How Satan Works
Have you ever been tempted?
Temptation is Satan’s way of trying to get us away from God. Temptation itself is not sin. We are all tempted, but what is important is how we respond to the temptation to sin. We have not sinned until we give in to the temptation. It is a sad but true fact that many people give in to temptation knowing full well it will lead to sin.
How can you resist temptation?
James 4:7 says, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." In order to resist the devil, you need to know a little bit about how he works.
How does he tempt us?
How does he get us to sin?
This passage of scripture shows us the pattern Satan uses to tempt us. Knowing how Satan works will help you to overcome your next temptation. The first thing I want you to see is that:
Satan tempts us to sin by causing us to question God.
He causes us to doubt.
This is the beginning of every temptation. Satan asks Eve in Verse 1, "Did God REALLY say that you can’t eat from any of these trees in the garden?" The implication in this seed of doubt planted by Satan could have been something like this, "Why did God say you can’t eat from any of these trees?
Is he stingy?
He must not want you to have the very best, since he won’t let you eat the fruit on THAT tree, and he points to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
God must not really love you."
In Verses 2 and 3, we have Eve’s response to Satan’s prying question, "No, no, you have it all wrong. We can eat from all of the trees except that one in the middle of the garden, the one you just pointed to. God said we can’t eat from it OR touch it; otherwise, we will die."
Verse 3 gives us the first lie in the bible.
God did not tell Adam and Eve they were forbidden to touch the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Refer back to Genesis 2:15-
"We can’t even touch it", she says. This self-
"Why can’t we touch it?"
Questioning God causes us to doubt.
How many times have you questioned God?
We are quick to question God when adversity strikes.
We ask questions like, "Why did you take my loved one from me?" or "Why did you allow this tragedy happen to me?" We pray God’s word back to him and claim his promises of safety and comfort.
We say, "God, you promised that you would never leave me or forsake me.
You promised to provide for me."
We forget about those passages of scripture that demand our obedience in order to receive the promises of God.
We blame God. "God let me down."
"He wasn’t there when I needed him."
"He caused this to happen."
We question God on every point:
"Did God really say that I have to love everyone?"
"Did God really say that I have to make a commitment to serve him?"
"Did God really say that I have to put others before me?"
"Did God really say that I have to obey him?"
"Did God really say he will judge sin?"
"Did God really say that I sin?"
We speak lightly of sin.
We say that we all sin, but we apply that statement to the other person.
We really don’t acknowledge our sin as God would have us acknowledge it.
If we did, we would most certainly be different. We question God but the questions become statements. "Did God really say" becomes "God didn’t really say." The focus shifts from God to us.
We begin to look to ourselves for answers through our reason instead of through almighty God.
We rationalize sin into obscurity and say, "God loves everybody. God has surely forgiven me" but we never repent in our hearts.
We try to find those grey areas, but a temptation has only two possible answers.
Either you will sin or you won’t. If you continue to weigh the "pros and cons" of a tempting situation, you will inevitably sin. Instead of asking, "Did God really say this is a sin" you proudly state, "God didn’t really say this is a sin." If you pray, seek God, read scripture, and ask God to strengthen you and lead you through the temptation, you will not sin.
You will have the victory.
If we recognize that Satan tempts us by causing us to question God, we can overcome the temptation. Satan also tempts us to sin by distorting God’s truth.
We don’t always recognize Satan when he knocks at our door. Satan knew all too well that the result of sin would be death.
Again, refer back to Genesis 2:17. The phrase, "you will surely die" translates, "dying, you will die." The idea in the phrase is that man would die a spiritual death which would result in separation from God. This spiritual death would ultimately lead to physical death, because man would be removed from the source of eternal life. If you notice in Chapter 2, the tree of life was also in the middle of the garden, next to the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Without God providing them nourishment from the tree of life, their physical bodies would die.
In Verse 4, Satan distorts God’s truth by telling Eve that, "dying, she surely will not die", implying that God would never allow his creation to be separated from him. "God’s not going to do anything."
Verse 5, Satan tells Eve that not only will she not die, but her eyes will be opened and she will be like God, knowing good from evil.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to be like God. In fact, according to Matthew 5:48 Christians are commanded to become Christ-
She was sinless, God’s perfect creation.
