Could the Devil Be Behind Your Doubts?

Several years ago, circumstances beyond my control threw me into a dilemma. The person connected with me had very strong feelings on moving ahead. But I felt no peace taking the path they pursued. Time was ticking, and I had to give my decision. I knew what I wanted. But every time I thought about telling them, “no,” doubt assailed me. You’re wimping out. If you had faith you’d say yes.

At the time, I thought doubt was a nebulous feeling that sprang from uncertainty. But that experience showed me doubts sometimes have a diabolical side. As soon as I recognized the accusatory tone of my doubts, I was able to discern my Lord’s voice. I gave my no with perfect peace—even though I received push-back from my partner.

Paralyzing indecision may spring from the enemy’s taunts. Just like the devil gave King David the idea to take a census of Israel (1 Chronicles 21:1-3) and Ananias and Sapphira the idea to lie about a gift they gave to the church (Acts 5:3-5), he also plants thoughts in our minds.

Jesus called the devil a liar (Jn. 8:44) and the thief that comes only to steal, kill, and destroy (Jn. 10:10). The Bible also says he’s a slanderer and accuser (Rev. 12:10). The better we know Jesus, the better we’re able to identify Satan’s influence.

Have you received emails from friends asking you to send cash to help them because they lost their passports? I have. Even though the emails came from my friends’ accounts, the messages didn’t sound like them. I spotted the hoax because I knew my friends. The better we know someone the less likely we are to be hoodwinked by an impersonation. The better we know Jesus, the quicker we’re able to identify Satan’s scams.

Jesus said His sheep hear His voice and follow Him. Below I use an acronym to contrast the devil’s darts from our Shepherd’s voice. Protect yourself by learning to recognize the message or intent hidden in your doubts.

DARTS are:

Destructive: sent to steal, kill, and destroy (Jn. 10:10). They draw us away from God’s perfect will. They manipulate us into doubting the validity of our desires or reservations. You’ll offend your neighbor if you invite her to Bible study.

  • Deliverer: Jesus’ words bring life and peace.

Accusing: condemning. These thoughts may begin with “if” as when the devil tempted Jesus. As Satan misused Scripture with Jesus, he may twist a verse with us (Matt. 4:1-11). When Scripture oppresses you or causes you to doubt your standing with God, recognize your enemy. If you were a good Christian, you’d…

  • Advocate: While the Holy Spirit points out sin, Jesus never guilts, shames, or condemns us (Matt. 11:29; Rom. 8:1).

Rule-oriented: relying on standards for righteousness instead of on Jesus’s righteousness. They focus on the rules we must follow to prove ourselves. If we don’t obey them then our thoughts punish us. For example: Good Christians are self-sacrificing. If you say “no,” you’re a bad person.

  • Righteousness: Jesus reminds us that our righteousness is found in Christ alone, not in our performance (Phil. 3:9).

Tempting: offering ways to meet our needs apart from God. People will respect you if… Or Hurry, you’ll miss out.”

  • Tower of strength: Jesus infuses us with courage to stand alone, to wait, to please Him even if it means disappointing people, to be still and know.

Slanderous: maligning the character of God, other people, or yourself. God doesn’t care about you. Or, Your friend is so stubborn.

When God showed me the nature of my doubts, I was able to say “no,” with confidence. The next time you’re faced with confusion, ask yourself, “Is this legitimate doubt or a diabolical dart?” Then follow your Shepherd with confidence.


Learn more on dealing with your thoughts and spiritual attacks with Give Yourself a Break. 

Are You Afraid You’ll Make the Wrong Decision

Protect yourself by learning to recognize the message or intent hidden in your doubts. #doubts, #discernment Share on X

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  1. Ann J Musico

    “The better we know Jesus, the quicker we’re able to identify Satan’s scams.” So true!!! And so important. This is why spending time in the Word and prayer are so important. Thank you Debbie for sharing.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Yes, Ann. We have to spend regular time with Him to filter out all the other voices. Thanks so much!

  2. Lynn

    “The better we know someone the less likely we are to be hoodwinked by an impersonation. The better we know Jesus, the quicker we’re able to identify Satan’s scams.” I, too, resonated with those words! Knowing His word develops our spiritual muscle to combat Satan’s schemes even when we are weary.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Amen. Thanks, Lynn!

  3. J.D. Wininger

    I love learning new acronyms. Heck, I’ve even got TLAs for FLAs. 🙂 DARTS is one I’m going to remember to apply daily in my life. Loved this post Ms. Debbie. On target ma’am; fire for effect!

    • Debbie Wilson

      I like acronyms too. They help me remember, and I need lots of help there. Thanks, J.D.!

  4. Susan Marlene

    Excellent post! So many struggle with this!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thanks, Susan!

  5. Nancy E. Head

    Sometimes Christ invites us to stretch ourselves. And sometimes worldly demands pull us away from peace. Thanks for a great way to help us discern the difference.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Nancy, that distinction has confused me at times. It’s taken a while to recognize the difference. Waiting to hear God’s still, small voice makes the difference for me.

  6. CJ

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience with us!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, CJ.

  7. Mandy Farmer

    Love the acronym! A great way to straighten things out in your mind. pinned.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thanks for sharing it, Mandy.

  8. Jeanne Takenaka

    Debbie, wow. This has so much truth in it. I really appreciated how you were able to discern the enemy’s lies when it came to making the decision you shared. We need to recognize Jesus’ voice so well that, when the enemy tries to lie to us, we identify it pronto..

    Loved this! “The better we know someone the less likely we are to be hoodwinked by an impersonation. The better we know Jesus, the quicker we’re able to identify Satan’s scams.”

    • Debbie Wilson

      That lesson has guided me many times sense. Thanks, Jeanne.

  9. Annie Yorty

    I love the acronym, Debbie. Very memorable! And I also appreciated how you gave concrete examples to provoke thinking.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Annie. I like acronyms. They help me organize my thoughts.

  10. Donna

    Such good thoughts, Debbie and your tips are super practical. Been meditating on 1Peter 5:7-8, we really can’t be too careful when it comes to the enemy of our souls.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Donna, those are great scriptures to chew on. And you’re right. We must be alert.

  11. Jennifer

    Great post. I love how you combat the doubts with God’s truths.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thanks, Jennifer!

  12. Annetta dellinger

    Truly enjoyed this article! My time to listen is when He wakes me up with some needed guidance usually early in the morning. I take action when I get up. Amazing how He sends me to those who have a need. I do love my Jesus!

    • Debbie Wilson

      That’s beautiful, Annetta! Thanks so much for sharing with us.

  13. Joanna Eccles

    What a great acronym! Thanks for sharing. I am taking a class on hearing God, and we covered a lesson on who Satan is so we can recognize his lies versus the truth of who God is. My pastor indicated that when people really start to discern the voice of God versus the voice of condemnation, guilt, and shame of Satan, that there is a tonal difference. I have to be still to listen, but the Lord convicts us to lead us to freedom, not to pull us into deeper bondage. I will still with tuning in the voice of God.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Joanna, that sounds like a great class. I agree. When we know our Lord’s character and that He only wants good for us, it helps us recognize the voice that wants to shame and condemn us.

  14. Patricia Tiffany Morris

    I hadn’t heard of the DARTS. I appreciate the good word. Thanks

    • Debbie Wilson

      Patricia, acronyms help me organize and remember my thoughts. Thanks for reading.

  15. Lisa notes

    I want to always be able to recognize Jesus’s voice and to distinguish it from all others! Thanks for this encouraging advice, Debbie.

    • Debbie

      Me too, Lisa!

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