Paul told the Ephesians: “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil,” (Ephesians 6:11). The list of ways Satan tempts us is as varied as we are, but here are five key tricks he uses:
- Satan is the Master of Disguises. Paul told the Corinthians “… even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light,” (2 Corinthians 11:14). In fact, once Satan used Peter to tempt Jesus (see Matthew 16:23)!
- The Devil knows our weaknesses. He won’t waste time tempting us with cravings that don’t appeal. He knows our weakness and will focus his energy there. Be ready!
- Satan will lull us into complacency. Jesus told the church in Sardis to “wake up!” (Revelation 3:3)
- He makes it easy to rationalize sin. He’ll use every trick from renaming sins (sins become “indiscretions,” “peccadillos” and “faults”) to justifications of every sort (“everyone is doing it” and “no one is really getting hurt”).
- The Devil encourages us to practice “selective hearing.” Kids are great at this (and not a few husbands too). Look at the different responses you get to “I need someone to take out garbage!” and “Who wants ice cream?” We practice selective seeing when all we see is the temptation and no alternative: “What could I do? I had no choice.” There is always a choice (See 1 Corinthians 10:13.) There is always the Lincoln Alternative. Abe once advised, “When forced to choose between the lesser of two evils – choose neither!”
I love watching magicians at work. They do such amazing tricks, but once we know their secrets, the fantastic becomes simply clever. Once we understand Satan’s tricks, we strip him of some of his power.