The Devil knows our weaknesses and the temptations we are likely to give in to, so what are we to do?
Many of us have a picture of what Satan looks like in our mind. Red garments, pitchforks, and devil horns are all things that are regularly associated with Satan. However, that is not the way that the Enemy goes about his business.
"And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light." 2 Corinthians 11:14
"When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies." John 8:44
This is the tricky thing about Satan. He usually schemes in a way that looks like the truth but is actually a lie. He pretends to have our best in mind, but in reality he comes to seek, kill, and destroy. Rather than show his hand, he masks his true intentions.
Much like the fine print on a bad contract are Satan's lies,
"Look! This will make you happy, this is what you want! (slight risk of eternal suffering and separation from God)--but who even knows right?! C'mon!"
"God's just no fun! Live for right now! (you'll later learn that this will only bring pain, regret, and later death)--but whatever!"
The Devil tries to get us to question what God is like and if what he says is really what is best for us. He knows our weaknesses and the temptations we are likely to give in to, so what are we to do?
READ GOD'S WORD
"...you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:32
Satan has always been about deception. From the beginning, the Enemy has deceived us into believing that sin is what we want, not God's promise. Sin is when we exchange the truth of God for a lie (Rom 1:25). The importance of reading God's Word is that by knowing the truth, and remembering what God says, we can guard ourselves against the lies of sin. God's word is the truth. It is the truth that sets us free.
KNOW YOUR WEAKNESSES
"Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8
The Enemy is taking notes and he's learning up on us. If you are going to deceive someone, it helps to know the temptations that they are more likely to give in to. On the same coin, if you are trying to avoid being deceived, then it helps to know your own weaknesses.
Know the environments where you are more vulnerable.
Listen for the tones you are seduced by.
Watch for the bait that most entices you.
Identity the relationships in your life that influence bad decisions.
Study yourself. Be a student of your own soul.
PREACH TO YOURSELF
"Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God." Psalm 43:5
When you find in your soul a longing for sin or catch yourself in a vulnerable situation, preach the truth to yourself. Remember God's promise and who He says that He is. John Owen famously said, "be killing sin or sin will be killing you." This is how we make war on the sin that aims to kill us. Preaching the truth of Jesus Christ to ourselves and remembering that He alone satisfies; that is our hope of defeating the allure of sin.
We have a real enemy. Satan really is after us, and he is more deceptive than we realize. The good news is that Jesus has defeated sin and will one day defeat the Enemy once and for all. In the meantime, let us be sober-minded, watchful, and eager to put sin to death by the truth of Christ.