How Satan tempts you is demonstrated in how he tempted Jesus in Luke 4:1-13. Knowing his strategy won’t make you immune to his tactics. But will better equip you in an effort to resist.
How Satan tempts you is to attack where you’re most vulnerable
Satan doesn’t fight fair. He knew Jesus had just fasted for 40 days and hunger his greatest vulnerability. So it was Satan’s immediate point of attack. And he does the same to us. He doesn’t tempt you when you’re physically and spiritually healthy. But when you’re sick, exhausted, under heavy stress, grieving a loss, and struggling emotionally and spiritually.
Notice Jesus didn’t respond with a clever reply. Or attempt to match wits with Satan. He responded by quoting scripture.
Does that sound like an easy out? Like Jesus was intimidated and afraid to take Satan on? Not at all! Jesus quoted scripture because God’s word is absolute truth and speaks for itself. Satan’s best reasoning…his strongest argument would not stand against it. That’s why we should both study and memorize the Bible.
How Satan tempts you is by appealing to your desire for power
There’s an insatiable desire for power in all of us. Maybe that’s why we like super heroes so much. It’s more about the super power than the hero. And Satan understands this desire better than anyone. Because it was his desire to be like God.
But Satan can be very subtle too. By encouraging you to find the power within yourself. To improve. Become your own best version. More happy. Successful. Beautiful. As he leads you slowly, intentionally, and carefully away from God. Away from the greatest power of all…His love.
You can imagine the force of that temptation on Jesus. After all, as God incarnate, he already possessed almighty power. Why not use it?
And the answer is because he came to destroy the power of sin. So he had to sacrifice his life. Which required humility and submission to God’s will. It was not an easy choice for him to make. But he did so in order to set us free from another power. The power of sin.
How Satan tempts you is to manipulate your source of authority
Now Satan shifts his strategy. He refers to the Bible, which is Jesus’ source of authority, and tries to use it against him. It’s interesting to note that Satan knew the scripture. And quoted it easily. But he didn’t accept it for himself. which highlights another reality. You can know the Bible and God intellectually without believing or following either one personally.
Of course, Satan didn’t fight fair this time either. And he took scripture verses out of context and manipulated them to support his argument.
And Jesus didn’t respond with an apologetic argument. But simply by quoting another verse. And it wasn’t just the authority of scripture this time. It was the fact that the scripture reminded Satan of who he was talking to. The absolute authority. God himself.
Although Satan lost his temptation against Jesus, he still actively tempts us today. Not just by manipulating scripture. But every source of authority conceivable. And he twists and perverts them into multiple forms to lead you away from Jesus Christ. Through books, newspapers, social media, videos, TV, radio and more. And it’s not just Satan working alone. But his army of messengers.
In order to fight him off you must cling to God’s word and abide among His people.
How Satan tempts you is to return at a more opportune time
This is probably the most sobering part of Satan’s temptation of Jesus. The determined persistence of Satan. Scripture is clear about Satan’s future. But he is going down fighting. So we should never drop our guard. Because there will be times we resist Satan’s temptations through the power of God. But Satan will return when you’re most vulnerable. Because he wants to take you with him.
And just like God wants you to join him in heaven, and offers you the path by following Jesus Christ, Satan wants you to join him in hell. And he makes the path look even more enticing and pleasurable than following Jesus. Until it isn’t. But then, it’s too late.