Skip to content ↓

Does the Devil Have Your Ear?

Sponsored Collection cover image


Hidden in the Gospel

by William P. Farley

If someone polled your church with the question, “Which preacher do you listen to most frequently?” how would you respond? Some would point to the pastor. Others might suggest a minister they hear on the radio or by podcast. But if we are honest, none of these wins the contest. Believe it or not, the individual who has the greatest access to our hearts, the one who preaches to us most frequently, is not who we think.

It is the Devil.

Satan preaches a sophisticated, seductive, and manipulative message. His goal is to convince you either that the Lie is true or that the Truth is a lie, and we are usually unaware that he is speaking. He is the “prince of this world” (John 12:31). God has given him influence over the media, and through this megaphone he preaches persuasively, speaking to us through newspapers, television, blogs, e-mail, radio, popular music, movies, magazines, NFL commercials, and, yes, even at times through our consciences and friends.

How do we know we have been listening to the Devil’s lies? The fruits are ominous and varied. We become discouraged when life doesn’t go as we had planned. We wallow in guilt after a careless comment hurts someone we love. We compare ourselves to others and then feel worthless. We give into hopelessness or fear as we observe cultural change. Some even yield to the despair that this life is all there is. The Devil knows how to “preach it,” and we are often the victims.

But God has provided us with a mighty spiritual weapon: the gospel. As I explain in my book Hidden in the Gospel, “the gospel” is everything that God has done, and will do, to save us. The gospel stretches from eternity past to eternity future. It starts with election and ends with the new heavens and new earth. It includes the doctrines of election; Christ’s incarnation, active obedience, penal substitutionary death, resurrection, ascension, and return for final judgment; and the creation of new heavens and earth. Hidden in these wonderful doctrines are crucial truths. When applied, they shatter the Devil’s vicious deceits.

God does not want us to listen to ourselves or the Devil. Instead, he wants us to preach to ourselves. Listening is passive; preaching is active. For example, when I don’t feel loved by God, I preach the truth to myself. It transcends feelings. Before the foundation of the world God chose me and set his love upon me. He didn’t choose me because I performed, but despite the fact that I didn’t. He sent his Son to live a perfect life in my place and to bear the wrath that I deserve at Calvary. It is rare when this preaching exercise does not kindle feelings in my heart that reflect the truth that I am loved. This is what Paul has in mind when he tells us to “seek the things that are above” and “set your minds on things that are above” (Col. 3:1–2). As I write in my book:

“Maturing believers cultivate the discipline of preaching to themselves. In fact, they turn this into an art form. They read Scripture, internalize it, and then continually preach its truths back to themselves. When fears of death and dying arise, they speak to themselves about the world to come. When guilt grips their heart, they remind themselves that they have been united with Christ and that Christ’s righteousness is theirs. They don’t listen to self. They preach to self!”

So, which preacher do you listen to most? Hopefully, you’re not listening to the Devil. I wrote Hidden in the Gospel to help you to cultivate the discipline of preaching to yourself instead.

Hidden in the Gospel is available at Amazon and Westminster Books.


  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (June 20)

    A La Carte: How to support the caregivers in your church / What we gain in following Jesus / The way we feel is not necessarily the way it is / The power and danger of habit / The man who introduced American Evangelicals to C.S. Lewis / and more.

  • Do Not Envy the Wicked

    Do You Envy the Wicked?

    It takes a long time for sinful instincts to become pure, for tendencies toward what is evil to be transformed into tendencies toward what is good, lovely, and pleasing to God. The man who quits drugs will still react when he catches a whiff and the woman who gave up alcoholism will still struggle when…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (June 19)

    A La Carte: The golden rule for hard conversations / Seven reasons you shouldn’t ignore beauty / The early church on entertainment / The uselessness of prayer / A thousand wheels of providence / Impossible, hard, and easy / and more.

  • Our Salvation Through Christ

    This week the blog is sponsored by Moody Publishers and this post is adapted from The Kindness of God by Nate Pickowicz (© 2024). Published by Moody Publishers. Used by permission. Just like the Old Testament, the New Testament teaches that this wonderful salvation is extended to us as a kindness. Paul opens his letter…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (June 18)

    A La Carte: The pursuit of (which) happiness? / Don’t hastily choose elders / The evangelistic nature of awe / What you read builds who you are / Till he was strong / A father’s threads of living faith / Logos deals / and more.

  • Lets Hear It For the Second Parents

    Let’s Hear It For the Second Parents

    While today we tend to associate step-parents with divorce, in previous centuries they were almost exclusively associated with death and with either widow- or widowerhood. In an era in which lifespans were shorter and, therefore, a greater number of parents died while their children were still young, there was a distinct and honored role for…