We are going to think about the ways of Satan. You and I are currently fighting a battle, a spiritual battle, every day. It is a battle against Satan, a battle against sin. It helps us to know what strategies or ways Satan uses to make us stumble. Jesus said in John 17:3 that knowing is eternal life, eternal life is knowing God our Father and His Son whom He has sent. Not knowing causes us pain at times. Knowing God allows us to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Without knowing Satan, we cannot defeat him.
Today we are going to continue to look at a few more strategies and ways that Satan uses to destroy God’s people and cause God’s people to fall away from faith.
1. Satan causes man to fall into the pit of his own greed and lust
(James 1:14-15). When Satan is successful in activating my greed, after that it is autopilot for him, he can go take a nap. That greed in us will do all the work. Lust or greed will lead to sin, and sin to death. Sin is very stubborn and persistent. Sin is something that no one can defeat, no human being can defeat with their own strength. Everyone has different gifts and different strengths. What is that door through which Satan enters into every person? It is called greed, lust and pride.
Satan enters into us through this door called “greed”. He sits on the throne of pride. The main point in the 10 Commandments is that all sin against God or others come from greed. Love for myself, without God. Greed caused our forefathers to fall too.
Example: Adam and Eve. What did they lack in the Garden of Eden? They had everything. One thing they didn’t have, was the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which was not for them. Their greed says: I want that too.
You have 99.9% of everything but that 0.1% you don’t know, you want that too. The 10th commandment is thou shall not covet (greed). Greed, Covet, Lust. Why did the Israelites grumble so soon after parting of the Red Sea? The Israelites only took 3 short days to grumble again. Why did David commit adultery at the peak of his kingdom? He could have had wives and concubines as a king, but he committed adultery with Bathsheba and eventually committed the murder of Uriah the husband of Bathsheba. Why? It was greed.
2. Secondly, Satan makes sure that sin is carried out into action
Sin does not just stay in the heart or thoughts, he makes sure sin is carried out into our words and action. You cannot avoid birds from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from nesting over your head. There are thoughts of sins coming in when we hear and see things of the world. There is a lot of input. However, we can prevent it from making a dwelling inside us. If we do not repent and get rid of those sinful thoughts immediately through prayer and repentance, it will slowly nest in us little by little in our hearts, it starts to desensitize our hearts to sin. If that is taking place in our lives, we need to really wake up and pray. We need to seek God’s help, ask Jesus to really rescue us from this cycle of sin. James 1:21-22.
What James is saying is this: There are two things that can come into us in general, they do the same thing. First, sin comes in and grows in us and it is carried out into our actions, so we become doers of sin. The Word does the same thing, the Word grows in us, and is carried out in our actions, so we become doers of the Word. Which do you want to be? But James is saying it is our action that demonstrates what is in us and what is growing inside us. What is in me is shown through my words and my actions. James 1:23-25. If you just hear the Word, and not be a doer of the Word, it is like you looking at your face in the mirror, turning around you forget what you look like.
3. Third, Satan makes fights within
Adam and Eve blamed each other as soon as they committed sin. They fought. Adam not just fought but he blamed God for giving him the wrong woman. There are invisible fights, struggles within ourselves, within a family, with the church. They can become very poisonous, it is easy for us to forget our tasks, and forget who our real enemy is when these fights begin. Fights begin because the church or members did not uphold the Word of God, did not focus on the real enemy but rather focused on themselves.
(1 Samuel 17:28) David coming into battle with Goliath. David’s older brother Eliab scolded him as insolent, wicked. There are spiritual Eliabs in our lives, in church, who get in the way of the real fight. David did not care. He is focused on who he needs to fight, Goliath and not Eliab. Satan is very crafty to make us forget that we are fighting against him, and causes us instead to look at one another that we are each other’s enemies.
