I've recently struggled with a mild bout of depression. Several weeks ago, a name from long ago surfaced in a conversation. This person had been at some particular event, and all that was said was, "So-and-so was there." No big deal, right? Satan went to work. Years ago, I had a falling out with this person. It resulted in some resentment and bitterness on both our parts before we set aside our pride and patched things up. I haven't thought one negative thing about that person since that time, but Satan drudged up that falling out and whispered a lie into my ear.
"Everything you've ever done has failed."
I know this isn't true by any stretch of the imagination. Have their been failures? Absolutely. Sin, strained relationships, even healthy mistakes have been part of my past (as they have for all of us). But Satan took one incident and, for a few days, turned it into a suck fest. For a few days, I believed his lie. I believed the church I planted in VA was a failure, that I was a terrible husband, and that my parenting skills were crap. I wondered if I could have done anything differently to avoid the conflicts from my past. I even wondered if I could have prevented the death of a close friend who helped me plant that church by not inviting him along for the ride in the first place. All lies that were birthed from that first lie. And Satan, for a few days, succeeded in dragging me down by getting me to believe the first one.
I have a friend who preaches at a big church back in VA. He served as my mentor for the last year or so that I was there. He did a lot of counseling for the people in his congregation, and told me there was one question he asked every person that got to the root of their problems: What lie has Satan gotten you to believe? When a person could truthfully answer that question, it opened up the door for the Holy Spirit to start gutting the heart of sin, bitterness, fear, shame, and regret.
Scripture calls Satan the father of lies and the accuser of the brethren. The first instance we know of that he falsely accused someone was Job. In the presence of God, Satan accused Job of false piousness, saying that Job would indeed lose faith if everything was taken from him. Although banned from God's presence, Satan still accuses us falsely. He whispers those lies we believe into our ears. If our guard is down, we'll believe him. And the guilt from the past will come flooding back. Fortunately, Jesus has already defeated Satan through His death and resurrection. And that's the truth that brought me out of my funk (God using my wonderful, dear, sweet, smokin' hot wife to remind me of that foundational truth).
What lies has Satan succeeded in getting you to believe? That you're not good enough? That you're unworthy of God's grace? That you're a serial screw up? That you're unlovable, even by God? If you're a follower of Jesus, ask yourself that foundational question: what lie has Satan gotten me to believe? Get another Christian friend to help you sort through those things. And never, ever forget that Jesus has forever defeated that bastard. Jesus has crushed Satan's head–and a head shot is a kill shot. His death and resurrection dealt a death blow to Satan.
And that's a truth we can believe.