The Tactics of Satan - Temptation
To win battles, yes, you need to know your enemy, but more importantly, you need to know your enemy's tactics. This true especially in a spiritual battle.
We know that our number one enemy is Satan. He is the liar and the father of lies. He is "Your enemy [who] prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8). He is "the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night" (Revelation 12:10); and because he wants to steal souls from the Lord, Satan uses our weaknesses against us in order to cause us to sin, in hopes that we stray from God and continue to live in this sin.
The Bible tells us the tactics that Satan uses and exactly how to resist him so he will flee from us - and the good news is we are victorious in Christ!
Today we will look at one of the tactics that Satan uses in his battle against us - TEMPTATION.
Temptation is defined as "the desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise." But Biblically speaking, temptation is defined as "a trial in which man has a free choice of being faithful or unfaithful to God" and secondarily, "an allurement or seduction to sin."
Temptation is a trap to make sin look good
In 1 John 2:16 the Bible tells us "For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world." Since we know that Satan is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4), we can conclude that using these three temptations to make us stumble are straight out of Satan's playbook.
In Luke 4:1-13 Satan attacks Jesus with these three temptations:
Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, (2) being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.
(3) And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”
(4) But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’ ”
(5) Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. (6) And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. (7) Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.”
(8) And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”
(9) Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. (10) For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,’ (11) and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ”
(12) And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ”
(13) Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.
In this passage we see Satan using his tactics to tempt Jesus. He offers Jesus things that he feels will sway Him away from the Lord. Satan's tactics haven't changed since the beginning of time, and if we follow Jesus' lead, we, too, can resist the devil so that he will depart from us like he departed from Jesus in verse 13.
The Temptations used by Satan:
The Lust of the Flesh
Satan uses the lust of the flesh to try to convince you that you need some thing to be satisfied or fulfilled. He wants you to believe that you will never be happy unless you get whatever this thing may be. By using this tactic, he is preying on your flesh.
Remember, Satan does not care about us - he cares about manipulating us to believe that God does not want to supply our needs or give us the desires of our hearts. Satan will do whatever he can to influence us into believing that what we want is actually what we need. This leads to the desire for instant gratification. He does this in order to thwart the timing and purposes of God, even though everything is in God's time and according to His will.
In using the lust of the flesh, Satan is basically saying to you - if you try this or do that, you can feel great. These lies he tells are meant to turn your eyes from God, (who already knows what you need), in hopes that you will place more importance on the things of this world.
Matthew 6:8 tells us "For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him" and Philippians 4:19 says that "My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." These two verses alone contradict the lies Satan tells us about what we need and who supplies these needs.
In Luke 4:3 above, Satan knows that Jesus is hungry, so he tells Jesus to turn a stone into bread. He is using a fleshly need to try to get Jesus to fall into his trap. In verse four we see that Jesus answers Satan by quoting scripture from Deuteronomy 8:3 - “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’ ”
Our response to the temptations of the flesh should be: "I may want the things of this world, but I need God and His Word."
The Lust of the Eyes
The next temptation that Satan uses in his quest to trip us up is the lust of the eyes. Simply stated, in this scenario Satan shows us what we think we need and how great it would be if we had it.
What are your heart's desires? Satan knows what they are and he wants to offer them to you - but believe me, it's at a cost - and he WILL come to collect at some point. Satan places these desires right in front of you, and offers you the easy way to get them, just like he did with Jesus.
In Luke 4:5-7 above, Satan takes Jesus to the top of the mountain and offers Him the kingdoms of the world... IF He will bow down and worship him. Satan knew that all Jesus wanted to do was to save all the kingdoms of the world, and so, he offered Jesus an easy way to do that. If Jesus accepted his offer, there would be no death on the cross. There would be no salvation for us, therefore, more souls for Satan to collect.
Satan always has an ulterior motive for what he does
Again, Jesus answers Satan by quoting scripture. This time He refers to Deuteronomy 6:13 - "You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.”
When you are tempted with the lust of the eyes, you must remember that when you serve God, you serve Him alone - no one and nothing else. The things of this world will pass away and only fulfill your desires for just so long. When you serve God, you have to do things HIS way, not the easy way. And don't forget, when you do things the easy way, you will pay a price in the end.
The Pride of Life
Pride happens to be one of Satan's most powerful weapons.
Satan uses the pride of life by tempting you to destroy yourself through sin. He tells you that you can handle anything and wants you to believe that you are much better than you actually are, and that you don't need anything other than yourself. Not only that, he wants you to think that you deserve to get better than you actually receive.
These lies that Satan tells us are dangerous because they separate us from God and keep us from receiving God's best for us.
First of all, we all need God whether we want to admit it or not. Second, God wants us to lean on Him in every way - He is always there for us. Third, none of us deserve anything because we are all sinners... it is only because of God's great love, grace and mercy that we have anything at all.
In Luke 4:9-12 we see that Satan has taken Jesus to Jerusalem and tells Him to throw Himself off the top of the temple. Satan wants to see Jesus tempt God. He basically says to Jesus that God will save Him if He throws himself off. Jesus' response to Satan comes from Deuteronomy 6:16 - ‘"You shall not tempt the Lord your God."
Satan will use your pride against you any time he can. He builds it up within you to make you do something you shouldn't or act in a way that's displeasing to God. Pride is dangerous and will always lead to a fall. God does not like pride and scripture tells us that "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6).
When you fall into the sin of pride, respond with humility. Remember, God is the King of your life, not you. Trust in Him, don't tempt or test Him.
How to Withstand Temptation
If Satan has the audacity to tempt the Son of God, how much more do you think the devil will attempt to do to you? So we must learn to stand firm against Satan.
We need to look no further than Jesus to learn how to withstand temptation. In each of the scenarios in Luke 4, Jesus responds in the same way... He speaks the Word of God.
The Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit, so using God's Word cuts through all of the lies that Satan uses to tempt us. The Word of God "is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).
When faced with temptations, take up the Sword of the Spirit to withstand the temptations of the devil. This means to speak the Word of God, with authority, to the devil and he will flee from you. Satan cannot argue with God's Word because he knows that God's Word is truth and that it reveals all of his lies.
Don't forget - if what you believe contradicts what the Bible says, then you are believing a lie - and we know that lies come directly from the father of lies... the devil. So confirm all of your thoughts with scripture because that is where you will find the TRUTH you need.
Temptation is one of the tactics that the devil uses against us, but it is not his only tactic, he has many others. We will look at those in subsequent posts, but for now, focus on fighting temptation, remembering that we have the strength and power through Jesus Christ to withstand all that the devil throws our way.
Implant the Word of God within your heart so that you can speak out against Satan every time he comes calling - and he will.