Satan Has a Plan for Your Life

Demonic activity rarely looks like what we see in the movies—knocking things over or two red eyes suddenly glaring through the mirror. The devil works much more slyly than that, speaking lies entangled in truth and invading thoughts with temptations. In Ephesians, Paul refers to these demonic mental games as “flaming darts” (6:16).

“Flaming darts” wasn’t something Paul made up. They were some of Rome’s most feared weapons, long javelins filled with fuel and set ablaze. The worst part wasn’t the dart itself, but what happened after it landed: All the fuel spread out and started a bunch of new fires until, eventually, everything was on fire.

That’s what Satan does. He launches these fiery darts into our consciousness in attempts to set the whole house ablaze. He gets us to believe one lie, which leads to other lies, which leads to more and more destruction. And his goal is always despair, destruction, and death.

We all have stray, sinful, or absurd thoughts—because we have a sinful nature—but there are also times when a thought presses its way into our consciousness so much so that it feels uncontrollable. It’s like the thought has a will of its own. It’s that voice you can’t quite shake, saying, “You’re ugly,” “You’re a failure,” “God’s forgotten you,” “You’ll always struggle,” “You don’t belong.” Even if you know it’s not true, something about the lie really sticks. It’s a flaming dart, burning you from the inside out.

What’s interesting, though, is that many times the devil uses our own legitimate sins to throw us into despair. When that happens, it becomes doubly deceptive. We think, Well, what he’s saying about my sin is actually true … maybe that makes those other things true, too.

Both the Spirit of God and the spirit of the devil will point out your sins. So how can we tell the voice of one from the other?

The difference comes down to context—despair or hope. Yes, the Spirit convicts us of sin, but it is always for the purpose of redemption. He identifies what he wants us to change, gives us a path to do it, and assures us of his ability to accomplish it in our lives. But when one of the demonic realm speaks, it’s in the context of condemnation and despair. Satan’s got a plan for our lives, but it certainly has no hope or redemption in it. It’s merely a voice screaming hopelessness and despair.

Think of it like a movie score, setting the tone of and amplifying what’s happening on the screen. If you’re watching a movie and a man is seen walking up to a door, you probably don’t know what’s going to happen next—unless the music gives you a clue. Bouncy, light-hearted music means everything’s probably okay. But dark, ominous music makes it seem like something bad is about to happen. The image didn’t change, but the soundtrack did.

When our Enemy speaks, it has the soundtrack of death, defeat, confusion, and despair. When Jesus speaks, it is filled with invitation, love, and hope. In John 10, what Jesus is essentially saying is, “My sheep recognize my voice. They know the difference between my voice and the voice of fake, abusive shepherds.”


Even if Satan is telling us true things, if those thoughts are leading us to despair, we have to recognize that as the devil’s voice—not our Shepherd’s—and resist it. One of Satan’s primary titles in Scripture, after all, is the “accuser of the brethren.” He loves to remind us of our sin or where people have hurt us. But that’s not our Shepherd’s voice! Jesus is not the accuser of the brethren, but the redeemer, the healer, the gentle Shepherd.

Satan’s goal for us, unequivocally, is destruction. Jesus himself said it was. Any voice moving us toward despair is the voice of Satan and never the voice of the Holy Spirit.