Date Posted: August 10th, 2010
A good basketball team will spend hours working on their plays. They will also study the opposition’s plays so that they can work out an effective defense against them. Satan used all his best plays in his first game in the garden. Once we learn these plays we will be able to detect them and defend against them.
The first play—confusion
“Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3:1
Satan’s first play is to pose a question. God had given one simple instruction to the man and the woman, and Satan’s first action is to question it. If Satan could undermine the clarity of the Word of God and generate enough confusion about it, then it would be much easier for the man and the woman to disregard the Lord’s command.
Whenever Satan tempts you to sin, his first strategy will be to create confusion. He will try to lower your defenses by suggesting to your mind that maybe what you want to do is not really forbidden by God, or at least that the Bible is not clear about the matter.
The second play—presumption
“You will not surely die.” Genesis 3:4
God made it clear that sin would result in death (2:17), but Satan suggests that the consequences of sin have been exaggerated, “Eve, come on. You can’t seriously believe that eating an apple is going to lead to death!” He wants the woman to presume on the grace of God, “God loves you. How could He allow anything bad to happen to you?”
This is the temptation of presumption, and it is the enemy’s second great strategy. When Satan tempts you to sin, he will lower your defenses with this suggestion. “The consequences won’t be that bad. You can do this, and nothing bad will happen to you.”
The third play—ambition
“God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:5
Satan asks “Why would you want God telling you what to do? Would it not be better if you could decide what is good and what is evil for yourselves?” Satan knows how much we like that suggestion. Man is made in the image of God, but he is not content with that.
This is one of the enemy’s most subtle strategies. His primary and futile objective is to overthrow the authority of God. He loves to suggest that we should take the place of God, not because he thinks well of us, but because of his deep hatred for God. He appeals to our pride when he suggests, “You decide what is right for you!”
Since we already know Satan’s primary tactics, it will not be difficult to organize our defense. We must take the Word of God seriously. We must listen to what He says, refusing to twist the meaning of His Word. We must recognize that sin always brings consequences, and that God does not make idle threats. We must let God be God. What God has declared “good” is good, and what God has declared “evil” is evil.
This week’s Scripture: “The serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made.” Genesis 3:1
This LifeKey is based on the message “Curse,” by Pastor Colin S. Smith on January 9, 2000, from the series “Unlocking the Bible.”