Satan, like a fisher, baits his hook according to the appetite of the fish.
Sin dwells in hell, and holiness in heaven. Remember that every temptation is from the devil, to make you like himself. Remember when you sin, that you are learning and imitating of the devil – and are so far like him. And the end of all, is that you may feel his pains. If hell-fire be not good, then sin is not good.
While God most often appeals to our wills through our reason, sin and Satan usually appeal to us through our desires.
As an obedient believer, you are to stand firm in the strength of the Lord, to be sober in spirit, and to remain alert in order to resist the schemes of the devil. However, in all areas of your walk as a believer, you are incapable in your own strength and insufficient in your own resources to overcome the wiles and temptations of Satan. Therefore, you must put on the full armor of God to be an overwhelming conqueror in your continuing spiritual battle.
If God were not my friend, Satan would not be so much my enemy.
Don’t excuse yourself by accusing Satan.
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.
Sin is not an option for the believer. How can you continue in sin when that sin was paid for in the torn flesh of Jesus? How can you look longingly upon Satan’s offerings when the cross of Christ is in front of your eyes? Christ’s love constrains our hearts to seek holiness. The fact that sin has no lasting benefits remains true, but it is not simply because sin doesn’t pay that you are to turn your back on the tempter. The fact that sin will not get you what you really want in life is not nearly a powerful enough defense to guard you against the attractiveness of Satan’s lies and the fickleness of your heart. Only a deep grasp of the gospel has the power to bring about deep change in your heart. It is knowing the terrible price that has already been paid for your sin that enables you to say no to sin.
As Christians, we are involved in a battle. Our arch-enemy is Satan who “walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). The way in which he devours unwary people is by tempting them to sin – by convincing them that sin is a more rewarding master than Christ. He therefore disguises himself and his agents, and he makes the pleasures of sin appear very appealing to us. And Satan does not just attack us from the front where we can clearly see him coming; he attacks from every side.
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.
If thou dost not stumble at this stone, the devil hath another at hand to throw in the way. He is not so unskillful a fowler as to go with one single shot into the field; and therefore expect him, as soon as he hath discharged one, and missed thee, to let fly at thee with a second.
In opposition…to all the suggestions of the devil, the sole, simple, and sufficient answer is the word of God. This puts to flight all the powers of darkness. The Christian finds this to be true in his individual experience. It dissipates his doubts; it drives away his fears; it delivers him from the power of Satan.
There are two views which the Christian ought to cultivate with all that he has: the Devil’s back and the face of God [see James 4:7].
The enemy will not see you vanish into God’s company without an effort to reclaim you.
If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at the moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved to be steady… [It] is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point [of attack].
When the apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesian Christians [Eph. 6], he was not suggesting that they view their conflict with the powers of darkness as a battle whose outcome still hung in the balance. He was telling them they needed to “be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might” (v. 10, emphasis added); to “stand firm” (vv. 11, 13); to use the spiritual armor – truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and God’s Word – to resist the schemes of the devil. They were to fight from a position of victory, not out of fear that Satan might make them toast.
Job’s story demolishes the notion that we can avoid Satan’s attacks if we’re sufficiently strong, or skilled enough, or trained in how to wage war against Satan. No one was more spiritually fit than Job. Yet God allowed Satan to ravage him anyway – and there was nothing Job could do about it. Job finally prevailed in the face of Satan’s merciless assault, not because he found some secret way to beat the devil, not because he rebuked him or ordered him to desist, but because God was in control all along. He knew how much Job could bear. And He would not permit Satan to cross that boundary (1 Cor. 10:13). When Satan reached that limit God stopped him and his attacks ended.
Winning against Satan is not a question of claiming some kind of imagined authority over him; we simply need to pursue righteousness, avoid sin, and stand firm in the truth [1 Tim. 1:18-19; James 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:9].
You might be interested to learn that there is no illustration in the entire Bible of anyone casting demons out of a believer. The only people who ever legitimately cast out demons were Christ and the apostles. All the demon-possessed people they dealt with were unbelievers. Furthermore, they usually cast out demons totally apart from the will of the unbeliever. Jesus and the Twelve were exercising the gift of miracles. They were authenticating messianic and apostolic credentials, not establishing a pattern for us to follow.
The notion that spiritual warfare involves direct confrontation with demons is foreign to Scripture. Christians who verbally confront demons waste energy and demonstrate ignorance of the real war. We are not called to convert demons, but sinners. The battle is rather with the false ideologies men and demons propagate so that the world believes them. Doomed souls are inside their fortresses of ideas, which become their prisons and eventually their tombs – unless they are delivered from them by belief in the truth.
[Satan] wants us to laugh at sin rather than mourn over it, and to rationalize it rather than confess it and bring it to the Lord for forgiveness. He seduces us to become so used to sin in us and around us that it no longer bothers our conscience.
Our enemies are demonic, but the warfare against them isn’t waged by commanding them, mapping their physical location, invoking magic words to subdue them, claiming authority over them, or any of the other common tactics some people usually refer to as “spiritual warfare.” We are not fighting demons in a face-to-face confrontation, or by spirit-to-spirit conversation, or with voice-to-voice communication. We attack them by tearing down their fortresses of lies… What, precisely, are our weapons? The only power that will destroy such things is the power of truth…“the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17).
The simple fact is that you can’t fight spiritual warfare with magic phrases and secret words. You don’t overpower demons merely by shouting at them. I don’t have anything to say to a demon anyway. I’m not interested in talking to them. Let the Lord do that (cf. Jude 9). Why would I even want to communicate with evil spirits? But I have a lot to say to people who have barricaded themselves in fortresses of demonic lies. I want to do everything I can to tear down those palaces of lies. And the only thing that equips me to do that well is the Word of God. Spiritual warfare is all about demolishing evil lies with the truth. Use the authority of God’s Word and the power of the gospel to give people the truth. That is what will pull down the fortresses of falsehood. That is the real nature of spiritual warfare.
There’s no need for Christians to seek to engage Satan in combat. Nowhere in Scripture are we ever encouraged to do so.
Satan and his demons never, never act against God’s people without the permission of God. And when God gives them permission, He always uses their work to accomplish some divine purpose. Often, to exalt the power of God and prove the devotion of His followers, God permits Satan to work the hardest on the noblest servants of God.
This is not a complex battle plan: Submit to God and resist the devil [James 4:7]. How? By being firm in the faith, committed to truth, and keeping a clear conscience. What will Satan’s response be? “He will flee from you.” That is the only statement in all the New Testament that tells us how to get rid of Satan. There are no biblical guidelines for exorcism. There is no more elaborate strategy for spiritual warfare. There is nothing in Scripture that tells a believer to speak to demons, cast them out, bind them, tie them up, or do anything like that.
I know well that when Christ is nearest, Satan also is busiest.
The primary way to overcome Satan is on our knees (Derek Prime and Alistair Begg).
Mention of the “schemes” of the devil reminds us of the trickery by which evil and temptation present themselves in our lives. Evil rarely looks evil until it accomplishes its goal; it gains entrance by appearing attractive, desirable, and perfectly legitimate. It is a baited and camouflaged trap (Klyne Snodgrass).
Satan’s number-one objective is to destroy our joy of faith. We have one offensive weapon: the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God (Eph. 6:17). But what many Christians fail to realize is that we can’t draw the sword from someone else’s scabbard. If we don’t wear it, we can’t wield it. If the Word of God does not abide in us (Jn. 15:7), we will reach for it in vain when the enemy strikes. But if we do wear it, if it lives within us, what mighty warriors we can be!
This is the great business of life – to “put our mouths out of taste for those pleasures with which the tempter baits his hooks.” I know of no other way to triumph over sin long-term, than to gain a distaste for it, because of a superior satisfaction in God.
Out of all the armor God gives us to fight Satan, only one piece is used for killing – the sword. It is called the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17). So when Paul says, “Kill sin by the Spirit” (Rom. 8:13), I take that to mean, Depend on the Spirit, especially His sword. What is the sword of the Spirit? It’s the Word of God (Eph. 6:17). Here’s where faith comes in… The Word of God cuts through the fog of Satan’s lies and shows me where true and lasting happiness is to be found. And so the Word helps me stop trusting in the potential of sin to make me happy, and instead entices me to trust in God’s promise of joy (Psm. 16:11).
Consider how our Lord Himself resisted Satan when He was tempted in the wilderness (see Matthew 4 and Luke 4.) Jesus did not "bind" Satan. In all three instances of Satan’s temptations, our Lord quoted Scripture, and the devil was repelled ("he left Him for a season.") We should follow our Lord’s example when attacked or tempted. And let’s not forget that if we are going to quote Scripture, we must know Scripture! Our Lord quoted three times from the book of Deuteronomy. How many of us can quote three verses from the book of Deuteronomy? Knowledge of the Word of God is important for repelling Satan, and is crucial for Christian growth and living as well. As He was growing up, the Lord Jesus must have spent a lot of time memorizing the Word of God (see Luke 2:52). What an example for us to follow!
Prayer as a piece of armor is focused not on "binding Satan" but on requesting strength for resisting the devil and growing in faith.
Let’s use the idea of "binding Satan," which is taught in some churches as a norm for Christian living. In Revelation 20:1-10 we read that Satan will be bound for a thousand years, later released for a short time, and finally thrown into the lake of fire (hell) for eternal punishment. In other words, it seems quite clear that until Satan is bound for the thousand years, he is not bound. He will not be bound until Scripture says he will be bound. The 1000 years of Revelation 20, when the Lord returns to this earth to set up His millennial kingdom, is a future event. Therefore the "binding of Satan" today is really unscriptural terminology and unscriptural practice, even though the intent may be for the glory of God. Christians who spiritualize the 1000 years of Revelation 20 to the present "Christian age" (the "amillennial" view of Revelation) are inconsistent if they call for the "binding" of Satan. If Revelation 20 is in the present time, then Satan is already bound by God, and he doesn’t need to be bound again and again by Christians! Any way you look at it, "binding Satan" shouldn’t be part of normal Christian conduct today.
What does the New Testament indicate about normal Christian attitude in reference to Satan? James 4:7 says that we are to "resist the devil and he will flee" from us. How do we resist the devil? The classic passage in the New Testament for resisting the devil is Ephesians 6:10-18. This is the Christian "Standard Operating Procedure" for spiritual warfare today. Notice that there is nothing in either James 4 or Ephesians 6 about binding Satan! We are told to resist Satan –to oppose and combat his efforts and schemes. We are to take on the full armor of God so that we can stand firm and extinguish Satan’s flaming missiles.
If it were possible for us to "bind" Satan today, we would not need instruction about the various pieces of the armor of God. If Satan could be bound, he would not be capable of attacking us and throwing flaming missiles. In fact, the concept of "binding" Satan can actually be quite a dangerous belief. If we believe that we can "bind" Satan, we will (wrongly) think that he has been incapacitated, and we will be completely unprepared for the enemy’s attacks. In addition, if we believe that our prayers can "bind" Satan, we will be far less diligent about "putting on God’s armor," and will be defenseless and vulnerable to Satan’s attacks. Satan is not bound – and cannot be bound at the present time. Our strategy, then, is to be fully armed to repel his attack. Putting on the armor of God and fighting is the kind of resistance that thwarts the enemy’s scheming tactics, and forces Satan to flee.
Every temptation is a kind of test, but not every test is a temptation. Tests and temptations have different purposes, and they come from different places. Tests are designed to show what someone can do. Their purpose is positive, which explains why God himself tests people, as he tested Abraham (Heb. 11:17). A test is a trial posed by God to prove the strength of our faith. Temptations, on the other hand, are more negative. Their explicit purpose is to entice people to sin, which is why they come from the Evil One. A temptation is a trial posed by Satan, with the wicked hope that we will fail.
The devil is relentless. No sooner have we resisted one temptation than his demons come after us with another. He is persistent. If we show the slightest sign of weakening, he will keep pressing us until we sin. He is crafty, gradually leading us down the road of destruction. He starts with a small temptation. When it succeeds, he presents us with a slightly greater temptation, slowly drawing us deeper and deeper into sin. He is subtle, so subtle that sometimes we find ourselves sinning before we are even aware of being tempted. Satan is also creative. He offers us a complete line of transgressions to choose from: greed, lust, hatred, despair, and anger.
The chief weapon we ought to use in resisting Satan is the Bible. Three times the great enemy offered temptations to our Lord. Three times his offer was refused, with a text of Scripture as the reason, “it is written” (Mt. 3:4, 7, 10).
We are evidently no friends of Satan. Like the kings of this world, he wars not against his own subjects. The very fact that he assaults us should fill our minds with hope.
[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.
All alike must carry arms and go to war. All have by nature a heart full of pride, unbelief, sloth, worldliness, and sin. All are living in a world beset with snares, traps, and pitfalls for the soul. All have near them a busy, restless, malicious devil.
Satan gives Adam an apple (fruit), and takes away Paradise. Therefore in all temptations let us consider not what he offers, but what we shall lose.