She was already what God wanted her to be.
Satan told her that she could become more like God by defying his authority.
She could take God’s place and decide for herself what was best for her.
In effect, Satan said she could be her own god. She could decide what was good and what was evil. Satan led her to believe that she could disobey God without suffering any adverse consequences.
We do exactly what Eve did.
We allow Satan to distort God’s truth so that we can justify our sin.
Satan is not threatened by the unsaved world.
They don’t believe God’s word anyway.
But Christians are a different story.
They believe God’s word, at least they say they do.
How does Satan work today?
He has us pick out those parts of scripture that justify our position. You can justify anything with scripture just by picking out the parts you like and ignoring the rest. For example, if you don’t want to believe that God will deal with your sin just because you claim to be a Christian, you focus on those parts that talk about God’s love and his grace and forget about the parts that talk about his judgment. And you don’t do any in depth bible study because that would reveal that God’s judgment is an important part of his love and that God judged sin by placing all of it on his son as the scapegoat who hung on a cross so that we might have his grace.
Satan tempts us by distorting God’s word.
In the King James, Psalm 119:160 says, "Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever."
The literal Hebrew translation says this, "The sum of thy word is truth, and every righteous judgment of thine is for ever." To be protected from the temptation to distort God’s word, it is imperative that you study what scripture has to say about a subject from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21.
Thirdly Satan tempts us by making sin look appealing. In verse 6, the woman saw that the tree would be good for food, it looked good, and it would make her wise. She kept her focus on the tree because everything about it appealed to her senses. It would satisfy all of her desires. Being like God and knowing good and evil were appealing to her. She saw nothing wrong with wanting either of those things. She made a willful decision to disobey God because she focused her attention on the tree rather than the will of God. Not only did she sin, she involved Adam in her sin. She gave it and he received it without question. We all focus on Eve’s temptation in this passage. But where was Adam?
He was with her, listening to his wife being tempted and he did nothing at all.
Why didn’t he stop her from eating that fruit?
Because everything Satan said to Eve also appealed to him. Adam had already sinned in his heart by allowing the temptation to continue because he wanted what this fruit could provide but didn’t want to accept any responsibility for disobedience.
He knew what God had commanded.
God gave it to him personally, before Eve was even created.
Maybe if he allowed her to take the first bite, God wouldn’t hold him accountable.
Satan makes sin look appealing to everyone, but people just don’t want to take responsibility for their sin.
We focus on the physical act of Eve taking that first bite, but we forget that God held Adam accountable. God’s word has much more to say about the rightness of a man’s heart than the rightness of his physical actions. A right heart will lead to right actions. If your heart is right with God, you will not be tempted by the appeal of sin.
In my conclusion:
Satan will use whatever device he needs to cause us to sin against God.
He will cause us to question God.
He will cause us to distort God’s word to fit our own needs.
He will make sin look appealing.
If we understand how Satan works, we can be on our guard when situations arise that could lead us to sin.
We will be tempted, but we read in 1 Corinthians 10:13, "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."
If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you don’t need to be concerned about temptation.
Why? Because you already stand condemned before God as a sinner and your place in eternity is secure in hell.
You will be with Satan himself.
He won’t tempt you, there is no need.
You are already on his side.
He won’t waste his time on you.
If you are happy with that arrangement, I will continue to pray for you.
You can’t possibly be content knowing that you are going to hell.
If you have asked Jesus into your heart but have not made your profession public, you may not be sincere about salvation and the things of God. You have succumbed to Satan’s desires rather than God’s. He won’t tempt you either. You have purposed in your heart to remain disobedient to God. Satan does not waste his time on unimportant matters. Keeping people from God is important to Satan. That makes you unimportant to Satan.
You are important to God.
You need to come forward and let me share Jesus with you. If you are a Christian who feels like you always give in to Satan’s temptations, come let me pray with you. Maybe you will be better prepared to deal with temptation now that you know how Satan works, but you still need to be lifted up in prayer. Satan will do his best to make you feel defeated, but you must remember that we have the victory through Jesus Christ. If you just need to come pray, the altar is open. Whatever you need to do, do it in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ.