In my last article I outlined how submitting to God is one of the keys to effectively resisting the devil. If we can’t submit to God we will not be able to stand against Satan, for our authority over the enemy is derived from our relationship with the Lord.
Another key to overcoming Satan is learning to recognize his voice. That’s right; we must learn to discern the voice of the devil. While growing in our ability to hear God’s voice is paramount, it is also important to detect when the enemy is speaking to us. This is something that we see in the life of Jesus.
Jesus Recognized Satan’s Voice
The gospels record that Jesus had a face-to-face confrontation with the devil in the wilderness for 40 days. During this time, Satan tried to tempt Him in various ways. Jesus overcame every temptation, but this was not the devil’s only attempt to bring the Son of God down. Luke 4:13 says this: “Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.” Satan didn’t give up after the 40 days; he looked for other opportunities to tempt Jesus.
One such occasion is addressed in Matthew 16:21-23:
From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
Satan was actually influencing the words of one of Jesus’ top disciples. A few verses earlier, Peter had a revelation from the Father about who Jesus was (see Matthew 16:16-17). But now, he was the mouthpiece of Satan! Jesus recognized that the enemy was speaking through His friend, and rejected the words outright.
Sometimes the devil will come in obvious ways, but many times it is subtle. He whispers lies, plants seeds of doubt, or tempts us away from the Lord’s plan; sometimes even through a well-meaning friend. Can you recognize his voice? If so, you can resist him and watch him flee. If not, you may come under the lies, temptations, and deceptions that he brings.
Learning to recognize the voice of our Good Shepherd is certainly more important than discerning our enemy’s voice. But as you discern the voice of Satan, you will be able to stand against him and overcome his schemes!