Is it God, Satan, or Just Me?

Have you ever asked yourself the question? “Is this the devil tempting me, God testing me, or is it just me?”

Well, that’s the question that we’re going to answer 1 Peter, 5:8 reminds us to “be vigilant because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion seeking, whom he can devour.”

And there is no doubt that the enemy’s purpose has always and always will be the same to kill, steal, and destroy. So it is wise for us as believers to always be armed to resist and fight against his schemes. But the trials and the troubles that we go through in this life can be many. And many times they can be intense. So how do we know if it’s the devil attacking, God refining, or a result of the consequence of our sin?

And if we don’t carefully discern the difference, the plan that we put in place could be completely fruitless at best and at worst, get us actually into deeper trouble.

So let’s talk today about how to discern whether your troubles are from God, the devil, or just you.

So let’s start with God. There are two extreme schools of thought when it comes to the troubles of God. Some will say that the bad things that happen to people in life are a direct result of sin and usually their sin. You have trouble you must have done something wrong somewhere along the line to deserve it. And to think to this extreme actually removes God’s grace and mercy. The other group will say that because God is love that he doesn’t want to see us in pain or discomfort.

So, therefore, there is no way that this could be coming from God. To think to this extreme actually removes God’s justice and righteousness. You see Jesus was clear in John 16:33 when he said, “I have said these things to you that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.”

It is, however, difficult to see that some of our let’s call them issues, could be from God, meaning that he is actually orchestrating this on purpose. But if we believe that God is good and He wants nothing but good for our lives, then it is reasonable to assume that He would sometimes bring us through challenges that can lead us to greater victory.

How is their victory without a challenge? How is there a mountaintop without a valley? How is their faith with no trial?

God can and will use testing in trials for a number of reasons.

The least of which is to grow you in godly character and grow your faith in Him. Not too long ago, asked me how to rebuke the devil for bringing all these toxic people into her life. And what she failed to recognize is that it was God actually putting her in those situations to strengthen and grow her. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 reminds us to “be thankful in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”

So what’s the solution? If you want to be in the perfect will of God don’t rebuke God’s correction, discipline, and direction instead submit yourself to it. He is Sovereign, He can be trusted and be thankful. No, you don’t have to pretend to be happy about the circumstances. But you can rejoice in knowing that He will use whatever you’re going through for your good and for His glory.

The next is the flesh. Did you know that it’s the flesh that causes people to backslide?

Matthew 26:41 reminds us that “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Now, this is not to say that it’s an excuse because we are commanded to subdue our flesh. We are reminded in Romans, 8:13 that, “if we live by the flesh, we will die.” And we have been given power over the flesh and oftentimes people will blame their flesh fleshly struggles on demonic activity. The Devil is attacking me. They say I’m under a severe assault, they assume. So they come for deliverance. But the truth is, you can’t cast out a demon you keep inviting in. When you give in to the flesh, it’s your choice. If you have an anger issue that you just keep justifying. It’s not a demon my friend, that’s you. Struggling with lust that you really really don’t want to let go of. That’s not the devil. That’s the flesh. The flesh says I want this to stop but doesn’t really want to give it up. 

Addiction, unforgiveness, sexual immorality, when it’s the flesh. It’s not willing to let go of it. You almost like it. You don’t want to like it but you like it. So my friend you can’t cast out a friend you keep inviting in. The difference between the devil and the flesh is the flesh is driven by desire.

The devil is driven by demand and how often use your desires to place the demand. I have to versus I want to and all those people that are out in the clubs, every weekend, getting high and getting drunk, are they driven by demons some maybe, but many actually want to be there. They post how excited they are for the next party on social media. They invite their friends. You see this my friends is the work of the flesh and I don’t get me wrong all sinful options are Satan’s handiwork, but the question is, “Are you interested? Things of this world, the things that Satan brings to you, they don’t satisfy true followers of Christ anymore. And have you noticed that since you’ve come to Christ, your desires for things of this world, grow less and less? That’s the way it should be. That’s the spiritual growth that is taking place inside of you.

