Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith.
1 Peter 5:8
Temptation is everywhere. Some temptation is just from being human, like eating that extra piece of cake. But some temptation is more sinister and comes from our enemy, the devil. We are under attack, not just from an unbelieving world, but from our greatest foe the devil himself. Satan knows that he cannot have us because we already belong to Jesus. There is nothing that he can do that will ever take us away from our Savior. (John 10:29) But Satan can turn us into ineffective Christians so that we won’t share our faith with other people who may also believe.
Satan’s goal is to devour and destroy Christians, and he will use every weapon in his arsenal to do it. He is constantly setting traps for us to fall into and he knows our weaknesses and how to exploit them.
So, how can we to sort out which temptations are from Satan? And how can we resist him and live the life God has for us? We are at war, and just like any military operation, if we want to successfully combat our enemy we have to understand and recognize the tactics that will be used against us.
Lying is what Satan does best. He is the father of lies, so deception is the first tactic he tries. His lies are cruel and he knows exactly which lie will stop us in our tracks. He will tell us that we’re not good enough, that we don’t deserve it, that we can’t do it, and so many other hurtful things. Satan wants us to fail and he will tell us whatever it takes to stop us from being effective Christians. But we don’t have to listen to Satan’s lies and we certainly don’t have to believe them.
He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
1 John 4:4
While Satan delights in deception, Jesus delights in salvation! We can resist Satan’s lies and fight back by knowing the truth. Jesus has already defeated him and is victorious! We can rely on this truth, our Savior is greater than any enemy we face.
Satan wants us to be discouraged and he does that by reminding us of our past sins. He will make us feel defeated and like we are already a failure before we’ve even begun. Whether we are sharing our faith, getting ready to go on a mission trip or just going about our day, Satan will try to discourage us from doing what God has asked of us.
For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.
Satan may remind us of our sin, but God doesn’t. God not only forgives our sins, He forgets them. He doesn’t bring them up again and He doesn’t use them against us. When the discouragement from Satan takes hold of us, we can turn to God and He will show us His love and mercy.
“If Satan can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.” Adrian Rogers
Distraction is one of Satan’s most effective tactics against us because it doesn’t look like an attack on the surface. He steals the time away from us that was meant to be used for God’s kingdom. If we’re too busy cleaning up the mess he made then we can’t take that friend out to lunch and share Jesus with them. Sometimes, Satan will use even seemingly good things to distract us from God’s plan. If we say yes to a project that a coworker or friend wants us to do, then that time is not spent connecting with God and making Him a priority.
Be still and know that I am God.
Busyness and stillness are opposites just like Satan and God. If Satan can cause us to be busy then we can’t experience the peaceful stillness that comes from time with God. Satan will keep us running around in circles all for the sake of busyness. But if we see that our time is being stolen by the enemy, we can change that and say no to his distractions.
Therefore submit yourself to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
These are just three of the many tactics that Satan uses to make us ineffective Christians. Once we learn how to recognize his tactics, we can resist him by knowing God’s truth and by being steadfast in our faith. Then Satan will have no choice but to flee from us.