Thoughts and feelings from the enemy
They demonstrate his character. He is a clever, cunning liar. He’s a liar, cheat, and thief come to kill & destroy [John 10:10].
…the devil… 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 niv]
His primary tool is the flesh. [galatians 5:19–21]
…works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery (power through drugs), hatred, contentions, cliques, nationalism, political parties, jealousies, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like…
Often thoughts from God will pop into to your mind fully formed. Of course, the enemy’s insinuations can do that also. But he normally tries to slip in as one of your own personal thoughts. His ideas usually have a nasty, pushy edge. The enemy often tries to insist that you make a decision immediately. He doesn’t allow time for confirmation.
There are several things that you can use to instantly identify thoughts from the enemy:
- Fear: God does not ever use fear. He is perfect love and that kind of love eliminates all fear.
- Accusation: One the names of Satan is the accuser of the brethren. The creep and his minions are constantly trying to bring you down, make you feel bad, convince you of your worthlessness, bring you into panic. It’s his favorite weapon after fear.
- Irrational fear, unease, panic: Often the thoughts of Satan have no basis in reality but are simply there to confuse and harm you.
- Urgency: He knows that he can get you to do really ungodly, sinful things if he can get you to react without thought, prayer, or discernment. Surprise, shock, and the like are common weapons.
One good thing about discerning thoughts from the enemy is that he really thinks you are stupid. He will do the same things over and over. Often it is just because he is not creative like God is. Almost all of his attacks are counterfeits of real things of God.
Sometimes he is just trying to wear you down. He will attack you when you are tired or when you are involved with life and busy. This is especially true if you have let your spiritual life take second place, your Bible study time is postponed, your prayer life is almost nonexistent, and so on. Then he will move in to pull or push you away from God. He is always looking for opportunities to kill or destroy you. His only hope is to kill you in a state of unbelief. You must remember what Peter warned us about:
Be sober-minded be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. [1 Peter 5:8 esv]
Counterfeits to watch for
- Excitement for joy
- Sex for love
- Politics for leadership
- The economy for the abundant life: the economic system replaces God’s system of giving and sharing
- Entertainment for worship and testimony: This is even true of most “worship bands” in modern churches today
- Fashion for beauty
- Style for character
Peter explained this best when talking to women
Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear (dcb: style) but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious (dcb: character). [1 Peter 3:3–4 esv]
This list goes on and on. You can add those you notice as you gain experience. One of our favorite priests (the man we served under when we were first married) often started sermons by opening the newspaper and saying, “Let’s see what the devil is up to today.”
…Satan, the ruler of this world [dcb:system]… [John 12:31]
The world system is controlled the Satan. Jesus told us that. He developed the world systems like economics, politics, government, entertainment, education, and so on. Certainly you’ll agree these do not help us lead Godly lives. Our lives as believers are constant warfare against that system.
A modern term to help us identify Satan and his works is edgy. The term is slang and supposed to mean exciting; daringly innovative; on the cutting edge. It also implies radically stylish, breaking the rules, and pushing the limits. We quickly see that things which are truly edgy are always from the enemy. They glorify sin, self-indulgence, inappropriateness, and so on. That edginess is the hint (or more) of evil. One of the signs that a Christian artist or musician is truly from the Lord is that he or she will never really be able to pull off edgy. That nasty edge is not possible under the anointing for nasty or lawlessness are not fruits of the spirit. Exciting is a worldly thing.
Attacks from people
Satan hates the people of God, but he knows those who are faking it and look like a child of God. He can use them freely in his attacks on you because they have no defenses against him. He can easily use any one to attack you who doesn’t know Jesus because of the lack of defenses or awareness on their part.
Pray against the attacks from the enemy, do not pray against the people.