Spiritual battles are fought on the turf of the human mind. It is not about identifying territorial demons or binding demons or rebuking demons. So are we battling the forces of darkness? Yes, because our ultimate battle is “not against flesh and blood” (Eph. 6:12), but no, because we are not called in Scripture to go toe-to-toe engaging in hand-to-hand combat with demonic forces. The war is over the control of human minds. Our aim is to liberate people from demonic strongholds. We are to free the prisoners of war. Our call is to convert not demons, but people. The arena therefore is not mystical, but intellectual. Therefore, according to 2 Corinthians 10:5, we “destroy [intellectual things] raised up against the knowledge of God.” How? We do it with the Word of God. We combat the error that has already been sown in people’s minds with truth. We, verse 5, “are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” This shows that the primary problem is that people have a wrong understanding of Christ.
Our problem with Satan is not that he is too strong for us in Christ’s power. Our problem with Satan is that he hates us because he has been defeated.
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.
The devil hates you. He lost you to God and he fiercely wants you back. He wants to see more than anything you fall way from the Lord. He is your “adversary.” He is, 1 Peter 5:8, “a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Yet we are promised we can be victorious when we do things God’s way. And doing things God’s way is laying hold of His resources and being “strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” And though Satan will try to convince you this is not the case, let’s always keep in mind that He is the “father or lies” (Jn. 8:44).
Interestingly, we are not commanded to win the overall victory. Christ already did that at the cross and He will consummate it at His return when the devil is thrown into the Lake of Fire. We are simply told to hold our ground against the continual assault of the devil’s schemes and “stand firm” (Eph. 6:11, 13-14).
It is important to note that that though most of the attack on believers seems to come through humans, we must see the devil as the ultimate force behind it all. It’s easy to get frustrated and even resentful toward others who oppose the cause of Christ, but they must not be seen as the primary cause or the primary enemy. People are only prisoners of war being used like puppets in the hands of Satan. People are to be loved as deceived as they may be. They are the mission field that needs to be set free from their bondage as they exist entombed in their false beliefs. Our enemy is not the liberal media or the gay community or the atheist or even the devil worshipper that lives down the street. Our enemy is the devil himself. We struggle not against flesh and blood (Eph. 6:12).
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.
Satan is powerful, but his is a defeated foe. For the Christian, he is only as strong as the power we permit him to have in our lives.
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.”
Now, if our Lord and Master selected this true Jerusalem blade of the Word of God, let us not hesitate for a moment but grasp and hold fast this one true weapon of the saints in all times. Cast away the wooden sword of carnal reasoning. Trust not in human eloquence but arm yourselves with the solemn declaration of God, who cannot lie, and you need not fear Satan and all his hosts. Jesus selected the best weapon. What was best for Him is best for you.
“It is written.” Stand upon it, and if the devil were fifty devils in one, he could not overcome you. On the other hand, if you leave “It is written,” Satan knows more about reasoning than you do. He is far older, has studied mankind very thoroughly, and knows all our weak points. Therefore, the contest will be an unequal one. Do not argue with him but wave in his face the banner of God’s Word. Satan cannot endure the infallible truth, for it is death to the falsehood of which he is the father.
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.
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.
Nowhere in the New Testament are believers ever depicted as living in servile fear of demons, that is precisely the state from which they have been delivered by the gospel.
The devil will try to destroy us by leading us into immoral behavior (Eph. 4:27). That is a real struggle for every Christian. Which is easier: to march around the city and claim it for Christ or to stop running down a fellow believer behind her back? Which is the more demanding: to pray over someone that the demon of jealousy be cast out or going up to someone and asking their forgiveness for the way you have hurt them by your cutting remarks inspired by jealousy? I know which is a real wrestling match for me (Eph. 6:12). This is where the real battle lies in Christian relationships, putting into practice at personal cost Christian truth – not some imaginary Dungeon and Dragons world.
What is the goal of this warfare? To disarm angelic beings? No! Christ has already done that on the cross, as we read in Colossians 2:15: “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” It is simply that we take a stand, remain immovable, and that paradoxically is to advance. You advance by standing firm – as Paul repeats in Ephesians 6:11, 13, and 14.
“Christ in you, the hope of glory.” I’m not afraid of the devil. The devil can handle me – he’s got judo I never heard of. But he can’t handle the One to whom I’m joined; he can’t handle the One to whom I’m united; he can’t handle the One whose nature dwells in my nature.
