“For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.” 1 John 2:16 (NIV)
Something I pray on a regular basis is that God will give me a keen awareness of the enemy’s plans and schemes against me. I want to be able to recognize his traps and avoid them.
I believe part of His answer came one day as I studied the story of Satan tempting Eve (in Genesis 3) and our key verse: “For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world” (1 John 2:16).
As I compared these passages, I had a serious epiphany about how Satan goes after us. These verses outline Satan’s three-pronged plan of attack on our hearts. And it’s the same plan we see him using while tempting Jesus in the desert in Matthew 4:1-11! This fact tells me while the enemy may be powerful, he’s also predictable.
Let’s take a closer look at Satan’s plan as revealed in Eve’s story and Jesus’ story:
1. Make them crave some sort of physical gratification to the point they become preoccupied with it.
Satan tempted Eve with fruit, which “was good for food” (Genesis 3:6a, NIV).
Satan tempted Jesus with bread while He was on a fast. (Matthew 4:3-4)
Satan tempts us with whatever physical sense we are too preoccupied by — be it taste, smell, sound, touch or sight. God says that our senses are good. He gave them to us to enjoy within His boundaries. But venture outside God’s intention for them, and they become an attempt to get our needs met outside the will of God.
2. Make them want to acquire things to the point they bow down to the god of materialism. Keep them distracted by making their eyes lust after more and more stuff.
Satan tempted Eve by drawing her attention to what was “pleasing to the eye” (Genesis 3:6a, NIV).
Satan showed Jesus the kingdoms of the world and told Him that He could have it all. (Matthew 4:8-10)
Satan flashes the newer, bigger and seemingly better things of this world in front of us, trying to lure us into thinking we must have them. He tempts us to think: This will make me fulfilled. This will make me happy. And then it wears out, breaks down, gets old and reveals just how temporary every material thing is.
3. Make them boastful about what they have or do. Keep them distracted and obsessed with their status and significance. Choke the life out of them using the tentacles of their own pride.
Satan tempted Eve by promising an increased awareness that would make her become more like God. (Genesis 3:4-5)
Satan tempted Jesus by telling Him to throw Himself off the highest point of the temple and command the angels to save Him. (Matthew 4:5-7) This would have been very impressive and would have raised Jesus’ status and significance in the eyes of the world.
Likewise, Satan tempts us to try and elevate ourselves over others. We wrongly think we have to become something the world calls worthy. This creates a need within our flesh to have people notice us, commend us, revere us and stroke our pride. We then dare to boast about all we are.
Oh, sweet sister, this is where we must stop and remind ourselves that we don’t have to be held hostage by Satan. We are onto him and his schemes. And the enemy’s power is nothing compared to the promises of God. The enemy’s tactics are no match for God’s Truth. God has a good plan for good things.
There was a huge difference between Eve’s response to Satan and Jesus’ response to Satan. Eve dialogued with Satan, and she allowed him to weave his tangled web of justifications. Jesus, on the other hand, quoted Deuteronomy with every temptation as He answered, “It is written …” and He immediately shut Satan down with the Truth of God (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10).
What will our response be?
It’s our choice.
Moment by moment, decision by decision, step by step — will we operate in God’s all-powerful Truth or allow Satan to entangle us in his lies?
Father God, I’m so thankful You haven’t left us defenseless. Your promises are always a perfect match for our problems. The enemy is no match for Your promises. Guide me, equip me, and infuse Your holy confidence within me as I stand firm against the enemy today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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Satan loves to use our disappointments to cause us to doubt the goodness of God. But God wants us to know that while the enemy may be vicious, he is not victorious. Lysa TerKeurst wants to help you use Truth to combat Satan’s deception with her free resource called “Fighting the Lies of the Enemy: 12 Scriptural Truths To Declare Over Your Disappointments.” Download this guided journal and begin making progress today! Sign up here.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
James 4:7, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (NIV)
How do the words above encourage you as you confront any fear you might have around the enemy? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.
© 2023 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
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