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Time was ticking and I had to give my decision. I knew what I wanted. But every time I thought about saying, “no,” doubt assailed me.

You’re wimping out. If you had faith you’d say yes.

I’ve learned that what feels like paralyzing indecision may be Satan’s attempt to derail me from God’s plan.

Jesus called the devil a liar (John 8:44) and the thief that “comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10). The Bible also says he’s a slanderer and accuser (Revelation 12:10). And did you know this friend can plant thoughts in our minds?

Scripture says he gave King David the idea to take a census of Israel (1 Chronicles 21:1-3). He told Ananias and Sapphira to lie about a gift they’d given to the church (Acts 5:3-5). He still sows thoughts in our minds today.

How do we protect ourselves from being taken in by his lies? The same way you identify your friend’s messages from someone you don’t know. Let me illustrate.

An email from a friend asked me to send her cash because she’d lost her passport. Even though the email came from my friend’s account, the message didn’t sound like her. I spotted the hoax because I knew my friend.

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 is an acronym to help you distinguish between the devil’s DARTS and your Shepherd’s leading.

Learn to recognize the message or intent buried in your doubts.


D: Destructive: sent to rob and destroy. Their purpose is to draw us away from God’s good and satisfying will. They push us toward something we feel uneasy about by causing us to doubt the validity of our reservations. Or they pull us away from something good. You’ll feel out of place in a Bible study group.

✧ In contrast, Jesus’ words bring life and peace.


A: Accusing: condemning, criticizing, and blaming. DARTS tell us how selfish and rebellious we are to want something or how cowardly we are not to do something. The devil misused Scripture when he tempted Jesus. If a verse oppresses you, the enemy is twisting it. If you weren’t so—selfish, cowardly, or unforgiving—you’d…

✧Jesus never uses guilt, shame, or bullying to motivate us.

R: Rule-oriented: relying on standards for righteousness instead of Jesus’ imputed righteousness. These thoughts badger us to ignore our reservations. They tell us we are bad people for not doing what they demand. For example. Good Christians sacrifice. If you don’t help him how will he ever know Christ’s love?

✧ Jesus reminds us that our righteousness is found in Christ, not in our performance. “The righteous shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:17 ESV) not by guilt and fear.

T: Tempting: offering ways to meet our needs apart from God. People will respect you if…or Hurry, you’ll miss out.”

✧ Jesus infuses us with courage to stand alone, to wait, to be still and know.
[easy-tweet tweet=”Be encouraged! Jesus infuses us with courage to stand alone, to wait, to be still and know.” user=”@JaymeHull” hashtags=”#courage #alone”]

S: Slanderous: maligning the character of God, others, or ourselves. God doesn’t care about you. Or, Your spouse doesn’t love you.

✧ Jesus reminds us that He is with us, for us, interceding, and guiding. His Spirit bears witness with ours that we belong to Him.


When God showed me the nature of my doubts, I was able to confidently say “no” without guilt. I wasn’t being a wimp or selfish. I was following my Shepherd.

The next time you’re faced with confusion, uncover the intent of your doubts. “Is this legitimate doubt or a diabolical dart? Would my Shepherd talk to me like this?” Then follow your Shepherd with confidence.
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Debbie W. Wilson

Author Debbie W. Wilson

Drawing from her personal walk with Christ, twenty-four years as a Christian counselor, and decades as a Bible teacher, Debbie W. Wilson speaks and writes to help people discover relevant faith. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. She and her husband, Larry, founded Lighthouse Ministries in 1991.

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