Satan, like a fisher, baits his hook according to the appetite of the fish.
Satan promises the best, but pays with the worst; he promises honor, and pays with disgrace; he promises pleasure, and pays with pain; he promises profit, and pays with loss; he promises life, and pays with death. But God pays as He promises; all His payments are made in pure gold.
The devil has three ways by which he makes men seek after him. First, commonly he covers holiness with other names. Secondly, he persuades men that sins are but little. Thirdly, that they may be repented of hereafter.
It is not persecution alone that we ought to fear, not those forces that in open warfare range abroad to overthrow and defeat the servants of God. It is easy enough to be on one’s guard when the danger is obvious; one can stir up one’s courage for the fight when the Enemy shows himself in his true colors. There is more need to fear and beware of the Enemy when he creeps up secretly, when he beguiles us by a show of peace and steals forward by those hidden approaches which have earned him the name of the “Serpent.”… Those whom he has failed to keep in the blindness of their old [pagan] ways he beguiles, and leads them up a new road of illusion. He snatches away people from within the Church herself, and while they think that coming close to the light they have now done with the night of the world, he plunges them unexpectedly into darkness of another kind. They still call themselves Christians after abandoning the Gospel of Christ and the observance of His [moral] law; though walking in darkness they think they still enjoy the light.
You are in danger of desiring the blessing more than you desire God, and when that happens you may be easy prey for Satan to offer you a shortcut.
Satan has been a liar from the beginning. His constant goal is to get believers to turn their backs on the promises of God and pursue apparently rosier dreams.
We often forget that temptation can come from any quarter, even from within our own family circle. We expect the Devil to assault us like a roaring lion, as ugly and fearsome as can be. We don’t expect him to come to us dressed up like an angel of light, speaking in the honey-sweet tones of the ones we love. Yet the Bible warns us that such an approach is easy for him to adopt (2 Cor. 11:14). Thus, Satan didn’t only confront Jesus head-on in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11); he also tempted him more subtly through the words of one of his closest disciples, Peter (Matt. 16:23).
Some of these things the devil would not do if he could. He would not awaken the conscience and make men aware of their miserable state caused by sin. He would not make them aware of their great need of a Savior. The devil would not confirm men in the belief that Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of sinners or raise men’s value and esteem of Him. He would not generate in men’s minds an opinion of the necessity, usefulness, and truth of the Holy Scriptures or induce them to make much use of them. Nor would he show men the truth in things that concern their souls’ interest. He would not undeceive them and lead them out of darkness into light. He would not give them a view of things as they really are…Therefore, we may be sure that these marks are especially adapted to distinguish between the true Spirit and the devil transformed into an angel of light.
The devil can counterfeit all the saving operations and graces of the Spirit of God.
The devil may be fawning and wily to break one’s commitment to God, or he may be hostile and deadly. He appeals to the innate selfishness of humans to get us to disobey God: “You desire things, you deserve them, and you will get them.” The word that we can gain anything we want in life – wealth, health, the perfect mate, business success, respect from others – is irresistible to those who are obsessed with themselves. The devil can quote Scripture and tell lies about God so that evil masquerades as something good. He can get persons to believe that their personal interests are indistinguishable from God’s interests. When we do not get what we want, the devil uses a snake-headed bitterness that rears up from the caverns of the heart to destroy others and ourselves. Satan also tries to lead us to mistrust God and so to put God to the test.
[Fear] is Satan’s weapon held in reserve. When alluring temptations fail, he opens his quiver and shoots these arrows to set the soul on fire, if not with sin then with terror. When he cannot carry a soul laughing to hell through the deception of pleasurable temptations, he will try to make him go mourning to heaven by this amazing attack. It is a sure sign that Satan is losing. The arrows he shot at Job were of this kind. When God let the devil practice his skill, why did Satan not tempt Job with some golden apple of profit or pleasure or some other enticement? Surely the high testimony God gave about Job discouraged him from these methods. Satan had no tactic left but this.
When thoughts or inclinations contrary to the will and ways of God creep in, many dear Christians mistake these miserable orphans for their own children, and take upon themselves the full responsibility for these carnal passions. So deftly does the devil slip his own thoughts into the saints’ bosom that by the time they begin to whimper, he is already out of sight. And the Christian, seeing no one but himself at home, supposes these misbegotten notions are his own. So he bears the shame himself, and Satan has accomplished his purpose.
The devil will let a preacher prepare a sermon if it will keep him from preparing himself.
Satan knows that if he can get us to laugh at things we believe we would never do, our defenses will fall.
The devil shapes himself to the fashions of all men. If he meets with a proud man, or a prodigal man, then he makes himself a flatterer; if a covetous man, then he comes with a reward in his hand. He has an apple for Eve, a grape for Noah, a change of raiment for Gehazi, a bag for Judas. He can dish out his meat for all palates; he has a mold to fit every shoe; he has something to please all conditions.
For where God built a church, there the devil would also build a chapel.
Satan is most effective in the church when he comes not as an open enemy, but as a false friend; not when he persecutes the church, but when he joins it; not when he attacks the pulpit, but when he stands in it.
Error always goes to church because Satan disguises himself as an angel of light, infiltrates the systems of religion, particularly Christianity even true Christianity and plants his seeds of error there and a gullible, witless, uneducated, undiscerning church becomes a victim.
Christ Creates Conflict in the Synagogue. The sermon originally appeared (https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/42-182/christ-creates-conflict-in-the-synagogue) at www.gty.org. © 1969-2008. Grace to You. All rights reserved. Used by Permission.
It is a serious reflection for the evangelist that wherever God’s Spirit is at work, there Satan is sure to be busy. We must remember and ever be prepared for this. The enemy of Christ and the enemy of souls is always on the watch, always hovering about to see what he can do, either to hinder or corrupt the work of the gospel. This need not terrify or even discourage the workman; but it is well to bear it in mind and be watchful. Satan will leave no stone unturned to mar or hinder the blessed work of God’s Spirit. He has proved himself the ceaseless, vigilant enemy of that work, from the days of Eden down to the present moment.
Till we sin Satan is a parasite; but when once we are in the devil’s hands he turns tyrant.
It is a masterpiece of the devil to make us believe that children cannot understand religion. Would Christ have made a child the standard of faith if He had known that it was not capable of understanding His words?
How can I tell the difference between the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit and the accusing attacks of Satan? Some thoughts: 1. The Holy Spirit puts His finger on a specific sin I have committed, something concrete I can own and confess, but the accusations of Satan are vague and simply demoralizing. 2. The Holy Spirit shows me Christ, the mighty Friend of sinners, but the devil wants me spiraling down into negative self-focus. 3. The Holy Spirit leads me to a threshold of new life, but the devil wants to paralyze me where I am. 4. The Holy Spirit brings peace of heart along with a new hatred of sin, so that I bow before Jesus in reconsecration, but the devil offers peace of mind with smug relief, so that I fold my arms and say, “There, that’s over with.” 5. The Holy Spirit helps me to be so open to God that I allow Him to control the conversation, but the devil tempts me to take off the table certain questions I just don’t want God to talk to me about. We are thankful for our dear Friend, the Holy Spirit.
The devil is not impersonal like stones or bureaucracies; he is a non-person. The Devil has become all that God is not; he is not beyond personality – he is without it. His purpose in creation is not to destroy God; he knows that he cannot do that. He wants to draw us into the vortex of non-personhood that he has become, and the nothingness of non-being that he is becoming. Satan, in short, aims to take as many of us with him as he can (Nigel Wright).
The devil’s attack against God begins with the greatest of God’s creatures, the one who has dominion over all else, the one who bears God’s image and holds the dearest place in God’s heart. It says quite a lot that what the devil hated most in God’s perfect world was the man and the woman in their relationship with God (Richard and Sharon Phillips).
Satan’s greatest success is in making people think they have plenty of time before they die to consider their eternal welfare.
Satan is so wily, his agents so surround us, their designs are so masked, their language so plausible, their manners so insinuating, their appearance often so imposing, their arguments so subtle, their activity so unwearied, their insight into our weaknesses so keen, their enmity against Christ and His gospel so implacable, their lack of all principle and all honesty so thorough, that the net may be drawing around us, before we have the slightest suspicion of these infernal plots being directed against us!
[Satan] sometimes slanders God to men; as to Eve… sometimes men to God; as Job… and continually, man to man.
The devil’s cleverest ruse is to make men believe that he does not exist. Or to give us the false impression that he is a silly old character in a red suit with little horns and a forked tail. Or to convince us that his devilish powers are so overwhelming that we are helpless to resist.
[The devil] is always “going about as a lion seeking whom he may devour.” An unseen enemy, he is always near us, about our path and about our bed, and spying out all our ways. A “murderer and a liar” from the beginning, he labors night and day to cast us down to hell. Sometimes by leading into superstition, sometimes by suggesting infidelity, sometimes by one kind of tactics and sometimes by another, he is always carrying on a campaign against our souls… The strong man armed will never be kept out of our hearts without a daily battle.
Satan is the prince of darkness, but he often uses his “smiling light” to achieve his best purposes. His effectiveness is limited when he comes as an open enemy, but oh so very powerful when he comes as a friend, when he comes as an “angel of light” (verse 14), like a Judas among the apostles.
Satan deceives people to pull them down through self-righteousness, self-confidence and self-esteem. Then the enemy deceives them to keep them down through self-regret, self-despair and self-pity.
Satan would love nothing more than for you and I to pretend he doesn’t exist or acknowledge his existence and take his assault on you lightly. He would also like to see you buckle under fear at his threats or defend yourself using worldly and man-made tactics.
Satan tempts (to make us weaker), but God’s goal is to test (to make us stronger) and oftentimes we are tested by God permitting Satan to tempt us. In the Bible (Luke 4) we see Jesus being tested by God as He is led by God into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
It is so diabolical! So many people, so often in my own life, convinced they are right when there are so grossly deceived. I see people falling for Satan’s lies hook, line and sinker! Somehow they believe that they will be happier if they disobey God as if Satan really has our best interest in mind. He comes as an evil foe with malicious suggestions and at times an angel of light speaking the Word of God. He works through our desires and human weakness and doubts. Yet remember this, he is always lying, always seeking to destroy and always opposed to God.
How can Satan in a subtle way get people to disregard the truth on Sunday morning? How about getting people to think the sermon is entertainment or sitting through an entire sermon for a need to uphold a religious duty? Yeah, nothing about coming prepared to hear God’s Word. According to Satan – I’ll keep them out late on Saturday night. I’ll distract them with Sunday afternoon plans. I’ll have them put way more time into looking good physically than preparing their hearts spiritually before coming to church. I’ll have them arrive late so they can miss the singing to prepare their hearts to receive the truth and then distract others trying to worship when they stroll in. I’ll get them to believe the message is more intended for someone else. I’ll get them to listen for the 1% they disagree with as compared to the 99% they need to know. I’ll convince them that applying what they just heard is optional. And then I’ll get them to forget about what they heard before they even reach their cars.
Biblically speaking, the overwhelming percent of humanity is in Satan’s kingdom. We all know most people are deceived. After all, how many would willingly say they love Satan and want to be associated with his lies now and eternal future then? Of course Satan knows this too. So in his craftiness “the angel of light” deceives people to pursue morality and goodness and religion. According to him, they can have all of these so long as they don’t have Jesus. Make them all Pharisees!
Satan hates God’s children. It is his utmost ambition to see us fail in our spiritual responsibilities. Specifically, his goal is to do whatever it takes to take us off the spiritual front lines. Doubt. Distractions. Greater love for other things. Sin. Laziness. It’s subtle, its strategic, it’s sinister. His methods are predictable, but missed by those spiritually asleep and not alert. That’s why we read in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
Satan always hates Christian fellowship; it is his policy to keep Christians apart. Anything which can divide saints from one another he delights in. He attaches far more importance to godly intercourse than we do. Since union is strength, he does his best to promote separation.
[Satan] can make men dance upon the brink of hell as though they were on the verge of heaven.
Seven Tactics of Temptation:
1. Satan especially likes to tempt us when our faith is fresh, i.e., when the Christian is only recently converted and thus less prepared to know how to resist his seductive suggestions.
2. Satan especially likes to tempt us when our faith feels strongest, i.e., when we think we are invulnerable to sin. If we are convinced that we have it under control, we become less diligent.
3. Satan especially likes to tempt us when we are in an alien environment.
4. Satan also likes to tempt us when our faith is being tested in the fires of affliction. When we are tired, burnt out, persecuted, feeling excluded and ignored, Satan makes his play. His most common tactic is to suggest that God isn’t fair, that he is treating us unjustly, from which platform Satan then launches his seductive appeal that we need no longer obey.
5. Satan especially likes to tempt us immediately following both spiritual highs and spiritual lows. Periods of emotional elation and physical prosperity can sometimes lead to complacency, pride, and a false sense of security. When they do, we’re easy targets for the enemy’s arrows.
6. Perhaps Satan’s most effective tactic in tempting us is to put his thoughts into our minds and then blame us for having them.
7. A related tactic of temptation is for him to launch his accusations as if they were from the Holy Spirit. In other words, he couches his terms and chooses his opportunities in such a way that we might easily mistake his voice for that of God.
How do you win a battle? You read the enemy’s book. Familiarity with his tactics, knowledge of his ways, is essential in waging a successful war. It’s true in military warfare. It’s true in spiritual warfare as well. Patton gained an immeasurable advantage by learning in advance of being attacked where, in all likelihood, Rommel would concentrate his strike. He studied Rommel’s personality, his strategy in previous battles, his philosophy of tank warfare, all with a view to anticipating and countering every conceivable move. Satan doesn’t have a book. But he’s in ours.
