Troublesome Topic: Satan Uses God’s Standard against Us

Satan uses God’s standard to make us feel inadequate. Satan says: “You can’t measure up; there must be something wrong with you.”

Yes, there is something wrong with us and God wants to fix it; Satan wants us to wallow in it. Satan is not interested in solutions, only accusations.

God has a standard—He placed demands on man from the beginning. Man violated God’s standard. How did God react? He made no value statements—their value had not changed! He asked questions, giving them an opportunity to either explain, or admit guilt, but He made no value statements. (See Genesis chapter 3.)

The Meaning of Tests

Why did God put the tree in the Garden of Eden? To trick Adam and Eve? No. Satan wants us to believe that “God wants to trick you, and since he’s God you can never win.”

 Was the tree placed there to test Adam and Eve?      Yes.

It was the only limitation God placed upon them. It was a test of their commitment to follow His words—without it there would be no evidence of love. This tree made them confront the decision: “What do I want most?  To stay close to God, or to satisfy my own desires.”

Satan tells us that God’s tests show our inadequacy.

God uses tests to strengthen us, and to show us who we are and what we are capable of with His help.

The only time Satan is right is if you are not in the game – meaning, if you have not joined God’s team by giving your life to God, committing to live for him, and taking hold by faith of the pardon that comes through Jesus Christ.

Do You Have What it Takes?

Sports are tests that show what we are made of.  Sports are contests that ask the question: “Do you have what it takes?” The answer comes in varying degrees: “Yes, I have what it takes a little bit; yes, kind of; yes, quite a bit; yes, I very much have what it takes.”

The only way you fail the test of soccer, for instance, is if you have no legs, or you are crippled and your legs don’t work.

But wait. I take that back. I knew a guy in Honduras who was crippled. He would do a handstand, run on his hands, and then swing his legs in a downward arch and fling them at the ball as if they were baseball bats. He was not a good soccer player, but he was in the game getting the job done. It was amazing to watch, and it blessed my soul to watch him do what most people would have thought was impossible.

Then there is Nick Vujicic, who has no arms and no legs, just a small protrusion he calls his “chicken foot.” With that little “chicken foot” he can fling a soccer ball through the air over 20 feet. He can “walk” by waddling along; it isn’t graceful, but he makes it work. By waddling and flinging the soccer ball he has played soccer with school children all over the world. (If you go to You Tube and type in “Nick V” his name is usually the first one to pop up as a suggestion. There are many videos of him, and you will be blessed by watching them – after you finish this lesson, of course.)

So I should revise my statement. In reality, the only way to totally fail the test is to not be out on the field. If you are not in the game you can’t show anything. If you are out there and trying, regardless of how poorly you perform, you are still demonstrating something, and therefore you are passing the test to one degree or another.

Likewise, the only way you fail the tests God allows to come your way in life is if you aren’t out there, if you aren’t “in the game.” But Satan wants us to feel like failures because we are not the best player on the field; there is always someone better than we are. Who cares? God doesn’t!

God does not use His tests in the same way as the test of sports. God is not asking, “Do you have what it takes?” He is asking questions like, “What is in your heart?” “Do you truly love me?” He already knows the answers, so the reason for the test is to prove it to us and to the world.

School tests show the teacher what we know, and where we are weak.

In contrast God’s tests are on the level of relationship, testing our love and commitment. A test of love helps prove our love to all onlookers, and helps strengthen that love.

When you feel inadequate in the face of God’s standard, do this:

~ Confirm your relationship with Jesus, or, if you don’t have one, enter into one.

~ Refuse to entertain the idea that failing to reach God’s standards proves your inadequacy. It proves your spiritual need, but not your inadequacy.

~   Thank Him for his high standards. We wouldn’t want a God with low standards, that would end up being bad for all of us. Read Psalm 119 and notice how often the writer expresses joy over God’s word, His decrees, His laws, His statutes, etc. They are praiseworthy because they are for our good.

~ Thank Him for Jesus who provided forgiveness for our offenses.

~ Thank Him for His Holy Spirit, sent to enable us to live His way.

~ Thank Him for the way these tests of our character will strengthen our character.

It’s About Truth, Not Feelings

We will always feel inadequate before God’s standard. Feelings ignore truth. Feelings will never get us where we need to go.  Feelings change and can be manipulated.

Truth remains constant as truth.  That is why Satan hates truth.

Thanking God when faced with feelings of inadequacy changes our focus. We stop focusing on our feelings, and start focusing on His provision.

We need to stop trying to feel adequate, and start learning to accept His pronouncement of value (remember, God showed us with the cross what He thinks of us).

Men ask, “Do I have what it takes?”  In God’s strength we do have what it takes; without Him, we will never come close to having “what it takes.”

Women ask, “Am I captivating; is there something about me that draws you to me?”   Once again Jesus answered that on the Cross, and the answer was an emphatic “Yes!!”  But once again, apart from finding our fulfillment in Him, apart from a close relationship with Him, no woman will ever find her question fully answered.

If men or women focus solely on their innermost need they will never stop searching; if they focus on maintaining a close relationship with God, that inner need will begin to be satisfied.


God made us and knows us, He has proven His love for us.  We must trust that everything He does for us is in our best interest, even things we cannot understand. We must choose therefore to live by faith not by feelings. We should allow God’s holy standard to challenge us, but not demoralize us. Remember, God’s standard demonstrates our spiritual need, not our inadequacy.

The next lesson is Satan Uses Our Fallenness against Us