Satan doesn’t want us to become Satan worshippers. He just wants us to be anything-but-God worshippers. He’s not even looking for us to consciously disobey God and say, “I’m done with this God fellow! The world is so much more fun without him!” We don’t have to dress all in black with capes and pentagram tattoos and sacrifice cattle and babies to please Satan and disobey God. Satan only wants to create enough doubt in our minds for a compromise, and that compromise almost always leads to disobedience.
When I was much younger, I knew there was only one path to heaven. I could point out verses in the Bible and show you, how God says right there that Jesus is the only way. Over the years, over time and conversations, I began to compromise what I knew to be true. I met dear friends who had zero belief in God, and rather than speaking the Gospel boldly, I conceded to their beliefs and attempted to fit theirs into mine. This usually looked something like, “Well God’s grace and mercy is so great I can’t even imagine it, so surely he would have grace for those people who die without knowing him. As long as they tried really hard and followed what they believed to be true, whatever religion or non-religion that may be, surely God’s mercy will rain down on them and we’ll all get to heaven through our chosen paths.”
Turns out, I know now that’s called Universalism and that God, as full of grace and mercy as he may be, is not a Universalist. But I compromised, one thought process at a time, and ended up a false prophet, telling other people that what they believed was okay with God as long as they followed those beliefs. I’ve had to repent from the damage I’d done, working against God. I wasn’t a Satan worshipper, but I was an others-worshipper, a Rebecca-worshipper, more concerned with other people thinking I was hateful or close-minded of offensive than whether I was accurately representing the Gospel.
All Satan wanted from me at that time was for me to doubt that God is who he says he is, that he’s said what he’s said, that I am what I am in him. If you go back and look at the fall of man, that’s how it started, with one probing, doubting question from Satan: “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” (Genesis 3:1) And there, the doubt was presented. Eve didn’t say, “I know that’s what God said, but I’m going to disobey him anyway.” Instead she started rationalizing, judging for herself, and compromising what she knew was true. She said, “Well, this is what God actually said…” and Satan said, “Oh, that’s not true, just think about it,” and next thing we know, we’ve got sin and death and evil in the world. It all came from one seed of doubt and compromise.
Satan tried the same thing with Jesus in the desert. He said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread” (Matthew 4:3). Satan had Jesus in a lose-lose situation. Jesus would prove to Satan that he was indeed the Son of God by turning the stones to bread, thereby obeying Satan. Or he would disobey Satan in rebellion and not turn the stones to bread, and hopefully doubt and compromise his identity as the Son of God.
We know Jesus didn’t fall for Satan’s tricks and instead turned it back against him, saying, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God'” (4:4). It’s genius, really. Satan gave Jesus an either-or option and instead Jesus said, “No.” He clung to Scripture, stood firm in what he knew to be true, and still demonstrated his Son of God status in the process. I love that.
So what for us? We follow Jesus’ example, and it’s not easy. We learn the Scriptures, we read them, memorize them, and cling to them. We stand firm in what we know to be true, and in doing so, we’ll demonstrate our children of God status. I’ve failed at that in the past. I’ve even ended up in conversations with friends recently where I start getting confused and questioning what I originally believed going into that conversation. Times like that I have to get away, get alone with God, and regroup. Otherwise I’ll keep compromising my way into disobedience. It’s a tediously constant, conscious process, but it’s effective and keeps me focused on worshipping God and no one, or nothing, else.