Monday, February 16, 2009

How Does Satan 'Speak' to Us?

An interesting subject came up in one of our Sunday School classes yesterday concerning how Satan influences us. The idea that was expressed was that Satan may be able to 'put thoughts into our minds' as a way of trying to influence our behavior. This raised some concern over how much control Satan has over a Christian and how much personal responsibility we bear for our own actions. Let me share my reply:

This is a tough one, but let me take a stab at it:

I think we have to realize that Satan is a spiritual being. He exists and functions in the same realm as the angels do (Job 1:6). As such, we can't always see him and we can't "hear" him when he speaks to us. But he does speak to us (Matt 4:1-10), influence us (Acts 5:3, 1Thess 2:18), has power (2 Thess 2:9), can tempt us to act on his behalf (Matt 16:23). He can do all these things without physically revealing himself. It would be a mistake to under estimate him.

It would be just as big a mistake to over estimate him, as well. Scripture demonstrates, time and time again, that we are personally responsible for our own actions and cannot blame Satan. Acts 5:1-10 is a prime example of how the consequences for our actions fall to us and not on Satan.

Scripture is replete with instances in which Satan tempts believers, but does not have ultimate control over them. They are individually responsible for their own actions and "The Devil made me do it." is not an excuse.

The bottom line? We have to understand that Satan does communicate with us. He may be able to "whisper" spiritually to us. He may be able to provoke, in some manner a thought or an idea. But, he does not have control over our minds or our bodies. This is why we are told to "take every thought captive" in 2Cor 10:5.

Finding appropriate nomenclature to express these concepts can be difficult. Did Satan "enter into" Peter's mind in Matt 16:22? Did he plant an idea? How did he influence Ananias and Sapphira who may very well have been saved (we don't know for sure but we have to assume they were part of the church).

How he tempts us and tries to deceive us is important to understand. Even more important, though is the full understanding that, no matter how Satan tries to influence us, it is ultimately our responsibility to behave in a godly and Scripturally correct manner.

In short, I don't believe Satan can "possess" (control) a true believer. But I do believe he can "oppress" (influence) him. In the final analysis, we each will answer for our own actions (Rom 14:10-14). This is why it is important for us to understand Scripture and apply it to every part of our daily lives.

If you have some input on any of this, let me know.


  1. I think this is a really good post... thank you!!

  2. I can truelly say from my own experienc that the enemy can put thoughts and suggestions in our minds. I have thoughts that I am ashamed of. The bible say,s that the heart is decietful who can know it. That why we must pray Thess. 3:3. That the Lord will keep us from evil. It's a continuous battle because His desire is to sift us as wheat. However, praying and staying in God's word even crying out to God for help is what we have to do. The word also says resist the devil and He will flee from you. Remember Ephesians6 put on your armour. But, I must say Jesus is faithful to His word. The word works. Don't give up. He loves ya.

  3. I find it hard to believe that satan or any of the fallen angels(demons) can put thoughts into our mind. We would be a mess. In my 40 plus years of being a spirit filled believer I cannot recall one instance where I was not responsible for the thoughts I have had. Some bad/wrong thoughts for sure but I have been subject to the influence of the world and my ear and eye gates are open to receive. I am responsible for bring all "my thoughts" captive particularly the ones I am ashamed of. God's word is truth and if we fill our minds with The Word and good and wholesome thoughts we will overcome the influences of the world which is satan's domain.

  4. I cannot find anywhere in scripture where the devil places thoughts in my mind to manipulate or influence me. All of the scriptures mentioned refer to influences caused by my own actions initiated by my own emotions. To say that the devil can speak in to or into my thoughts would be to insinuate he lives in me. According to John 14 it is the Holy Spirit; the only one who lives in me and not the other way around. Clearly, the works of the flesh is the only avenue for the devil to be able influence me. I must be possessed of the devil for the devil to speak in me or through me. Notice what Galatians 5:17 says about this topic: "For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want." Where in this scripture does it even mention the devil? No where. This is simply because the devil can only use what humans can surrender to him. Nothing else. Otherwise scripture would be very clear about that point as it is about Galatians 5.
    Respectfully, Rene'.