Satan and Demons: How does Satan attack our identity?
What you do flows from who you are. As Christians, we live from our identity, not for our identity. We are defined by who we are in Christ, not what we do or fail to do for Christ. Christ defines who we are by who He is and what He’s done for us, in us, and through us. Understanding this information is the key to your transformation. When you know who you are, you know how to live. Only if your identity is rooted in your relationship with God above the ever-changing circumstances of your life can your identity be life-proof and get you through any and every situation.
Satan declares war on our identity because he knows it is perhaps the surest way to wreck the relationship between us and our God. Satan refused to accept his God-given identity and instead sought to form a new identity apart from God. He tempts us to do the same, which is demonic. God created you with an identity, and Satan wants you to instead live out of some counterfeit identity.
The demonic war on identity started when our first parents, Adam and Eve, encountered the serpent who was “more crafty” than anything else made by God. (1) The serpent started by attacking the very identity of God, “But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’” (2)
As a Christian, you must base your identity upon two things, perhaps the most important things you can learn studying the Bible: (1) who God really is and (2) who God says you really are. It is no surprise that demonic attack starts on those two fronts with Satan giving a counterfeit identity for God and you. If you have a wrong view of God, and/or who you are in relation to God, then everything in your life spins out of control, as it did for Adam and Eve.
Satan wanted them to achieve an identity by rebellion and living apart from God so that, “you will be like God.” Just prior, “God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness’…So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (3) God made us in His “likeness” and all we need to do is receive this identity. When Satan tempted our first parents to become “like God” he was lying because they were already made in God’s likeness and all they needed to do was trust that fact by faith.
Satan tried this same trick on Jesus. Luke 4:1–13 says Jesus spent forty days, “being tempted by the devil.” Then, “The devil said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God’”. Satan was attacking Jesus’ identity as the Son of God. Just prior, at Jesus’ baptism, God the Father said, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (4)
There is no authority in all of creation equal or superior to God the Father. When He says Jesus is the Son of God, that is a forever fact. With the Trinity present at Jesus’ baptism, the Holy Spirit comes down to empower Jesus to live out His God-given identity and now does the same for Christians.
Do you also see how Jesus would work from the identity received from the Father and not work for an identity achieved by himself? Before Jesus preached a sermon, performed a miracle, or cast out a demon, the Father was “well pleased” with Him. The same is true of you. You are a child of God, and that identity is secure. You can work from that identity with joy and gladness, knowing the Father’s love is secure.
Demonic forces frequently attack Christians in the area of their identity, but most of us are unaware of it. Like a poker player with a “tell,” Satan’s subtle behavior is detectable. When speaking to Adam, Jesus, and you, the demonic realm speaks in the second person word you. To Adam and Eve, Satan said, “You will not surely die,” and “you will be like God.” When speaking to Jesus, Satan said twice, “If you are the Son of God.”
When you speak of yourself, you use the first-person pronoun “I.” When someone else speaks to you, they use the second person pronoun “you”. When a physical being talks to us in the second person, we easily recognize that we are being spoken to by someone else. But when a spiritual being talks to us in the second person, we have to decide if we are hearing from God or the devil and his demons. Sometimes, when a demon does speak to us, we can easily overlook the fact that we are being spoken to by a demon because they are unseen.
Here are some examples of common attacks on the identity of believers by Satan which are counterfeit lies seeking to undermine the truth of who God says His people are:
- You are worthless.
- You are a failure.
- You got what you deserved.
- You will never change.
- You are hopeless.
- You are disgusting.
- You are not a real Christian.
- God is sick of you.
- If people knew what you were really like, they would all hate you.
- You are probably going to hell.
- You should kill yourself.
These sorts of things are demonic. Our Father does not say things like this to any of His kids.
Tragically, some people overlook the demonic and think they are saying awful things to themselves. They wrongly assume negative self-talk and a low self-image when the truth is, they are under attack. This leads to self-contempt.
Even worse, some people confuse the demonic messages as a Word from God. This leads to God-contempt, as Satan is so tricky that he will try to get you to believe that his attack is actually from your heavenly Father.
When you receive a message regarding your identity in the second person, you need to test it by the Word of God. Jesus did this. When Satan attacked Jesus’ identity, He kept quoting Scripture because truth casts out lies and light casts out darkness. Jesus kept saying, “It is written…” and quoting Scripture. Jesus did not get defensive or coerced into an argument. Jesus let the battle be between the enemy of God and the Word of God because that’s a battle that the Word always wins.
If you forget this when the enemy attacks your identity, you will end up like the sad story of Gladys. You will have a God who loves you and is present with you every day like a husband, but you will not remember who He is or who you are.
(1) Genesis 3:1
(2) Genesis 3:4-5
(3) Genesis 1:26
(4) Luke 3:22