We each have a traitor within our own breasts, an enemy who is both strong and subtle. This enemy is sin. He is strong to drag us away into compromising situations, and he is subtle to allure us away from Christ, and the life He offers (James 1:14). Every day the Christian is in the fight of his life, and it is a fight to the death. To press this battle home into our soul, the devil likes to prosecute three lines of attack:
First, he attacks weakness. In the garden, Satan attacked the weakness of Adam’s leadership and the weakness of Adam’s lady. And we can expect him to attack us when we are weak, and where we are weak as well. Perhaps he is attacking you this morning in an area where you perceive some lack, where you feel some need—some place where you feel empty—where you are vulnerable to the suggestion that God hasn’t come through for you, or that He has somehow let you down, or (perish the thought) been unfaithful to you? You need to isolate that thought and deal with it ruthlessly from Scripture? Really, has the God who did not spare His own Son for you let you down? Is that even conceivable?
Second, Satan works by spreading doubt. Doubt gives the devil much room to work and maneuver. He likes to encourage us to doubt the truth of God’s word, or the wisdom of those entrusted with teaching it. “Hath God said?” Satan whispered in the garden. It was the first lie our parents ever heard, and once received they were 90% of the way out of paradise. He also likes to encourage us to doubt the certainty of God’s judgment: “You will not surely die,” he said to Adam. You can sin with impunity, God won’t really fulfill His threat. You’ll see! And He also likes to encourage us to doubt the goodness of God’s heart. For Adam and Eve it was the thought that God didn’t really want the best for them—He somehow stood in the way of their full potential and that sin was a sure way of enhancing their life on earth. Satan uses these same arguments today to lure unsuspecting Christians from the costly path of obedience. The Devil has tremendous skill in making other Christians seem so harsh and judgmental when they come to rebuke us and God to seem so mean spirited. Where are you tempted to believe these lies this morning?
Once he wins the fight on these two fronts, the coup d’etat is easy: Satan then moves in for the kill by sweetening sin— by telling us sin can give us what God either won’t or can’t: Sin, the devil likes to whisper, is the way to LIFE!
The only antidote to this temptation is found in the goodness, beauty, and truth of God. We must have hearts to love and trust His goodness. We need eyes that delight in His beauty, and we need minds to embrace the Truth of God in Christ. In the end, temptation and faithfulness are profoundly personal matters. The devil engages our soul personally, trying to lure us away from God, to abandon our commitment to Him. It is exactly like that with faithfulness, only in reverse. We need communion with the Living God and His people if we are to stand in the evil day. We need the love of God the Father, and the Grace of God the Son, and the fellowship of God the Holy Spirit if we are to stand steadfast. As with every other area in the Christian life: it is those who walk with God who are strong and do exploits. It is only as we walk in the Light as God Himself is in the Light that we will come to see darkness in its true colors. But lose touch with God and the fellowship of the Church, we will be wide open to the Satan’s skillful suggestion that the darkness really does look bright.
May the God of all Grace who has promised to keep you from all evil, keep your mind from entertaining the lie, your heart from loving it, and your will from choosing it. And may He sanctify you by His truth for His word is truth, and may His goodness and mercy hem you in on the narrow road that leads to life.