How do we distinguish between satanic accusation and divine conviction? Among other things, the former comes in the shape of condemnation that breeds feelings of hopelessness. We are told that our sin has put us beyond the hope of grace and the power of forgiveness. Satan’s accusations are devoid of any reference to the sufficiency of the cross. Divine conviction for sin, on the other hand, comes with a reminder of the sufficiency and finality of Christ’s shed blood, together with a promise of hope and the joy of forgiveness.
Temptation almost always begins in the flesh (James 1:14). Our flesh sets fire to sin. Satan simply fans the flames. Satan is powerless until we first say “yes” to sin. He exploits our sinful decisions, most often by intensifying the course of action we have already chosen (Eph. 4:26-27).
The focus of Satan’s efforts is always the same: to deceive us into believing that the passing pleasures of sin are more satisfying than obedience.
It grieves me to say this, but the primary reason people are in bondage to sin is because people are bored with God. One of Satan’s most effective tactics is to convince us that God is a drag.
It strikes some as odd to say that Satan has a strategy. They mistakenly conclude that because our Enemy is sinful he must be equally stupid. Such reasoning has been the downfall of many in the body of Christ. He does not act haphazardly or without a goal in view.
Whatever and whenever God blesses, Satan curses. What God creates, Satan counterfeits.
Satan will always claim to know more about God than God Himself has revealed. He will claim to have special insight into God’s motives for a command or a prohibition that God Himself has kept secret. In other words, he will sow seeds of doubt in your mind concerning God’s goodness; he will lead you to believe that God has ulterior motives in what He does designed to deprive you of blessings you might otherwise experience. “God is not telling you the whole truth. He can’t afford to.”
Rarely, if ever, will Satan confront you as Satan. He will almost always approach you indirectly, disguised as someone or something who/that is more likely to win your trust (e.g., when Peter opposed Jesus’ going to Jerusalem in Mt. 16). He will come to you through something you hear or see, perhaps a movie, a lecture by a brilliant, articulate, but pagan professor, through a well-meaning friend, or as an angel of light. After all, if you knew it was Satan, you’d be less inclined to listen or say yes.
Hell is the highest reward that the devil can offer you for being a servant of his.
Satan watcheth for those vessels that sail without a convoy.
Satan is happy when problems occur in the body of Christ. He loves divisions, dissensions, uproars, individual against individual, falsehood against truth, lies, distortions, and other things that upset the tranquility and mission of the church. And one of his insidious ways of fostering these problems is to cause the leadership to assume that we just need to give the matter a bit of time to see if it won’t work itself out. Seldom is that the case! Some very minor issues, are best left alone, but when they escalate to major issues, time will work against us rather than for us. We must not fall into Satan’s trap. He is for real!
When you determined in your heart to serve the Lord, be prepared for temptation from the evil one.
The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world he didn’t exist.
In effect, by accepting Satan’s statement, Eve was calling God a liar, even though she might not have recognized those implications of her action. She accepted Satan as the truth-teller and God as the prevaricator. By partaking of the fruit she was implicitly stating her belief that Satan was more interested in her welfare than God was. Yielding to the temptation implied that she accepted Satan’s analysis of the situation instead of God’s.
It must not be expected that the devil will let those rest who are laboring to destroy his kingdom.
We must expect to be tempted by [Satan] in some degree or another, all of our lives, because this life is a continual warfare. We must never expect to have rest from our spiritual adversary the devil, or to say, our combat with him is finished. Our fight with the evil one will continue until we bow our heads and our spirit is removed from our body and is brought into the presence of our dear precious Savior Jesus Christ!
If we would therefore behave like good soldiers of Jesus Christ, we must be always on our guard, and never pretend to lay down our spiritual weapons of prayer and watching, till our warfare is ended by death; for if we do, our spiritual foe will quickly prevail against us. What if he has left us? It is only for a season; yet in a little while, and, like a roaring lion, with double fury, he will break out upon us again. Satan is such a evil enemy, that he seldom leaves us after the first attack. As he followed our blessed Lord with one temptation after another, so will he treat the Lord’s servants. And the reason why he sometimes does not renew his attacks, is because God knows our weaknesses and at times are unable to bear an attack. Sometimes the pause in the temptations come because our adversary thinks it is better to assault us at a more convenient season.
The wicked enemy is so inveterately opposed to the Divine majesty that he would gladly, if it were possible, overturn the throne of God. As he utterly despairs of accomplishing that object, he throws out all his venom against the elect, employs every expedient, and exhausts all his devices to enslave those whom the power of God has torn from his grasp. He assaulted the first Adam in Paradise. He made an attempt on the second Adam in the wilderness, but his efforts were foiled. Disappointed in that expectation, he bends all his attack on those whom Christ has claimed to be his own.