1 Peter 2:10-11 tells us “dear friends I warn you as temporary residents and foreigners to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.” 

The things that are in your character that you need to subdue, are anger, lust, greed, desire, impatience, avoidance, control,  timidity, manipulation, just to name a few. You need to take dominion over these fleshly areas before you actually give the devil a foothold.

And that’s why James 4:7 is so simple and so clear and its mandate “submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee.” You see addictions don’t happen, overnight, sexual immorality doesn’t happen in one day. Full-blown lying, cheating, stealing, these things don’t happen overnight. It all starts with a fleshly temptation. Now you give in to that and you open the door for the devil keep giving in to that and you open the door for even more demons. So what is the solution for the flesh. Its crucifixion. This comes through repentance and repentance is true remorse, not a continued justification for ungodly behavior, but it is a turning, a complete turning from it.

Turning is a fleeing in the complete opposite direction and your flesh cannot be cast out. It must be crucified.

Now the next is the devil. Think of the devil as an unwanted guest and unwanted guests tend to bring other unwanted guests. So when the devil is at work in your life, you will feel a constant tempting, pressing, and pushing. He will come in with desires that are in stark contrast to the word of God, but because he’s not stupid he knows how to package his lies and temptations. He delivers them in one of two ways that makes the believer, much more susceptible.

#1 – He’s going to package his lies in your desires. He makes it look like that, man that you were just praying for is now here to make all of your dreams come true, and then he pressures you with things like, oh I better act on this now, or I might miss out.  

#2 – He packages his lies in some truth.  Satan isn’t going to come at you with a blatant lie. You’re going to detect that from a mile away. Instead, he will wrap his lies in some truth. Much like he tried to do with Jesus in the desert. He used scripture verbatim I might add, if you don’t know the truth for yourself, my friend, you may end up with one of Satan’s trojan horses. Once in, he’s going to look to take over now. How do you know if Satan and his demons are at work in your life? Well for starters, you’re in confusion, perhaps, you have peace, one minute, and then you don’t the next. Or perhaps you have peace about one thing and then it flip-flops back and forth to having peace about something else.

You see Satan is the author of confusion and if you are struggling with a temptation addiction, a mindset of behavior that you can’t seem to stop, no matter how hard you try, no matter how much you pray there is likely the force of a demon behind it. And if bad things are happening to you in rapid succession through, no, fault of your own and we’ll talk about the consequence consequences of sin in a bit. Then this could be the work of a demon.

And if you find yourself doing and saying things that are out of your character and prayer and counseling and submission don’t seem to help my friend, you could be struggling with a demonic influence in your life. He uses deception and deviation. So what is the solution? Cast him out and resist his future attempts. When the devil is hard at work in your life. Do not give him a foothold instead. Apply James 4:7 submit yourselves to God, “resist the devil and he will flee.”

If however, you have already given access to demons knowingly or unknowingly, you have the authority to cast them out. Luke 10:19 reminds us that “I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall hurt you.”  Jesus said this, Get deliverance, my friend. 

For more information on how to be free from demons I want to invite you to stay with us in this series, on spiritual warfare. We’re going to be talking about how demons enter, whether you have a demon, and how to get rid of them. Look in this life you will have trouble. Being able to discern where this trouble is coming from can be the difference between freedom and frustration.

If God is operating in your life. Let him have his way. If it’s your flesh ruling, bring it under subjection to God and crucify it. If it’s the devil cast them out in the mighty name of Jesus. You see Jesus came so that we could have life and have it in abundance.

If you are struggling in your faith, or you want to grow in your faith. I want to invite you to join us for a Free Five-day Mountain Moving Faith Devotional. It is an email series that’ll get sent directly to your inbox.

Remember all things are possible with God.

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