Satan’s Techniques for Temptation

Allen Malone
Allen Malone

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We may not be ignorant of Satan’s devices (II Corinthians 2:11), but may still be overcome by him. The apostle Paul’s inspired concerns for saints of his time remain valid. “I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (11:3 nkjv). Genesis 3 reveals some of the devil’s most effective techniques for luring people to sin – especially people who know the Lord and His will.

He pointed to the forbidden (3:1). "Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?" God had highlighted what was allowed (2:16). Satan spot-lighted what was forbidden.

He lied (3:4). God had said, “When you eat of it you will surely die.” The tempter said to the woman, “You will not surely die.”

He misused the truth (3:5). "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." This line, while true, (3:7, 22), contained a false implication. He used words that were true to falsely imply that the opening of her eyes would be something beneficial, a blessing of which she was presently deprived.

He diverted Eve’s focus from God’s will (3:6). “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.” His diabolical scheme was successful because he effectively influenced Eve to cease reminding herself of what she knew to be God’s will (3:2-3), but instead to dwell upon the appealing characteristics of the forbidden fruit.

Satan’s tactics then are Satan’s tactics now. Genesis 3:6 reveals that his basic approach was to appeal to fleshly desires, visual attraction, and self-exalting pride. The New Testament reveals that these remain the basic appeals that lead people to turn from God’s will. “All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, … but the one who does the will of God lives forever” (I John 2:16-17 nasb).

Let’s not miss this fact, though: Satan’s primary means was deception. All of his devices were intended to accomplish that one end. Satan’s temptation was effective because he was able to deceive. Eve admitted it (Genesis 3:13); God acknowledged it (3:14); and the New Testament confirms it (II Corinthians 11:3; cf., I Timothy 2:14). “…Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning….”

Furthermore, it is important that those of us who know God and His will notice the nature of Satan’s deception. The Bible shows us that Eve was not deceived about God’s instructions (Genesis 3:2-3) and may not have been deceived about the consequences of eating (3:4), but rather Satan successfully deceived her about God Himself (3:5).

Satan’s most effective ploy is to convince us that God is something other than a loving, wise, powerful Father who has our best interests at heart.

Let’s not be deceived, but believe! Meditating with joy on God’s sure care for us which He proved by providing us a Savior who was tempted in every way that Eve was and we are, “yet without sin,” is key (Luke 4:1-13; Hebrews 4:15-16). “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all…” (Romans 8:31-32). “Take heed that you be not deceived!”

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