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Analyzing our enemy: Temptation | Back to articles | Articles sitemap |

During times of war, it’s a common strategy for nations to analyze and examine the tactics of their enemies. Why? Understanding your enemy better, being able to predict what he’ll do next and how he’ll do it, ensures a better chance of victory for you. This very strategy can be an amazing help in resisting our enemy, Satan, effectively and successfully.

We are at war. We have been at war since the Garden of Eden. Our enemy is Satan and his demons and they are very real. The war between God and Satan has raged on for thousands of years. Thankfully we have already had our greatest victory; the victory on the cross. In reality God has already won the war. The war itself was officially over when Jesus died and was resurrected. Satan however still tries to fight a battle he has already lost.

We have been equipped by God through the Lord Jesus Christ with all the weapons of warfare that we need to resist the devil until Jesus Himself returns to the earth. Our enemy Satan knows that we have been given authority over him through the name of Jesus. Satan knows that he has already lost the war. Knowing this fact however, will not stop him from trying to take as many people down with him as he can.

Remember that Satan hates God. Now that Satan has been kicked out of heaven, the only way he can get at God is through God’s children: us. Satan is not attacking us because he has a personal grudge with us, (though he despises us also) he’s attacking us because he has a grudge with God.

Satan’s tactics have never changed. Today he uses the same tricks as he did 2000 years ago. Satan doesn’t have anything new, he can’t have anything new. The methods which he uses might seem new, but he’s just trying to disguise the same old tricks and traps in new packaging.

Temptation through deception has always been Satan’s ultimate weapon. It’s Satan’s ultimate weapon because he is the greatest liar that has ever existed. Temptation requires and works through deception, and that is the devils most developed department of evil.

Temptation is the first stage in the manifestation of the evils of Satan because it is the beginning point of rebellion against God in your mind. Whether those evil thoughts are acted upon, (fully manifest) become sin, and therefore your personal rebellion against God, remains up to you.

All evil is born first in the minds and hearts of men. Temptation is what led to the fall of Adam and Eve. Satan cannot make you rebel against God. Only you can decide to rebel against God; only you can control whether you sin or not. Satan cannot make you sin, but he can entice or tempt you to sin. That is why temptation is so dangerous.

Temptation is a tool that attempts to control free will. Temptation cannot control free will however. It’s our free will that gives into temptation. Temptation can only deceive you into believing it has control. Therefore no one can in fact argue that “Satan” has made them do anything. It is rather them giving in to the will of Satan, thus joining with Satan in his rebellion against God.

Understanding temptation: The Seven Levels

1.) Tempted in the mind: Thoughts of evil.

Temptation always begins in the mind because Satan cannot control your free will. You can only decide to sin on your own. Satan must lure you into rebelling against God. At the early stages of temptation Satan tries to implant imaginings of sin into your mind. Satan will attack your weakest areas; he will attack areas in your life where you have struggled before or continue to struggle. This is the stage in which Satan is to be resisted; at the very instant you recognize that temptation is present.

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

2.) Further enticement: Persistent strong imaginations against righteousness.

If imaginations and sinful ideas are not resisted and dealt with immediately in strength and faith they will persist. If not dealt with, imaginations against righteousness (sinful thoughts) will grow, persist and increase in vividness. (Note that you can still choose to resist Satan and turn from temptation up until the time you actually carry out the sinful act.)

3.) Lust: Pleasure and delight in viewing sinful imaginings.

Lust becomes present, and pleasure is taken in viewing the sinful imaginations in your mind. Committing the act is seen as bringing pleasure and satisfaction. Images are played over again in the mind to further entice, lure and trap you.

4.) Deception and deterioration: Deception about sin / weakening of the will.

Deception about the consequences of sin begins to take place. The mind will try to justify the lust for the act of sin, so that the act may be committed while feeling “guilt free”, at least temporarily. The internal battle of will begins. The will begins to weaken and is further lured to commit the sinful act(s) which is/are being imagined.

5.) Defeat in the mind: Lust is conceived and yielded to by the mind.

Here lies the last opportunity to oppose or resist Satan and turn from what has already been taking place in your mind. If temptation is not resisted here, then it’s decided in the mind to carry out the sinful act and yield to the imaginations. Rebellion against God begins. The will is finally broken, and the 1st stage of submission to Satan takes place.

6.) Act of sin: Sinful act carried out.

2nd stage of submission to Satan takes place. Imaginations turn to reality. Sinful act(s) is/are committed and carried out. If the sinner is aware what has taken place and they know what they have done is wrong then shame, which is a result of sin, will begin to set in. Guilt accompanies sin and entraps the sinner. Remorse or regret may also be present. The temporary feeling of guiltlessness has now faded away and revealed itself to be what it truly is, a false feeling; a trick of Satan.

7.) Death: Eventual result of actual sin.

The wages of sin is death”(See Romans 6:23); the result of sin.  Sin initially destroys the body.  Continuing to live in a sinful state will lead to the second death, which is the lake of fire. Refusing to repent for sin and change will lead to the second death. Refusing  and rejecting Jesus as Lord and Savior will lead to the second death. The second death is eternal.

After we’ve sinned we have two options to choose between. We can repent immediately and decided in our minds to tackle sin and resist it in faith whenever it arises next, or we can continue to give into our flesh and rebel against God.

Know that it’s not a sin to be tempted, but to give into temptation. In this life we will constantly have to fight off temptation. Being a follower of Christ, doing good and living righteously, is a full time job. Simply because Satan will try to tempt us doesn’t mean we have to succumb to his will. Choose life, not death. Walk the path of light, not the alley of darkness.

Knowing that we have now exposed Satan’s greatest weapon, let us keep our eyes wide open and be ready to defend ourselves against temptation when it comes. Bitterly refuse and resist temptation and sin with all your strength in faith. Make the conscious decision in your mind that you will not let Satan creep into your life anymore with temptations of evil. Trust God, for His Word is true and we are not alone in our struggle against Satan.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” (Ephesians 6:10-18)

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