Genesis 3:1-7 New International Version
3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Ephesians 6:10-18 New International Version
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 English Standard Version
3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
John 8:44 English Standard Version
44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
From the very beginning, God wanted humans to worship Him because they want to worship Him.
God could have made us like robots who acted according to our programming, but this wasn’t in the plan. God gave us the ability to think, reason and act. God gave us “free will.”
He wants each of us to love, worship and obey Him because we want to and choose to. Not because we have to.
Therefore, God provides humans a choice. A choice between good and evil; light and darkness. A choice between eternal life or eternal damnation.
Hence, Satan has been given his reign as the power of evil and darkness.
As with Eve in the Garden of Eden, Satan’s first strategy is to deceive. He convinced Eve that God was not telling her the truth. Satan says “you shall not die” if you eat of the forbidden fruit. God is withholding from you the fact that your eyes will be opened and you will be like God knowing good and evil.
It worked. The deception worked because Eve was open to listening to Satan’s argument. Then she looked upon the tree and fruit and found it was a delight to the eyes.
Satan first got her to listen and consider, then to look.
Looking was just another step in considering what Satan was selling her. It was too much. Eve took the fruit and ate it.
Eve has no excuse.
Then she gave it to Adam who was with her and he ate also.
Adam likewise has no excuse. He didn’t stop Eve from disobeying God and he didn’t hesitate in disobeying God himself.
It is the same with all humans. Once we open our mind to that which we know we shouldn’t, Satan has the advantage. As with Eve, the questioning of God begins. Then comes the rationalization. Then comes the justification.
Satan’s deception can be so great that one can rationalize and justify any word, thought or deed. He is sneaky. He is wily. He is evil.
Flip Wilson used to use the punch line “the devil made me do it.” It was funny and unfortunately a lot of people use this as an excuse for sin. In reality, we cannot use this excuse.
Yes, Satan deceives us and pulls us away from God, but the responsibility lies with us. Satan just nudges us along. Satan does not make us sin or cause us to sin. However, he is the master salesperson who deceives us to accept what he is selling. In truth, we have no excuse.
God does not rationalize sin. God does not justify sin. God does not excuse sin.
Another strategy of Satan is to divide. Have you noticed over the past few decades how many churches have split over disagreements? They have split into factions which start new churches. Then the factions spilt, starting even more new churches. Satan divides families. He divides Countries. He doesn’t like or want unity, unless it is under his control.
Another strategy of Satan is to cause doubt. He will do his very best to cause the Christian to doubt some scripture. If he gets someone to doubt one scripture then it is easier for him to create more doubt about God’s word.
An important thing to take note of is that the mind is Satan’s battlefield. He works in our minds. What we continually think about becomes our words and our actions. If he can control our mind, then he controls us.
He is devious and sly. And, he is a liar.
Satan wants no one to worship God.
However, Christians surely have a target on their back. If the salvation of one lost sinner brings joy to the angels in heaven, it stands to reason that if Satan and his forces can cause one Christian to fall away, it brings joy to him.
Because of Satan’s power, Paul tells us we are engaged in spiritual warfare and we must put on the full armor of God to defeat the schemes of the devil and the spiritual forces of evil.
Paul says we are fighting the SPIRITUAL forces of evil.
If you are a Christian, you are in the crosshairs of Satan. You are in his sights.
Whatever weakness you have, Satan will try to capitalize on it.
It may be gossip; it may be material things; it may be money; it may be stretching the truth; it may be thinking more of yourself than you should; it may be self-glory; it may be self-righteousness; it may be looking down on others; it may be looking down on those of a different race or religion; it may be sensitivity; it may be the tendency to hold grudges; it may the tendency toward bitterness and anger; it may be sensual in nature.
Whatever the weakness, Satan will try to exploit it and cause the Christian to act in an un-Godly manner.
He will turn a grudge into bitterness. Then bitterness into anger. Then anger into hatred.
That is how he works
And all the while Satan will cause one to rationalize their actions. “These other races are just different.”
Then he will cause one to justify their actions. “They get what they deserve.”
See how he works?
Satan gets us to listen, look and consider. Once we slide down that slippery slope we are in trouble.
We must take our spiritual opponent seriously. From our childhood upward, we learn to see Satan as being a funny looking horned character in red, with a pitchfork in his hand. This caricature is not foreboding. We look at it and laugh.
This is how Satan wants us to view him. He wants us to underestimate him. He wants us to think he is a cartoon character and not to be feared. He doesn’t want us to take him seriously.
Why? Because this give him an extra advantage.
Paul warns us that we fight not against flesh and blood, but rather against cosmic powers and the spiritual forces of evil. This is a powerful enemy. The prince of evil and darkness. Let us at all times keep on the armor of God, in which we will always defeat the crafty evil one.
James tells us in James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
Let us remember this always. Let us never let down our guard. Let us never give Satan any advantage. Don’t listen. Don’t look. Don’t consider.
Never let Satan allow rationalization, for the next step is justification.
Satan is our powerful enemy, but God is more powerful and has promised that we can defeat the wily evil one through our faith and dependence on Him.