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.
And wield its truth as a sword against our enemy. Because God’s word is living and active. It penetrates to the heart and soul. And doesn’t return to God void.
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.
Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.
Chip, that third point where Satan tempts us through our source of authority. It is not just through Scripture that he tries. TV is one avenue. Satan tried to use a fellow Christian through a certain TV show. The original showrunner tried to “dirty up” the show. Fellow Christians were not fooled. Unfortunately, some Christians attacked online their disapproval of the content by attacking the actor’s Faith (considering her a hypocrite). Unfortunately, the actor had responded that she did not listen to the fans. The fans were upset with the show’s content and felt deceived that the show was not “family-friendly” when it had been advertised as such.
Yes, that is a great example and what I was suggesting in the last sentence when I mentioned Satan uses multiple forms today to lead us away from the truth of God’s word. TV programs were changed slowly and carefully for many years. Little moral changes that didn’t seem significant at the time. But when you compare programs today to the ones 20 years ago, you can see a huge difference in morality from then and now. Thanks for pointing that out. And we see all kinds of messages presented in sources of authority in the way of studies, polls, and the like. From sources that present themselves as objective news, scientific research and academic studies. We even have to be careful about some of the teachings of TV preachers. That’s why we are told in 1 John 4:1-6 to test the spirits. In other words, filter everything you hear against God’s word. Thanks for your sharing your insight.