Building Christians Up From The Foundation & Unto Perfection

Hebrews 6:1-3

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How Does Satan Work

Before you read: This article is part of a larger series that builds on itself from the foundation up, with each study building on the last. If something in this article does not make sense to you or if you believe it to be incorrect please be sure you have read over the entire course before passing your final judgment. Also be sure to visit this page’s FAQ And Objections Page

The 6 devices that Satan will use are subtlety, ignorance, doubt, pride, pleasure, and guilt. All objections to Christianity that people may give about why they do not believe the Bible or God falls into one of these 6 categories. So, how does Satan work? He makes use of these 6 things.

These are the root causes of all unbelief and all hardened hearts toward God. It is important for us to examine our own selves to see if any of these devices are currently at work in our lives. There is little doubt that at least one or two, if not all of them are.

As we go through these devices of Satan, one by one, we will learn how to spot them in our life and then in the lives of others. We will also learn how to cast them down one by one in our own lives first, and then in the lives of others.

This is important for many reasons, but the greatest reason of all is survival. Some say that the Devil walks about as a roaring lion because he has no teeth. But the truth is that he does have teeth, and to say differently is to underestimate your enemy. He walks about as a roaring lion AND he seeks whom he may devour because he CAN devour someone. These are the teeth that he uses!

Subtlety – Device of Satan #1

How does Satan Work

Who would suspect a cute little kitten could kill you? When we look at a small defenseless creature that seems harmless and cuddly we may want to take it home. But that same little creature grows up and becomes a lion with sharp teeth. “Oh, but it won’t hurt me! It grew up with me!” you may think. But a lion is still a lion, no matter what. It still has basic instincts.

This is how Satan first appears to us. He doesn’t come in telling us to do something horrible just for the fun of it. Satan doesn’t meet us in a dark alley with a pitchfork and horns coming out of his head. He is not quite so obvious.

Instead, he comes to us as “an angel of light.” He seems harmless. He asks a question here or makes a comment there. But, nothing too obvious.

How can you spot him?

Matthew 16:22-23

22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. 23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

A little while before Jesus rebuked Peter in Matthew 16:23 He had said Peter was blessed. But, now a sharp change has happened and Jesus goes so far as to say to Peter “Get thee behind me, Satan.” Jesus knew how to spot the subtle snake.

The things of man are the things that Satan will bring to you and speak of. He says things like these:

“Isn’t that a good looking person?”

“Wouldn’t it be nice to have enough money to just enjoy life?”

“You don’t want to miss that football game, do you?”

“You really are the best.”

On the surface, these are not harmful statements. There is nothing wrong with noticing beauty, enjoying life, playing or watching a game, or even having a healthy sense of accomplishment and self-respect. But where do these lead?

The truth is that they don’t have to lead anywhere bad. They can lead you to look at God and think about how great He is for creating all of these things, or even empowering you to do your best. But they can just as easily be used to lead you into thinking of how to commit sin.

Obviously, you can not constantly be afraid of every thought that comes to mind. Thinking Satan is around every corner waiting to pounce on you is no way to live. Besides, the subtle entrance of the enemy isn’t the danger. The danger is the motive of your enemy, and what they do AFTER they approach you.

So the focus needs to be on preparing ourselves against the attack of this enemy. Because, like it or not, he is going to approach you no matter what you do. We don’t have the luxury of having an enemy that calls first before coming over and knocking on our door.

Ignorance – Device of Satan #2

“Hath God said?” This was the first question ever asked by our enemy. How many times have you and I also heard this question?

Do not be ignorant

“Does the Bible say it is God’s word?”

“Is this really a sin?”

“Hasn’t God said this is wrong?”

“The Bible is full of contradictions.”

“Can we really know the Bible is true with so many copies and translations?”

These are only a few of the very common objections people give. They all fall into the same device of ignorance.

When we do not know what God has said then we do not have any way to defend ourselves against this attack. So, the first step in fighting against this is to arm ourselves with knowledge and understanding.

Proverbs 1:7

7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Before we can hope to have any sound knowledge in us we must first have the fear of the Lord. When the Bible speaks of the fear of the Lord it isn’t just speaking of being afraid of our judge. It is speaking of giving respect and honor to our God (without forgetting that He is also our judge).

