“And Jesus answered and said unto him, “Get thee behind me, Satan…” – Luke 4:8
Jesus recognized who it was that was addressing him and did not hesitate to call him by name. I wonder if you and I have the same discernment to recognize Satan as the author of a thought or suggestion that presents itself to us; and if so, do we have the same audacity to rebuke him for it? We should. The same Spirit of God that filled the Man, Christ Jesus and gave Him grace to overcome His Arch-enemy (4:1) abides within us too (Rom. 8:11). We may withstand that wicked one with the armor of defense that God has provided (Eph. 6); but there are times when we need to strike a personal, verbal blow to him, and the sharper our sword, the more debilitating the blow. In other words, the Word of God, our two-edged Sword is not only given to comfort and instruct us, but as a personal weapon of offense for the child of God living in enemy country. And it’s up to us to keep it in mint condition, sharpening it daily.
But I wonder if you ever noticed that our Lord spoke these same words later on in His earthly life, this time not to the devil, but to a friend: “But when he turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan…” (Mark 8:33a). Get this straight; no one loved the Lord more than Peter did, and no one agonized more when he failed Him. But when he rebuked Jesus for speaking of His already predicted death, Jesus recognized the words as coming straight from Satan through the mouth of his misguided, overzealous disciple. Just as “the Lord put a word in Balaam’s mouth” in Numbers twenty-three, Satan put a word in Peter’s mouth. His motivation may have been benign, but his reasoning was worldly, not spiritual, as the Lord pointed out in the rest of the verse. And Jesus recognized immediately the true source of those words. He’d heard him before.
Now, here’s something I think you and I should take away from this. Just because someone who loves us and only wants our best is speaking, we cannot rule out the possibility that the words are coming from Satan. I know this is “a hard saying,” but to think that our precious loved ones and friends are more dedicated to Jesus Christ than the apostle Peter was, is to be ignorant of Satan’s devices in the worst way (2 Cor. 2:11b). This is not to say that we should confront such an individual with the words of Jesus (!); but we can certainly pause, pray, discern, and if need be, strike a blow against the real author of the words, if not the mouth that spoke them. It’s too important. Today’s society considers interacting, intervening, and yes, intruding into the lives of those around us to be a virtue, the result being that advice is one of the easiest commodities to come by. And the greater the number of voices, the more likely you and I are to be bombarded with the wrong kind. The speaker may or may not be well meaning, but the fact remains, Satan is capable of using any one of them to get his diabolical message to us…even a friend or loved one.
Jacob accepted the words of a loved one because of his feelings…and was deceived. (Gen. 27:22)