(i) Let us not get deceived by Eliabs in our lives
(ii) Let us not be an Eliab to other people
All Eliab’s anger towards Goliath was expressed towards David. We need to avoid being used by Satan like Eliab, and also like Peter. Matthew 16:16. What did Peter do wrong? He cared for his teacher but Peter spoke without understanding Jesus’ redemptive will. When our own zeal, own thoughts, own human attachments, go ahead of God’s will, He calls us Satan.
So Satan causes that kind of conflict within ourselves, within each other, causes us to think that I am doing something right but it is not.
4. Fourth and lastly, Satan causes our spirituality, things of the spirit, to be replaced with fleshly purpose
Many people ignore and neglect the spiritual world. Even Christians. So busy with the material world, so busy with our physical schedule and work, that we often and ignore the spiritual world. There is a spiritual battle ongoing daily. Spiritual involves physical, emotional, mental and every aspect of our being as human beings. Every aspect is involved in spiritual, but the spirit is not limited to any one of these aspects. Spirit is more than rationality, emotion or mind. John 4:24. God is spirit, so when we worship, we are involving our human bodies, spending physical time, listening to language spoken physically but this turns into a spiritual activity because God is Spirit. John 6:63. Romans 8:5-6.
(i) Satan causes our spirituality, things of the spirit, to be replaced with fleshly purpose
a. He confuses our mental activity, as emotional and spiritual.
Example: there are people who are not interested in the Word of God or coming to church, but habitually say “The Lord told me, the Lord spoke to me to tell you…” This is a very serious and careful matter because we can end up using the name of the Lord in vain. We must not mix up or confuse my own thoughts or my own emotion as a spiritual thing from God.
b. Second, he makes us depend on fleshly experience to confirm the Word of God which is spirit.
The emotion and feeling I had when I first experienced the presence of the Spirit, rather than seeking the presence of the Spirit, we seek that feeling instead.
After being in church for a long time, our life of faith and our relationship with God can become very mechanical. We become complacent. As a result, there is no true satisfaction, no true thanksgiving. This happens when our faith is based on physical and fleshly relationship with God. Fleshly things, no matter how exciting it was in the beginning, it withers out and wears out, it becomes boring. Even if you are doing the same thing weekly, such as worshipping God, if you really meet and fellowship with God on a spiritual level, every time it is new and exciting.
(ii) He makes us use the spiritual gift for the satisfaction of the flesh
1 Corinthians 12:4-11. This speaks of the variety of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The church has many members, everyone with different talents, given different gifts of the Holy Spirit, but one body of Jesus Christ. Then he continues on to 1 Corinthians 13, which is about agape love. You might have all these gifts, but they are all useless unless you have love. The greatest gift of all is the love of God. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3. He continues on to 1 Corinthians 14, on how these gifts are to be used, why God gave us these gifts. 2 examples were chosen: Speaking in tongues and prophecy. Then apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 12-14 speaks about tongues in 2 different ways. When you speak in tongues, it needs to be translated. Then apostle Paul speaks of praying in tongues, speaking to God personally, that is the spiritual sound we make. Apostle Paul said it is more edifying to prophesy. God spoke His will and His Word through the prophets. Now we have the Word of God. This is called the special revelation of God, the bible. God has put His will in this book. So we don’t need a special revelation. If we have a special understanding or revelation, it needs to be in line with the Word of God, and it needs to be about the revelation that teaches me about what God said. So for us to prophesy, we are speaking the Word of God, about the same 2 messages: Repent, if not you will perish. Second about the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. These are the 2 main messages of the prophecy. Never in the bible did the prophets come to individuals to tell them their fortunes and future. Gifts of God are given to us so the church can be edified, and the will of God in the History of Redemption will be fulfilled.
How do we overcome the strategies of Satan? James 1:22. If we don’t become doers of the Word, we might become delusional. James 1:25-27. Revelation 14:4. May we be unstained by the world. When we put away our greed, help the orphans, widows, brothers and sisters, you are taking off Satan’s arms and legs. He cannot attack us.