2008-10-02 - Satan's Wiles
1 Peter 5:8, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."
Have you ever been tempted? I suspect we all have been. Satan is called "the tempter," in Matthew 4:3, and he is still the tempter to us today. He has had at least 6000 years to watch and observe human behavior, and he certainly has gathered more than a little experience doing his occupation in that time. He has learned how to tempt kings, but also those who take up residence in the subways of NYC. He has watched us all, and he knows us well. He watches one and sees that he/she is lazy, and so Satan tempts them with TV shows or video games. He notices a guy with an eye for the ladies, and tempts him with pornography. He notices that a young woman has a propensity toward the latest fashion, and so he tempts her with the latest style, shoe, or bag that is beyond her budget and will force her into debt, or to neglect giving sacrificially to the things of the Lord.
It is what Satan does. He tempts us, and he is good at it. What we might be able to conceal from our best friend, Satan knows of us. He puts the idea close to our heart and gives us all the freedom and opportunity possible unto mischief. It is no wonder that Scripture admonishes us to be sober and vigilant.
Satan is much like a chameleon in his methods. He makes our temptation in the shape most attractive to us to give into. If we are very careful about our own conduct, Satan will tempt us to legalism and judging others. If we are more free and allow latitude in the things we do, Satan will tempt us to a liberality that transgresses God's law and our conscience. Are we flexible, "go with the flow" types? Depend upon it that you will be tempted to be inconsistent in your walk and profession of Christ. He lays the traps according to our weakness. However best he may do it, he seeks to ensnare us, weaken our faith, usefulness and constancy in the things of Christ. Satan knows just how and when to lacerate our hearts. It is no wonder that so many of those who make a good beginning in Christ end up rusty with sin. Our adversary is quite well-schooled in bringing us down.
A couple of things to consider here: We will never be tempted without permission given from the very throne of the Father, where Jesus pleads for us. Also when we are tempted, we are always provided with a way of escape. If there is no way of escape, there will be the grace given to us to withstand the temptation. We need not yield to Satan's wiles. He is ever evil, and he always wants our worst. We see this in the first two chapters of the book of Job. What did Satan wish to do to Job in afflicting him? A simple reading of the text tell us that Satan wanted to do as much to Job as God would let him. He had the worst in mind for Job. Let us not expect that he has any other desires for us.
When we are faithful and resist the temptations, God is glorified. It is to His glory that we are able to withstand Satan. Left to ourselves - be honest - we would fall every time. Oh, but we have so great a Savior who pleads for us and ever makes intercession on our behalf before the Father, "He ever liveth to make intercession for them," Hebrews 7:25.
Soli Deo Gloria,