Spiritual warfare makes us think of demon possession, horrific demonstrations of satanic control, and dramatic exorcisms. But Scripture presents spiritual warfare not as the violent, bizarre end of the Christian life, but as what the Christian life is!
The Believer’s Warfare: Internal, with the flesh – Gal. 5:17; Not after the flesh – 2 Cor. 10:3; with the armor of light – Rom. 13:12; external, with the world – John 16:33; not by resistance but submission – James 4:7; with the armor of righteousness – 2 Cor. 6:7; infernal, with the devil – Eph.6:12; with the whole armor of God – Eph. 6:13.
Man, it’s great to be in the thick of the fight, to draw the old Devil’s heaviest guns, to have him at you with depression and discouragement, slander, disease! He doesn’t waste time. He hits good and hard when a fellow is hitting him. You can always measure the weight of your blow by the one you get back. When you’re on your back with fever and at your last ounce of strength, when some of your converts backslide, when you learn that your most promising inquirers are only fooling, when your mail gets held up and some don’t bother to answer your letters, is that the time to put on your mourning suit? No Sir! That’s the time to pull out the stops and shout hallelujah! The old fellow’s getting it in the neck and he’s giving it back. And all of heaven is watching over the battlements: “Will he stick it out?” And as they see who is with us, as they see around us the unlimited reserves, the boundless resources, as they see the impossibility of failure with God, how disgusted and sad they must be when we run away. Glory to God! We’re not going to run away. We’re going to stand.
The name of Jesus is not a magic incantation that causes demons to flee from before us. The seven sons of Sceva are an example of what can happen when people presume an authority they have not been given (Acts 19:13–16). Even Michael the archangel did not rebuke Satan in his own power but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 1:9). When we start talking to the devil, we run the risk of being led astray as Eve was (Genesis 3:1–7). Our focus should be on God, not demons; we speak to Him, not them.
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.
Our Western worldview gets involved here once again. We have a strong tendency to want to analyze everything and place the parts in neat, mutually exclusive categories. So we ask questions like, How do I know whether it is the world, the flesh, or the devil? My response is that most situations will involve some of each element to some extent… (They) are treated as working together so closely that you cannot talk about one without talking about the other. The flesh is the earthly qualities about which enable us to respond to the temptation. The world is the milieu in which we live and which is under the control of “the ruler of the kingdom of the air.” Satan and his demons know what fleshly parts of us are especially vulnerable, and they use the stimuli of the world around us to arouse sinful thought in us. The Devil would be a fool not to try to take advantage of the world and the flesh in his aim to destroy us.
Idleness tempts the devil to tempt.
The devil tempts, that he may deceive; but God suffers us to be tempted, to try us. Temptation is a trial of our sincerity.
Satan tempts to sin under a pretence of religion. He is most to be feared when he transforms himself into an angel of light. He came to Christ with Scripture in his mouth: “It is written.” The devil baits his hook with religion.
Satan doth not tempt God’s children because they have sin in them, but because they have grace in them. Had they no grace, the devil would not disturb them… Though to be tempted is a trouble, yet to think why you are tempted is a comfort.
Soon the battle will be over. It will not be long now before the day will come when Satan will no longer trouble us. There will be no more domination, temptation, accusation, or confrontation. Our warfare will be over and our commander, Jesus Christ, will call us away from the battlefield to receive the victor’s crown.
With such adversaries, growing in the fear of the Lord will not be a smooth process. Instead, it will be the path of warfare. We must hate the evil and ungodly assumptions of the world, we must hate our own sinful nature, and we must hate Satan. To accomplish these tasks demands the most powerful resources we have: The Word, the Spirit, and the body of Christ.
The purpose of all idolatry is to manipulate the idol for our own benefit. This means that we don’t want to be ruled by idols. Instead, we want to use them… Idolaters want nothing above themselves, including their idols. Their fabricated gods are intended to be mere puppet kings, means to an end… Idols, however, do not cooperate. Rather than mastering our idols, we become enslaved by them and begin to look like them. As idols are deaf, dumb, blind, utterly senseless, and irrational, so “those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them” (Psalm 115:8)… How can these lifeless idols exert so much power? They dominate because of a powerful but quiet presence that hides behind every idol, Satan himself.
When a serpent comes across your path speaking lies, you should run from it or kill it. You shouldn’t sit around for a friendly chat.
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.