Let us not forget that we are human and God is greater than all of us. That means His word stands above the word of men. It means His word alone is above all the wisdom of man. So to fear the Lord is to remember who He is and who we are not. And to remember that His word is truth above all else.

Psalm 11:6

6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?

Proverbs 29:25

25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.

Romans 3:4 (the first half)

4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar;…

Ecclesiastes 12:13

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

Has someone told you that there is a contradiction in the Bible? Those who fear the Lord will first understand that God does not oppose Himself. They will not simply accept this as true. If in fact, they are not able to understand the “contradiction” at first, they will understand at the very least that they are a human trying to understand a God.

That means they will fault their understanding rather than God Himself or His word. This may seem wrong to those without this fear of God. It is, however, the beginning of knowledge because it will drive us to learn and then understand why the imagined contradiction is not actually there. It is simply misunderstood by those who believe it is.

Since the one who does not fear God will look no further than the original accusation rather than looking into it closer he or she will not gain knowledge. They remain in ignorance. But the one who does fear God will look into the matter very closely, with a mind ready to learn rather than to prove God false. Their reward is knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

be humble

So how do you teach someone to fear the Lord since this is first needed to defeat the device of ignorance? To teach them why the scriptures are not in contradiction would be pointless at first. But if you first humble them then they can be brought to an understanding of scripture.

They must be made to know that they are human and God is not. He is more intelligent than they are. The things they think are wise (believing the scriptures to be in contradiction) are foolish to God. Explain to them how often they themselves have been wrong before. Explain how often they have misunderstood things in the past.

Once they are humbled by this and admit that they could be wrong you can begin to teach them how to understand the Bible line by line and precept by precept. This is how you defeat this device of Satan.

It takes time and effort to teach and be taught. Truthfully, there are few who understand the basics of Christianity well enough to be a teacher to others. But, if you are willing to fear the Lord and continue searching Him and the scriptures out then you may come to some wrong ideas at first. But, you will be able to move past them as you grow.

Doubt – Device of Satan #3

The word doubt doesn’t just mean that you don’t believe something is true. It means you don’t know for sure one way or the other. So you lean to unbelief. You become very skeptical. Which is where we find our skeptics.

Is it possible that man has tainted the Bible through all of the copies and translations? Not only is it possible, it is very probable as well. Especially when we have “translations” that contradict each other. So it isn’t hard to understand why there are those of us who are unsure of the Bible.

So how do you fight doubt? You have to become fully persuaded. You have to know what you believe and why. You have to be unshakeable.

There is only one way that this can happen, though. You must hear the truth.

Romans 10:17

17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

The Bible also puts this another way:

Psalm 34:8

8 O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

hear for faith

The tongue can taste sweet and bitter. And, our ears can test the things we hear as well. So to fight doubt we should test the words of the Bible with a clear understanding of it. But, remember that ignorance can affect your tests.

So first become humble enough to know that when you don’t understand something at first, it doesn’t mean the Bible is wrong. It could just be that your understanding is limited at the moment.

Then search out the scriptures to understand them. The word of God is like a hidden treasure. You have to dig through it sometimes to really find the wisdom it contains.

Once you understand the scriptures you can begin to walk in them. You will see that not only are the witnesses in the Bible true, but you will also become a witness yourself.

John 4:42

42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

Pride – Device of Satan #4

Who decides what is right and what is wrong? What if it was left up to each one of us individually to choose for ourselves? There would be no jails and no crime. There would be no people either, because we would have all become extinct. There are people who believe the right thing to do is to destroy every human they see.

Wouldn’t it be better for everyone to have a perfect God make the law? Think about this one for a moment. We are flawed human beings who do not know how everything works together in the universe. What would happen if we made a law, thinking we were doing good, that caused horrible things to happen?

Do you think that this wouldn’t happen if you were in charge? Maybe you are being attacked with this device of pride?

Let’s face facts. There are a lot of things in the Bible that just doesn’t seem right to people. God says some controversial things. The Bible talks about the treatment of slaves, what to do with women who were raped, the treatment of women altogether, the annihilation of entire groups of people, including women and children, with their animals as well.

