ONLINE BIBLE STUDY FOR WEEK 19 (09-05-16)

May 13, 2016

TOPIC: CHRISTIAN CHARACTER

 

QUESTION: CAN THE DEVIL READ OUR MINDS?

 

Study References: John 2:25, Matthew 9:4, John 6:64.

 

Can Satan read our minds? No. Satan is not omnipresent, he cannot be in more than one place at a time. Only God is everywhere, and only God knows everything while Satan must rely on his army of demons to do his bidding. Bible says in Matthew 9:4; "But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, "Why are you thinking evil in your hearts?"

 

The word of God reads and judges our thoughts and attitudes. Everything we think can be clearly seen by him. In the book of Hebrews, the apostle Paul states that God's spirit can find out all of the thoughts and desires of our hearts. Absolutely nothing is hidden from the Great God (Hebrews 4:12 - 13).

 

The devil knows how humans think, he knows the weaknesses of human beings and therefore knows how to tempt us. Jesus referred to this commonality of thinking when he rebuked Peter at a moment when the devil was influencing him to think and say certain things. Peter, upon hearing Christ say he must be put to death in Jerusalem by the religious leaders, began to correct him! Jesus did not hesitate to answer what was being said. "Get away from me, Satan! You are an obstacle in my way, because these thoughts of yours don’t come from God, but from human nature." (Matthew 16:23)

 

The devil cannot and doesn't not know our innermost thoughts. He simply can't read our minds, otherwise, he would not have wasted his energy trying to tempt Job (Job 1:6-12), or even Jesus when he was a flesh and blood human (Matthew 4:1-11). The devil certainly does have the power to deceive those who do not follow God.

 

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that set itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NIV)

 

While we would greatly overestimate Satan's power by supposing that he can interact directly with us in a physical sense, an equal and opposite error would be to suppose that he does not have access to our minds.

 

First, while Satan cannot read our minds, he can influence our thoughts. Thus, the Bible instructs us to "put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes" (Ephesians. 6:11 NIV). Without it, you are a guaranteed casualty in the invisible war; with it, you are invincible. Spiritual warfare is waged against invisible beings that personify the extremities of evil; and their weapons are spiritual, not physical. While they cannot bite us physically, violate us sexually, or cause us to levitate, they can tempt us to cheat, steal, and lie.

 

Furthermore, it is crucial to note that if we open the door to Satan by failing to put on the full armor of God, he does, as it were, sit on our shoulders and whisper into our ears. The whisper cannot be discerned with the physical ear; it can, however, penetrate "the ear" of the mind. If it were not so, the Devil could not have tempted Judas to betray his Master, seduced Ananias and Sapphire to deceive Peter, or incited David to take a census.

 

Finally, while fallen angels are not material beings and thus cannot interact with us directly in the physical sense, they are as real as the very flesh on our bones. No doubt much to the Devil's delight we often depict him as either a cartoon clown with an elongated tail, red tights and a pitchfork or as a cultural caricature. Far from silly or stupid, however, Satan appears as a cosmopolitan angel of enlightenment. He knows full well that without our spiritual armor we are but pawns in a devil's game.

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