Satan’s Tactics and God’s Answer
The devil and his demons are looking for opportunities to enter into our lives and take advantage of us. Paul warns the Ephesians to "give no opportunity to the devil" (Ephesians 4:27). Below are a few of the ways that he attempts to gain influence:
Lies and deception
The devil is a liar. Jesus called him the father of lies. He directly opposes God and calls Him a liar.
In the garden of Eden the devil told Eve that if she ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil that she would not die. He told her that God was keeping this from her because He knew that she would become like God once she ate of the fruit.
The devil always opposes the truth of God's word. He speaks things with great confidence and boldness so that it sounds good and right. The only problem is that you cannot walk in the truth if you’re believing a lie.
Eve ate of the tree and it did cause her death. The devil was wrong and he knew it. The devil lied.
One of the devil's tactics against you is to lie. Start monitoring your thoughts today. See what you are thinking. Do any of the thoughts you have contradict what God says about you or your situation? Then it is a lie.
The devil wants to deceive you. He knows that if he can get you to believe a lie you will never experience the truth. The terrible thing about deception is that you believe the lie is true.
Many times you are deceived because you want something more than you want the truth. The enemy will work on your desire for the thing you want and seek to convince you that God really didn't mean for you to not have whatever it is you want.
God’s Answer is Truth
God provides only one answer for this problem, the truth. God communicates His truth to us through the Bible and through the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free'" (John 8:31-32). It is abiding in Jesus' words that allows us to experience His victory. Only by walking according to the truth can we walk in freedom.
Jesus knew that you would need help walking out His truth, so He sent the Holy Spirit. Jesus calls the Holy Spirit our Helper and the Spirit of Truth (John 15:26). He informs us that "When the Holy Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth . . ." (John 16:13).
The devil’s goal for Eve was to have her rebell against the command of God. He wanted her to think that the ways of God were wrong. He knew that if He could deceive Eve, he would ultimately have power over her.
Once the enemy put doubt in Eve’s mind as to the truth of God’s word, she began to look at the fruit a different way than before. Genesis 3:6 gives us insight into her thoughts:
When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
The enemy accomplished his goal. He got Eve’s eyes off of the command of God designed to protect her and onto the personal benefits of disobeying God.
She reasoned that the tree was good for food. A person needs to eat, right? What’s wrong with eating this specific fruit? I am kind of hungry. God wouldn't want me to be hungry, would He?
She also saw that the fruit was appealing. It looked so good hanging on the branch. I wonder what it tastes like? Is it sweet or sour? Just looking at it makes my mouth water.
The fruit will also make me wise. I won’t have to bother God and ask Him all sorts of questions. After all, He is pretty busy. If I eat the fruit I will know good and evil and can make decisions on my own.
So Eve made her decision. She would reject God’s way for the devil’s. She rebelled against the command of God and ate from the tree. Not only did she eat the fruit, she gave the fruit to her husband to eat.
Adam and Eve gave into their desire [lust] to be like God. The enemy always seeks to use perfectly valid desires to incite us to reject God’s commands. It’s not evil to eat. It doesn’t look evil. It’s not bad to want to be wise.
The devil still uses these tactics today. The Apostle Paul warned us about this in 1 John 2:16. He speaks of “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life.”
The Bible has many lists full of the possible sins against God. Just a few are idolatry, adultery, gossip, slander, stealing, etc. The enemy will seek to help you find some way to justify doing what God said is wrong. The main way is through stirring up your desires.
God’s Answer is Righteousness
God's answer for rebellion is the breastplate of righteousness. You are protected by trusting in Christ's righteousness.
The enemy wants you to trust in your own righteousness. He will seek to convince you that if you do enough good works God will have to let you into heaven.
If only you do more good than bad, then God would be satisfied. Just keep doing good things. Convince yourself that you are not a bad person. Trust in what you do.
This ploy of the enemy wants us to trust in something else than the righteousness of Christ. In Philippians Paul rejects every righteous deed that that he could attribute to himself. He said that he counted all of these things as dung. He would only trust in a righteousness that came from Christ.
The devil is the accuser of the brethren. He wants to accuse you and cause you to feel condemned. His goal is to make you ineffective for the Kingdom of God by pointing out how terrible you are.
His tactic is to remind you how unworthy you are though accusations. He will say things like, "You call yourself a Christian? Look what you did last night." He wants to heap condemnation on you so that you will feel worthless and run and hide from God.
Have you ever sinned and repented, but still felt guilty and unworthy? The enemy continually brings up the past to show us how sinful we are. The only thing is that once we ask for forgiveness we are instantly forgiven by God and cleansed from all unrighteousness.
The next time the enemy brings up a sin you have repented of remind him of the blood of Jesus. Begin to thank the Lord for His cleansing. When the devil seeks to condemn you, turn it into a praise session for Jesus.
The reason that the enemy wants you to feel condemned is that you will run and hide from God. Guilt, shame, and condemnation keep us from approaching God with confidence. The devil wants you to run and hide from God just like Adam and Eve did. He knows that if you run to God you will be cleansed and forgiven.
God’s Answer is Peace
God's answer for this is the readiness given by the gospel of peace. Jesus Christ died to give us peace with God. We were once estranged and enemies of God, but Jesus has brought us near to God through His blood.
We used to be separated from God, but now are reconciled through His sacrifice. Romans 8:1 clearly tells us, "There is therefore no no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." When we come to Christ, we are forgiven. There is no list of sins to condemn us because they are nailed to the cross of Jesus.
The next time the devil comes to remind you how sinful and separated you are from God, read Romans 8:31-35 out loud:
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Never allow condemnation to keep you separated from God. Speak the truth of God's word to yourself and to the enemy. Run to God. He has prepared you to stand strong because of His message of peace. Stand in His peace.
P.S. Can you guess at some of the other tactics the enemy uses to try and tick us away from God's truth?
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