It is our responsibility to evaluate our own lives, to be aware of any positive transformations we need to make in our character, and to allow those changes to occur. This is how we strive to fulfill the verse in 1 Peter 1:15-16:
But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
Our character reflects who we are, what is in our hearts, and it is shown by how we treat our spouse. There are two characters in the Bible that are extremely opposite of each other. Their interactions told throughout scripture reflect the ancient battle of good vs. evil. The question is… which one are we like?
Do we reflect Christ’s character?
or dare I ask…
Do we reflect Satan’s character?
I hate to even mention the enemy’s name, but it is important that we recognize that there is evil and that we are capable of being like him because of sin. Now I have never thought to ever consider myself to be like the enemy because it is not who I want to be like. However, if I neglect to acknowledge what evil character looks like I may let it slip through my character unknowingly.
There are specifically two aspects of the enemy’s character that I want to expose so that we may all be aware of how he operates. Then I want you to evaluate your life and ask yourself if your are acting like Satan.
1. Satan Causes Doubt and Discourages
In Matthew 4:3 Satan says to Jesus:
“If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Jesus knows who He is, that He is the Son of God… Yet the enemy approaches Jesus and says “If you are…” The enemy was trying to make Jesus doubt who He is. The enemy even does it again in verse 6. Trying to get Jesus to doubt who God said He is, is discouragement!
Do we ever cause people to question who they are to God?
Or do we remind them often of who God says they are:
- Worthy Psalm 139:14
- Chosen Ephesians 1:4
- Accepted Romans 15:7
- Beautiful Ecclesiastes 3:11
Do we cause our spouse to question who they are to us?
I know that my husband is my husband because we got married and we entered into a covenant with God and each other. Yet when I say, “If you are my husband you would do this or be like that.” I am treating my husband just as the enemy treated Christ.
Are we causing doubt or are we being discouraging towards our spouse?
If we believe in God, a God of power, of miracles, and of unlimited resources, then we need to remain faithful and encourage those around us.
2. Satan Manipulates
There are two ways the enemy exercises manipulation; he uses scripture to try and get his way and he withholds. Lets look at how Satan quotes scripture to tempt Jesus.
“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
In this situation the enemy twists scripture and uses it as a tool to manipulate Jesus into doing something. Jesus was prepared for the what the enemy did and uses scripture to reinforce the truth.
How often do we use scripture to manipulate others into doing something?
Sometimes we use pieces of scripture out of context to prove a point or we are convinced it is wise advice, but if we stopped to question our motives we are actually being selfish and discouraging. I am not saying this happens all the time, but their are moments where we are led by our flesh and we use scripture to support our selfish motives. This is dangerous!
The enemy also manipulates by withholding. Look at Matthew 4:8-9,
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 you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Satan did have the right to give Jesus the kingdoms of the world because he became prince or ruler of the world when sin entered. The enemy withheld from Jesus, unless Jesus did something for him. The good news for that story is that Jesus knew He would earn what Satan was withholding when He died on the cross.
What are things that we might withhold from our spouse until they do something?
Some things may have popped in your mind right away such as sex, forgiveness, or compassion. We manipulate our spouse by withholding these things until we feel like our needs are met. This behavior reveals a character like Satan. We need to stop manipulating others.
Now that we have exposed ugly parts of Satan’s evil character, it is time for us to evaluate our lives and allow God to transform those parts of our character that discourage or manipulate others.
Does your character reflect Christ or Satan?
How do you treat your spouse?
Below is a guided prayer to ask God to change your behaviors and the motives of your heart… feel free to use it or pray your own prayer.
I truly believe as we strive to be more holy our marriages will benefit! We will see growth in our relationship with our spouse and we will experience extraordinary!
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for sharing with us your Holy Word so that we can understand you more. Thank you for your Son, who shows us how to be Holy like you. I pray that you would open my eyes and reveal to me if I discourage or manipulate others. Show me if I do this to my spouse. I pray that you would transform my character so that I do not discourage or manipulate anymore. I recognize that those are evil behaviors and that they hurt others. I am sorry for the sin in my life and I thank you for your forgiveness I pray specifically that you would help me to protect my marriage by not doing these things anymore. I submit my life to you in Jesus name AMEN!