How to Recognize and Reject the Devil’s Voice

Patrick MorleyBy Patrick Morley9 Minutes

Excerpt Taken from The Four Voices: Taking Control of the Conversation in Your Head by Patrick Morley


How to Recognize and Reject the Devil’s Voice

The best weapon we have is the Word of God. We know this because when Jesus interacted directly with Satan, Scripture rendered the devil completely powerless. The story begins like this:

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
                                                  —Matthew 4:1

The same Holy Spirit who is in you actually orchestrated Jesus’ temptations! Why? To teach us by example how we can reject temptation and sin.

Did Jesus need to be tempted? No, but because He was “tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin,” He understands what you are going through (Hebrews 4:15).

The devil tempted Jesus three different ways.

Temptation 1: Take Matters into Your Own Hands

After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
                                                  —Matthew 4:2-3

Jesus was hungry. Obviously. Human Jesus would have felt a strong desire for food. But Satan doesn’t limit temptations to food; it could be money, sex, or appreciation, for example. Satan can tempt you to take matters into your own hands wherever you have an unmet need or unsatisfied desire.

Satan tried to get Jesus to take matters into His own hands by appealing to pride. “If you’re such a big deal, prove it. Show us what you’ve got.”

Anyone who has ever watched a college football game with players’ tempers flaring knows that a man’s pride is often his weak point, and it’s the easiest way to get inside an opponent’s head.

Jesus shows us the key to recognizing and rejecting the devil’s voice when the devil is inciting your pride.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
                                                  —Matthew 4:4

The first principle to defeat the devil’s voice is, “We live by the Word of God.”

Whether it’s food, love, sex, money, power, or putting a competitor in his place, when Satan tempts you to take matters into your own hands, first ask, “What does God’s Word say?”

Temptation 2: Put Yourself in a Position That Requires a Miracle

The second temptation of Jesus took place when the devil took Him to stand at the highest point of the temple in the holy city:

“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
                                                  —Matthew 4:6

The devil is very clever. After Jesus appealed to Scripture to defend against him, Satan adapted his second temptation to also appeal to Scripture. One of the easiest ways to deceive someone is to pretend to be of the same party. I hope you understand the devil can out-quote you on Scripture all day long!

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
                                                  —Matthew 4:7

The second principle to defeat the voice of the devil is, “We don’t test God.”

Suppose you abuse your body—the current temple of the Holy Spirit—with junk food and no exercise, and then you pray for good health. That can easily be compared to jumping off a ten-story temple and expecting God to save you.

When tempted to engage in risky behavior, first ask, “Am I putting myself in a position that will require a miracle by God to get me out of it?”

Temptation 3: Sell Your Soul

The third temptation is caricatured in thousands of books, films, and jokes—selling your soul to the devil in exchange for power, applause, fame, or fortune.

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give to you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
                                                  —Matthew 4:8-9

It’s doubtful the devil could or would keep this promise, or that it would be worth it if he did. But even if he could, would it really be worth the price of your soul?

When he was a student, author Ken Myers used to buy watery instant coffee out of a machine every day on his way to class. One day, a friend fixed him a cup of freshly brewed coffee. Believe it or not, he didn’t like it at first because he was so used to the cheap imitation. Only later did he realize what he had been missing.12

Similarly, the world has a lot to offer, but to prefer the world is like drinking instant coffee from a cardboard cup. The cheap imitation is no comparison to the satisfaction that comes from worshipping and serving God.

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”
                                                  —Matthew 4:10

The third principle to defeat the voice of the devil is to rebuke him directly with: “We worship God and serve Him only.”

How do we rebuke the voice of the devil? Jesus set an example for us to follow: Three times Jesus was tempted and three times He quoted Scripture to the devil.

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
                                                  —Matthew 4:11

The weapon of quoting Scripture enables the well-armed believer to easily reject the voice of this washed-up angel and render him powerless.