Summary: Part seven of this series focuses on how Satan tries to influence what we see and what God’s word says about us.
Painting God’s Masterpiece Part 7
In part six of my message last week, I talked about hope. I shared with you that hope allows us to see clearly what shall be – especially when we come into agreement with God that what has been is not what shall be. God has already put forth the image that He has of us, but unless we make the transition from wishing to hoping, we will not be able to fully understand that image or take the proper steps to bring the image into reality. The battle we are in is about the heart – where our beliefs are stored. God knows that once we accept and believe something with our hearts, we will act on it. Satan also understands this which is why he has worked so hard to blind us to who we really are in Christ. This morning we examine how Satan influences what we see and what God’s word has to say about us.
I. Satan’s Influences
We already know that Satan is our enemy and he especially loathes those who believe in God and try to live by His principles. One of the ways he attempts to blind us is by appearing as an angel of light – or as some would say, one who enlightens. We all know that the smarter each generation get, the weaker it become spiritually. The reason for this is that with the intelligence comes distain for God because everything that happens can be rationalized away. Satan uses man’s knowledge to his own advantage. Remember what happened in the Garden of Eden? Turn to Genesis 3:1-5.
Satan’s first appearance in Scripture was in the Garden of Eden. We have talked about what happened so many times that you know this story by heart. This morning as I read this, I want you to examine how Satan changes how Eve saw herself and God. Genesis 3:1-5 records this conversation between Satan and Eve: “……And he said to the woman, ‘Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?’ The woman said to the serpent, ‘From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’ The serpent said to the woman, ‘You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Notice here what Satan did. Eve originally saw herself as obeying God so she understood what she was not supposed to do. However, in talking with Satan, what she thought she understood was challenged and a convincing argument was made for her to turn her back on God. Satan convinced her that by doing what God had told her not to do she would actually be a better person and more like God Himself. She immediately began to see herself as being more like God versus what God had made her to be. It was no longer about walking with God and fulfilling what He had told her – it became about her fulfilling an image of what she now had in her mind that she could become. God had made them so that they would have lived forever, but they chose the “potential to become like God” over the promises of God. He had made them so that they would never experience sickness, yet they chose this potential versus being what God had made them to be. We continue to do this today. If I can see myself as being self-sufficient, why do I need to cry out to God? Do I not possess everything that I need to do whatever I need to do? It’s the same story, just a different chapter.
Once Adam and Eve sinned, it went down hill from there. Man became extremely evil because that is what they imagined. Genesis 6:5 records: “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Where did these thoughts and images originate? They originated in the heart. The battle is for our hearts. When God commanded Noah to build the ark, He did so after He noticed how sinful man had become. When the images in our hearts are evil, those are the images that we will carry out.
Satan wants to change how we process what we see so that he can influence what we take away from the image. He does not have to change the image, but just influence how we process what we see. I have shared with you before about the ten spies that Moses sent out to see the Promised Land. When they returned, they knew it was filled with milk and honey, but they could not see themselves taking the land. Satan did not change what they saw, he changed how they process the image. He took the inhabitants of the land and made them focus on the giants of the land versus the blessings that awaited them. Remember, these were the same men who witnessed God bringing them out of Egypt. These were the same men who crossed the Red Sea as Pharaoh’s chariots came rushing towards them. With everything they had witnessed, Satan was able to wipe it from their memory through fear. When they saw the giants, they became afraid and that fear was the only thing they could see. Satan did not change one physical thing about what they saw in the Promised Land or the memories of God’s deliverance. What he did was changed how they processed it by using fear as the mediator. Now here is where Satan gets really smart. When he cannot get us to fail on our own, he will use others to get us to fall or to change how we process what we see. The millions of Israelites who were awaiting the spies return were excited about the possibilities of finally entering the Promised Land. If the spies had told them it’s time, they would have entered in. However, Satan used these spies to kill the people’s excitement. This is something he does quite well using others to taint what God is revealing to us.