In 2007, I published a book titled Satan’s Top Ten Tricks. I haven’t kept very close track, but between Amazon.com, the Northland Church bookstore and two other independent bookstores I’ve sold a couple hundred copies. I’ve also given away several dozen. I have always felt that there were not near enough copies in circulation because I feel very strongly about the importance of shining light on the devil and his ploys.
My source material came from a class on spiritual warfare taught by Jim Kohlman at Northland in 1997, the sermons of Dr. Joel Hunter given at Northland between 1993 and 2005, and ideas gleaned from the writings of M. Scott Peck, C. S. Lewis, Neal Anderson and Francis Frangiapane. Also, my 40-years of experience as a licensed psychotherapist helped tremendously in understanding the unseen battleground that rages in our thought-life.
I characterize the role of demons and mega-demons (the powers and principalities of Ephesians 6:12) as primarily “voices” transmitted in our thoughts. Voices that tempt us, direct our focus or discourage us.
Make no mistake, Satan has many more tricks than ten. This past weekend Pastor Joel mentioned another trick that I could add to the list. He said, “Satan is going to make you think that you need, and not that you have much to give.”
I have found this to be tragically true. Most folks do not engage in ministry or mission work, or even witnessing, because they feel inadequate, they feel needy—they feel like they should be getting instead of giving—and they feel guilty about that. They’ve heeded Satan’s voice in their thoughts, and they feel paralyzed to act on doing good in the world.
This trick relates somewhat to Trick #4 in my book—the trick I title Hunger:
Number Four: Convincing us that our appetites, or our lust, must be continually fed: “If I run out of _______ (money, food, sex, drugs, etc.) my life will be over. I can’t live without ________, (fill in the blank) and so if I stop feeding my lust or hunger I must be dead. Therefore, I must keep feeding it to feel alive and whole.
Joel’s sermon caused me to reread parts of Satan’s Top Ten Tricks. I hadn’t looked at it in quite a while and some of the syntax I found cringe-worthy. I am a better writer today than I was ten years ago when I composed the manuscript. It caused me to think that perhaps I should rewrite it and publish a second edition. The thought of doing that work was overwhelming, kind of paralyzing—another demonic trick for sure.
My book as it stands is a pretty good book—it’s just not perfect. Now, the paralysis caused by perfectionism is a another whole trick in itself.