- Is that this thought false to the glory of Christ?
- Is that this thought false to Christ-honoring love for others?
- Is that this thought false to purity?
- Is that this thought serving to make sin engaging and to make holiness unattractive?
If the reply to any of these questions is sure, then we keep in mind Revelation 12:11, the place John says, “They’ve conquered [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the phrase of their testimony, for they liked not their lives even unto demise.” In different phrases, we flip to Christ, who liked us and gave himself for us, and we seize treasured guarantees that he’s given of his superior price and helpfulness, and we testify to Devil, “Christ is my reality. Christ is my treasure. Be gone!” And we flip and we stroll with Christ within the reality.