Satan is the father of lies. He is wily and cunning in how he lies. He attacks where we least expect.
The first human friendship started great, but feel fast. Satan came to tempt Adam and Eve. Satan’s loves to drive a wedge between God and His people.
Satan attacked by addressing Eve rather than Adam. Adam had been made first and was to be the spiritual leader. (See 1 Corinthians 11:3, Ephesians 5:22-33, and 1 Timothy 2:12-14.)
Satan bypassed God’s plan. The couple fell into the trap. Eve answered. Adam stayed silent and passive. He did not lead, guide and protect.
Eve responded pretty well. But Satan pressed the issue. His deception was at least two fold. He implied that God wasn’t trustworthy. He also convinced them they needed something more than God had given. They were lacking. She took fruit. They both bought the lie and bit the fruit.
After she ate she gave the fruit to Adam. He ate as well. They both sinned. Satan used Eve to help tempt Adam. This reality will show up in your marriage and other close friendships as well. Satan knows that temptations are more powerful when they come through the ones we love and trust the most. He will use our spouse or parents or friends against us if he can.
Matthew Henry says, “It’s the subtlety of Satan to send temptation to us by the unsuspected hands of our dearest and best friends…We should learn to know the devil’s voice when he speaks in a saint.” Who is a dearer friend than our spouse?
Adam and Eve had been naked and unashamed but shame came crashing in. They broke God’s law. They were now broken and sinful. They felt this and cringed.
Another goal of Satan is to drive a wedge between marriages and friendships. Nothing does this as quickly as when we sin against one another. Adam didn’t protect Eve. Eve tempted Adam. Now they did not trust one another. They tried in their own strength to cover their shame. It didn’t work. It never does.
The freedom they had enjoyed was gone. Trust was shattered. Intimacy had reigned. Now questions, concerns and suspicions loomed. Do you feel that in marriage? Most do at times.
Sin separates us from our spouse, friends and God. God, in mercy came to pursue them in the garden. But they ran and hid, filled with sinful fear. So do we.
God began to question them. They turned on one another. Adam blamed Eve. Eve blamed Satan.
Satan can whisper lies into our minds. (See Acts 5:1-3, 9.) Satan lied to Ananias convincing him that it was a good idea to lie to the apostles and to God. His wife was also involved. She agreed with the idea. Satan probably used her to help influence Ananias to lie, or vice versa. Maybe he used each of them to convince the other one. It’s easier to justify sin when others are doing it.
Let me share an example. I have a friend who grew up wrestling. He remembers being in match he was losing. His dad was screaming at him to do his best. As a child he was thinking, “I am doing my best. And it’s just not good enough.”
Satan loves to lie to us about God and about ourselves. He loves to make us feel like we need to hide behind our own fig leave righteousness. He loves to remind us of our shame and our sin. See Zechariah 3:1.
My friend began to often feel like his best was never enough no matter what. This played out at home and in sports. Later it played out in his job situation. Today it plays out in his marriage.
Sometimes his wife complains about how much money he makes. He doesn’t hear that as a simple complaint. It touches something deeper. A lie that has been branded onto his soul: “Your best is never enough.” He feels condemned. Even if his wife just reminds him to take the trash out it can strike a chord deep in his soul that makes him feel ashamed and defeated. It can lead to heated arguments. The wife may think they are talking about chores, but he is wrestling with deeper truth and lies. Have you ever felt that way? Has it ever seemed Satan was using your spouse’s words to twist the knife a little deeper into your heart?
I read an article years ago about how entrepreneurs struggle with depression. It stated “An ugly mantra cycled through his head: He was letting down his employees, his investors, his family” What ugly mantras cycle through your head? Have you ever thought maybe Satan is influencing them?
Take some time to read Job 1-2. Especially compare Job 2:3, 5 and 9. Job’s wife seems to mimic the language of Satan in the heavenly court. Somehow he influenced her as he went after Job. Is Satan ever using us to be his mouthpiece in some else’s life?
Read Matthew 16:21-23. Jesus realized that Peter unwittingly was being used by Satan to tempt him. We must constantly set our minds on the things of God so that we don’t become a stumbling block for a loved one.
My wife and I got into an argument not too long ago. I thought it was all about miscommunication. Maybe she didn’t hear me or understand. Or maybe I hadn’t led well or communicated clearly.
But in the midst of it I realized something much deeper was happening. She didn’t feel valued by me. This was something she had felt from different people at different times going back to her childhood. I was unwittingly being a pawn of Satan to make her feel unloved and unimportant.
Once I saw that it instantly changed my perspective and communication. I apologized and started speaking to her heart and feelings, rather than to her logic only. I reaffirmed her of my love and of her great value to me. The problem cleared up quickly.
I used to play a game called Red Rover as a kid. A group of kids would stand side by side with arms linked and say, “Red Rover, Red Rover, send Jo right over!” Jo would run as hard and as fast as he could and try to break through two kids who tried to keep their arms linked together. That’s a good picture of marriage and friendships today in the church.
Satan wants to drive a wedge between you and God but also between you and your Christian friends. When conflict in marriage or friendship arises we naturally see our friend as the enemy. We want to protect ourselves and land the first verbal punch. We are quick to make assertions that accuse them and vindicate ourselves. This never works out well.
If we can begin to see every fight as Satan trying to sow seeds of discord between us, we can turn the tables on him. Like the kids in “Red Rover” we should lock arms with our friends and face the true enemy, sin and Satan. We should seek to listen and understand and gently speak the truth into the souls of one another.
Our goal ultimately should always be to remind one another that our fig leaf efforts of self-righteousness will never be enough. Our only hope is to look to the covering provided for us at the cross. If we lock arms together to fight Satan’s lies, we will have a better chance of turning our eyes away from the faults of our friends and back to Calvary, where there is love, mercy, truth and grace to defeat Satan and sin, and to protect our friendships.