Excerpt from the book: Warnings from the Garden: Uncovering the Wiles of Deception by Tavares Robinson
Satan is persuasive and has the ability to turn a damnable lie into a perceived truth. That is the art of deception—to take what is supposed to damage our souls and make it believable. This is very dangerous because every time we believe a lie, we make it harder on ourselves to believe the truth.
No one is exempt from temptation, but there are preventive measures we can take that will reduce our chances of becoming casualties of Satan. One preventative measure is to know the truth of God’s Word. Yet knowledge alone is not fool-proof. Adam had truth, but it didn’t prevent him from disobeying God.
What could have enabled Adam and Eve to overcome Satan’s temptation? It would have been the application of truth they already knew. Applying God’s Word in the midst of pressure and persuasion enables us to be victorious. Every temptation we face is a measure of how much we love God and our willingness to apply truth we already know. The tragedy is that many fall victim to Satan’s temptation even though they already have everything they need to withstand it.
God’s Holiness Does Not Tolerate Rebellion
Satan knows from personal experience that God’s holiness will not tolerate rebellion. It is not something to take lightly. Throughout the Bible, rebellion was always followed by God’s judgment, and his judgment was always severe.
Rather than rebel we ought to view temptation as an opportunity to grow. If we respond to temptation correctly, our faith will be matured. We will see God’s written word manifested in our lives. But if we respond incorrectly to temptation—that is, with rebellion—four things will happen:
• We will develop a lack of reverence for God.
• Our relationship with God will be damaged, shattered by our sin.
• As we make selfish decisions and rebel against God, we will take others down with us. We become Satan’s conduit to slander and offense.
• We become apostate. This does not necessarily mean we leave our church. In fact, we can be faithful church attenders but still have hearts of defection or revolt—a fatal position.
Hebrews 6:4–6 speaks of this fatal position of the heart: “For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened—those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come—and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame” (NLT).
Satan Becomes One with Our Thoughts
If we deliberately reject God, the explanation is that we knew clearly what God said and still chose to do what we wanted. If the Evil One has our heart at this last, fatal stage, then we have shut God’s voice out. And when God no longer speaks, the evil spirit takes away our ability to discern what is right and proper. He becomes one with our thoughts.
There are five steps we can take in order to recognize when Satan is present, who he is speaking through, and what his objective is:
• First, understand that Satan strikes when we are mentally weary and fatigued, unable to discern. He does not want our minds to be strong and sober.
• Second, be aware that the enemy speaks through people who will influence you to see things from a human perspective, not God’s. When Peter told Jesus that he would not die, The Lord was able to see that it was not Peter but Satan who was speaking. Jesus turned to Peter and opposed him: “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s” (Matthew 16:23).
• Third, when God speaks a specific word to us, know that Satan also has a strategy and will encourage us to disobey what God has decreed. This is sometimes seen in well-meaning friends who want to give us [ungodly] advice.
• Fourth, we must examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith. Identify things in our heart that Satan can draw strength from.
• Fifth, learn how God wants us to respond. In some instances, God wants us to be silent, and at other times he wants us to be vocal. When Pilate tried to get Jesus to plead his case, Jesus maintained silence, but when Peter confronted him about dying, Jesus spoke up and called Satan out. Learn to discern.
The Enemy Will Lose
Another measure we can take to prevent becoming casualties of Satan is found in James 4:7: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James also lays the foundation for why we should submit: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” (James 4:5–6).
What makes submission so difficult is that it is a product of the will. When we humble ourselves, we are bringing the totality of who we are under the alignment and authority of God. When we are submitted to God, there are some things we just won’t entertain. In Ephesians 4:27, Paul warns us to “not give the devil a foothold.” We should never create an opening or an opportunity for Satan. Eve carried on her conversation with the Serpent far too long. First Peter 5:9 tells us unequivocally to “stand firm against him [the Devil], and be strong in your faith” (NLT). Once we humble ourselves in this manner, we will not have to run from Satan. On the contrary, we will be able to block him when he comes charging at us.
Since we don’t know how long the temptation will last nor when the Enemy will flee, we must hang in there and remember that it is never what we see but what God says. When Satan tempts, remember—God gave us everything we need to defeat him.