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 couple of the ways that he attempts to gain influence:
Doubt and Unbelief
Another major tool the enemy uses is doubt and unbelief. He wants you to doubt every promise of God and respond to God in unbelief. He wants to call into question your salvation.
The devil wants to convince you that you are not saved. He wants you to be on an emotional rollercoaster always wondering if you are saved. There are good days when you feel like you are saved, then there are bad days when it feels like you will never be saved.
I want you to notice that I used the words “emotional” and “feel” in the last paragraph. That is because doubts have to do with feelings. To doubt means to have feelings of uncertainty. You are not sure deep down in your heart that what God says is true.
The enemy loves to exploit these feelings. He wants you to feel like you are standing on unstable ground in your relationship with God. He wants you to focus on yourself and expend your energy with worry and concern over your salvation. If he can get you to doubt, you will never be able to have confidence in what God has said.
The enemy will say things things like, “How can you call yourself a Christian when you act the way you do?” “You’re just a hypocrite. You really don’t believe.” “God can’t love you after all you have done to Him.”
The goal of each of these statements is to get you eyes off what Jesus has done for you and on what you have done. Your salvation is not dependent on your righteousness, but the righteousness of Jesus. Your salvation comes through accepting by faith the death Jesus died for you.
The enemy speaks to your mind to affect your emotions. He wants you to focus more on your feelings than on faith. He wants your focus on your emotions rather than on God’s truth. He wants you to believe that your feelings are truth.
The devil knows if he can get you to doubt, you will be in inner turmoil. James explains what takes place when we come to God with doubt. He says, “. . . for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind” and that that person is “unstable in all their ways” (James 1: 6, 8).
God’s Answer is the Helmet of Salvation
God’s answer to doubt and unbelief is the helmet of salvation. Did you notice that this helmet sits on your head? God does not want us to doubt our salvation in Christ. He wants to bring stability and protection to our minds and emotions.
There is no way that you can save yourself. The Bible is clear that there is not one person on earth who is righteous, not even one (Romans 3:11). All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
God’s answer to this dilemma is “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe” (Romans 3:22). We stop trusting in what we can do to get saved and start trusting in what Jesus has done for us.
The apostle Paul is a perfect example for us to understand how this works. He had two different sides of his life. One he was proud of. One he deeply regretted.
In Philippians chapter three Paul provides a list of attributes and accomplishments in which he could count on if he wanted to trust in his own self-righteousness There were years of faithful service striving to follow the Law of God in the strictest sect of Judaism.
In other passages he talks about how he persecuted the church and was the least of the apostles. He persecuted the church and caused the imprisonment and death of many believers. I am sure the enemy constantly sought to use this against Paul.
Paul wisely chose to no longer trust in the good or bad things that he did. He treated everything as if it was trash. He would not depend on the good things that he had done to save him. Nor did he allow the bad things he had done to stop him from receiving God’s gift of salvation.
Paul rejected both his good deeds and his evil deeds to accept the salvation that comes through Jesus. He said:
But whatever things were gain to me [good things], those things I have counted a loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things [including the bad] to be loss in view of the surpassing knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things [good and bad], and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead (Philippians 3:7-11).
If you are struggling with your confidence in God’s salvation, it is probably due to the sinful things you have done in the past or your current struggle with sin. I want to encourage you to be like Paul and treat these things like trash. Throw them away and trust in Christ alone.
Don’t trust in your goodness or your feelings of sinfulness. Trust in Christ. Put your faith in what Jesus did for you on the cross. Faith in Christ is what makes you righteous.
Go ahead. Accept God’s righteousness through faith in Christ. Throw away anything that gets in the way of receiving God’s salvation, including all feelings of doubt and unbelief.
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