Learn Satan’s Poker Tell for Condemnation

Learn Satan’s Poker Tell for Condemnation

Romans 8:1 – There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 

Revelation 12:10–11 – …the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…

I have never been a big fan of playing board games or cards. My wife Grace and our five kids, however, have always enjoyed both. So, I’ve played my share of both over the years. To be honest, I’m not very good at playing most games. So, as an alternative strategy I started learning to play the other players more than the games. Tired of losing every single time we played anything, I started looking for clues in Grace and the kids that would tip me off as to how they were faring. One of our kids would smile from ear to ear when things turned in his favor, another started getting very chatty, and yet another would downplay their hope of winning the game.

In life, Satan is always seeking to defeat God’s people in the spiritual version of a poker game. He wants to rob you of precious resources like joy, peace, and hope. Satan does this by seeking to accuse us of sins that we should not be defeated by because we either did not commit them or because we have repented of them to Jesus who died for them. Either way, he does not have the upper hand so long as we play our cards right.

Some Christians so want to hear from God, repent of their sin, and do the right thing that Satan bluffs and pretends to be God. Thankfully, like a bad poker player, he has a tell that, once learned, can help you know his tactics and defeat his terror.

When we speak to ourselves, or of ourselves, we tend to do so in the first person “I”. For example, I am writing this daily devotional while seated next to my wife Grace on a flight back from a few days on the beach in Florida. Our car ride to the airport lasted a few hours during which time I told her what I enjoyed most in our time together and what I needed to get done when we got home. In our car ride conversation, when I spoke of her, I said the word “you” to differentiate between the two of us. Obviously, Grace could tell when I was speaking of myself versus her because I was visible in the car and using different words to refer to myself versus her.

Satan and demons are also people in your life. The problem is, unlike human beings, these divine beings are unseen. So, when they speak, we can wrongly assume that either God is speaking to us or that we are speaking to ourselves. Satan’s poker tell is often the word “you”. For example, when Satan attacked Adam and Eve, he said, “you will be like God”. When attacking Jesus, Satan said, “if you are the Son of God”. When you hear the word “you”, it is a clue that someone else is speaking to you. If no physical being is present, then it is most likely God or a servant of Satan. Satan hopes that you will simply assume it is God condemning and accusing you or that you have a low self-image and negative self-talk. The truth is you might be undergoing demonic attack. Over the course of 25-plus years as a senior pastor, I cannot count the long list of meetings I have had with people who tell me horrible things that they think about themselves.

“I am unloved.”

“God cannot forgive me.”

“I can never change.”

“I am worthless.”

“I should kill myself.”

I then ask them to tell me exactly what they are hearing or thinking in their mind before they speak it to me. Often, there is a subtle but sly difference.

“You are unloved.”

“God cannot forgive you.”

“You can never change.”

“You are worthless.”

“You should kill yourself.”

What these dear people are doing is having the Accuser attack them and then they translate what he says into their own words and lie to and condemn themselves. Such statements are not truths but lies from the Father of Lies, and when we reject the truth and replace it with the truth of what God’s Word says, we experience what Jesus promised saying that we can know the truth and that knowing the truth sets us free!

What most powerful condemning lies do you hear from the Accuser? What does the truth of God’s Word say about these lies?

To find the new, free Romans 6-11 digital study guide for individuals and small groups, hear Pastor Mark’s entire sermon series on Romans, or find a free mountain of Bible teaching visit realfaith.com or download the Real Faith app.

Mark Driscoll
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