As we know, Satan has established an evil spiritual kingdom as a rival to God’s kingdom. He rules over fallen angels and demonic spirits and incites them to seek to establish footholds in our minds and hearts. Here are 3 common Satanic traps we need to both discern and avoid.
1. Disguises and Masquerade Parties
Falseness and deceit are part of the fallen human condition. Scripture warns us against status-seeking people within the church who claim to be more anointed and righteous than they really are, who masquerade as men and women of strength and integrity but who are nothing like that if you scratch the surface.
“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.” (2 Corinthians 11:13–15, nasb)
Believers who begin to live behind a false front soon lose their discernment. It happens with the shifting of their boundaries between truth and error. As soon as a person sees that they have managed to fool others—and the first time often feels so good—the boundaries of their conscience begin to shift. Truth becomes a relative thing. They reason their way into more deception without realizing what they’re doing.
The only way we can discern good from evil and light from dark is to reject our role-playing and to be so in tune with the real truth and source of light that, as a result, we can see, hear, feel, taste, smell, and know the difference. God’s light exposes the darkness. When we walk closely with the Holy Spirit, He helps us to detect disguises in ourselves and others, and He shows us how to be set free. He will enable us to distinguish the true light from the false version.
2. The Spirit of Leviathan (Pride)
The spirit of Leviathan partners with the political spirit, the religious spirit, the antichrist spirit, and other spirits to twist the truth and to make it palatable to susceptible saints. Pride can also interfere with communication by preventing hearers from understanding what someone is trying to say. Additionally, pride causes offense and breeds fear and overreaction. Prideful Leviathan is a formidable foe indeed (see Job 41:1–10 and Isaiah 27:1).
As the Scriptures tell us, pride always comes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18 nkjv). Yet sometimes it seems to take a long time for the fall to come. How does the Lord kill the dragon named Pride in us? The best way is for us to cooperate with Him in this process, allowing Him to search our hearts, so that the fall may be prevented and we can regain a clear spirit before Him. (See Psalm 139:23–24.)
Let us cooperate with God to kill the dragon named Pride in us, allowing Him to search our hearts, so that we can regain a clear spirit before Him. I pray, “Send Your light and grace, Lord! I humble myself before You. Help! I cannot help myself.” “But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble’” (James 4:6). God always shows grace-filled favor to the humble (1 Peter 5:5). This is the opposite of the fear and intimidation that comes from the spirit of pride.
3. The Spirit of Offense
The Greek word for “offend” comes from the word skandalon, which originally referred to the trigger of a trap, to which the bait was attached. Anything that offends us is in fact a trap that we must watch out for. Offenses pile up and become quarrels, and we almost always do not notice the trap early enough to avoid it, although we can learn to discern more clearly in order to walk more carefully.
People who are quarrelsome or adversarial have tripped the trap and become ensnared. What’s worse, as the offenses control them and their behavior toward others, they may not recognize the fact that they are being held prisoner to do the devil’s will (2 Timothy 2:24–26 nkjv).
Offended people fall into two major categories: (1) those who have been treated unjustly, and (2) those who believe with all their hearts that they have been wronged, judging by “assumption, appearance, and hearsay.” Either way, the only effective escape from the trap is not more agitation or argument but, again, forgiveness, total forgiveness.
This is why I pray the Lord’s Prayer almost every day, and when I come to the line, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” I think about my current relationships. Forgiveness works wonders to straighten me out. Only then can I overcome the enemy, hear God’s voice clearly again, and walk in the fullness of His will. Forgiveness, humiliating and even weak as it can seem, is a potent antidote to the demonic toxins that would otherwise bring us down to the enemy’s level.
Prayer of a Discerning Heart
Heavenly Father, may Your name be hallowed wherever I go as Your ambassador. I ask for wisdom beyond my years so that I can avoid the pitfalls of the enemy. Thank You for exposing his evil plots to my growing discernment. I lay down my masks and rest in Your presence. Search my heart and expose every hidden agenda to Your brilliant light. I give You permission to convict me of any way in which I have compromised with Satan. I surrender my past, present, and future into Your hands, Lord, and I pray for a higher degree of discernment as I walk through my days and nights. Help me to exercise Your kingdom authority and to dislodge any hindrances that block the way ahead. I praise Your name, Jesus, and I thank You. Amen.
Avoiding Satanic Traps!
James W. Goll
This article has been adapted from Chapter 10, “Staying Out of Satan’s Traps: Wisdom for Avoiding Common Pitfalls” in James Goll’s book The Discerner.
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