Thoughtful man looks up from smartphone.

Who Are You? Identifying the Devil

Discerning whether something is from God or Satan will give us the power to make conscious decisions that will help us overcome the devil.

One night I was feeling very discouraged. I was in a whirlwind of doubt, self-loathing, and worthlessness until something occurred to me: these thoughts were from Satan, not God. Immediately, I felt lighter knowing the source of my dark thoughts. I sang a hymn in my mind, thought about how Christ understands me, and realized that God wouldn’t want me to feel worthless.

"We will have the ability, with the strength of the Lord, to overcome." —Peter M. Johnson


Even though I was able to pinpoint the cause of my dark thoughts in that experience, I’m still not great at calling Satan out when he gets in my head. How can we tell the difference between God’s voice and the devil’s?

In the general conference talk “Power to Overcome the Adversary,” Elder Peter M. Johnson identifies three tactics that the devil uses to limit our ability to feel God’s love and live up to our potential:

  1. Deception
  2. Distraction
  3. Discouragement

Elder Johnson explains that the devil tries to make us forget that we are God’s children, born with a divine potential. Satan uses technology, among other things, to distract us from having spiritual experiences with God. And the devil uses discouragement, especially through comparison, to convince us that we can’t live up to our expectations. 

Now that we can identify the devil in our lives, what’s next?

Elder Johnson promises that “as we strive to love God with all our heart, pray in the name of Jesus Christ, study the Book of Mormon, and prayerfully partake of the sacrament, we will have the ability, with the strength of the Lord, to overcome the deceptive practices of the adversary, to minimize distractions that limit our divine potential, and to resist the discouragement that diminishes our capacity to feel the love of our Heavenly Father and His Son.”

We may not become experts at overcoming Satan today or tomorrow. But as we practice identifying his influence, soon we will be able to say confidently, “Depart from me, Satan, for this one God only will I worship” (Moses 1:20).

Read more about how to conquer Satan by reading Elder Peter M. Johnson’s full talk “Power to Overcome the Adversary.”

Source: General Conference

—Lenae Rubey, Latter-day Saint Insights


Find more insights

Read about more of the adversary’s tactics in Myla Parke’s article “3 Lies Satan Wants You to Believe.”

Discover other principles to help you overcome Satan in Elder Gary E. Stevenson’s talk “Deceive Me Not.” 

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