So we have a choice to make. Are we going to accuse God of being unrighteous by our own standards? Who gave us our standards to begin with?

Many people believe they have the right to judge God. But the truth is that God is the judge and not us. Not only that, but God is a judge who never makes an error.

God is right

Now we can be sucked into pride and believe that we can make our own choices, and that we can do so better than God. That is when we hear arguments against God on the grounds of morality. Or, we can humble ourselves and understand that righteousness comes from doing right, and right is not defined by us, it is defined by God.

Where does pride come from? It is selfishness. It is the lifting of yourself above others and in fact above God Himself. It comes from our own selfish desire. Sometimes it is our desire to be right. This leads to what we call self-righteousness. That is a prideful belief that WE are right just because WE think that WE can be the judge of right and wrong. Which is just an evil way to get what we want.

How do you defeat this device? Again, humility is the key. We should remind ourselves that the judge is over us and makes the rules. If we believe the judge is wrong then it is not because we are right, it is because we don’t know what right is. Maybe instead of fighting against the judge, we should learn why He says what He does? By doing so we can learn rather than being lifted up in our own eyes.

Take the subject of God ordering His people to wipe out entire cities and groups of people for an example. Does it sound morally wrong? Well, have you considered that we ALL die and it is God who chooses our time to go?

Do you know what the effects would have been on humanity if God had not ordered these things? What if God were to decide that today is the day for an entire group of people to die (as it is appointed to man), rather than having them die one by one over the centuries?

Would that not be in His authority to command? Of course, it is in His authority! But why would He do that?! It’s because God knows things that we don’t and will even use death to bring about good.

Pleasure – Device of Satan #5

We sin because we enjoy it. Make no mistake, there is pleasure in sin. The Bible says this as well.

Hebrews 11:24-26

24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; 25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.

A moment of pleasure in sin leads to an eternity of Hell. Let’s stop right here for a moment and talk about that pride again. Does it seem right that the punishment for a temporary sin should be an eternal Hell? The selfish pride says no. But let’s humble ourselves for a moment.

Why would God punish someone forever for something that is only a temporary sin? Let’s go to the beginning. Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. It was only a moment, just one bite. But the ripple of that one moment still affects us today. It changed the course of forever. Every action has a ripple effect for good or evil. Sin for evil, good for a reward. And those ripples last forever. So why should the punishment not be the same?

lover of pleasure

Now, back to the device of pleasure. Sin has an immediate “reward.” It has a pleasurable payoff that we get to enjoy long before the end of our lives. But we don’t know when that end will be, do we? So we have a choice.

Will we be lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God? Some of us think that we will turn to God on our death bed. But salvation requires true repentance. If you ask God to forgive you on your deathbed and then suddenly become well again, will you go back to sin until the next time? That isn’t true repentance. That means you were not truly repentant on that death bed.

That means if you didn’t get well then you would have just honored God with your lips, and maybe even making a vow to never sin again, … but your heart would not be in it. Because it would be an empty prayer trying to con God. But He knows your heart.

So how do you defeat this device? Count the cost. Know what it will mean to live in pleasure. Know that as long as you live for pleasure you can not live for God. Know that it will harden your heart to hold out as long as you can. Know that it will cause you to miss your chance to be saved.

Guilt – Device of Satan #6

Once you know you are in trouble you are going to have to face it. That means you are going to have some adrenaline flowing. The fight or flight instinct will kick in. You will fight against God, or run and hide from Him. You can know you need Him, but fight that knowledge and hide your eyes from it. You can try to avoid the topic altogether.

Or you can humble yourself and face God with honesty and accept what He says. This is what He says through the scriptures:

do not run from mercy

“All have sinned.”

“There is no temptation taken you except that which is common to man.”

“The soul that sins shall surely die.”

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

“And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”

“Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.”

So do not run from the righteous judge. He is good and will forgive if you turn from your wickedness and follow Him.

Unit 1:6 – What Is the Trinity OR

Return To Christianity 101 Unit 1 – The Bible and Faith in God

July 10, 2015 at 3:10 am | | No comment

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