Read an ExcerptTHE STRATEGY OF SATAN HOW TO DETECT & DEFEAT HIM
By WARREN W. WIERSBE
TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC.
Copyright © 1979 Warren W. Wiersbe
All right reserved.
Chapter One The Deceiver
"He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies." JOHN 8:44
And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world. Revelation 12:9
But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:3
For many deceivers have gone out into the world. 2 John 1:7
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?"
The woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden, we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'"
The serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was adelight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. Genesis 3:1-7
1.1 SATAN'S TARGET
When Satan wanted to lead the first man and woman into sin, he started by attacking the woman's mind. This is made clear in 2 Corinthians 11:3.
But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
Why would Satan want to attack your mind? Because your mind is the part of the image of God where God communicates with you and reveals his will to you. It is unfortunate that some Christians have minimized the significance of the mind, because the Bible emphasizes its importance.
Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him. Colossians 3:9-10
So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Ephesians 4:17-24
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
God renews our lives by renewing our minds, and he renews our minds through his truth. This truth is the Word of God.
Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth. John 17:17
If Satan can get you to believe a lie, then he can begin to work in your life to lead you into sin. This is why he attacks the mind, and this is why we must protect our minds from the attacks of the wicked one.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8
"If it is not true," Paul writes, "do not let it enter your mind."
In recent years, science has discovered many fascinating things about the human mind. Like a computer, your mind can store facts and impressions-and even emotions-and recall them years later. Your mind can reach into the past through memory, or it can reach into the future through imagination. Your thinking affects your feeling and your willing.
For as he thinks within himself, so he is. Proverbs 23:7
The doctor says, "You are what you eat." The psychologist says, "You are what you think." Satan knows the tremendous power of your mind, and he tries to capture it for himself.
The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3
For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6
Your mind affects your whole being. While I do not totally agree with the "success psychology" and "healing psychology" of our day, I must admit that attitudes are important to health and success in life. The exciting new field of "holistic medicine" draws upon the influences of the mind to help the patient cure himself. Sales managers "psych up" their salesmen with thoughts of accomplishment and success, just as coaches do their football teams. While thinking alone does not make it so, it certainly helps!
1.2 SATAN'S WEAPON
Satan came to Eve as the serpent, the subtle deceiver.
[This is] the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world. Revelation 12:9
There is no truth in him ... for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44
It is important that you notice the steps Satan took in getting Eve to believe his lie.
HE QUESTIONED GOD'S WORD. "Indeed, has God said ...?" He did not deny that God had spoken; he simply questioned whether God had really said what Eve thought he had said. "Perhaps you misunderstood what God spoke," is Satan's suggestion. "You owe it to yourself to rethink what he said." It is worth noting that in this suggestion Satan is also questioning God's goodness. "If God really loved you, he wouldn't keep something from you." He tried the same approach with our Lord in the wilderness: "If you are God's beloved Son, why are you hungry?"
HE DENIED GOD'S WORD. "You surely shall not die!" It is but a short step from questioning God's Word to denying it. Of course, neither Adam nor Eve had ever seen death. All they had to go on was the Word of God, but this was all they needed. If Eve had not listened to Satan's questioning God's Word, she would never have fallen into his trap when he denied God's Word.
HE SUBSTITUTED HIS OWN LIE. "You will be like God!" Adam and Eve were already made in the image of God, but Satan tempted them with an even greater privilege: to be like God! This was, of course, Satan's great ambition when he was Lucifer, God's angelic servant.
"How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations! But you said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly, in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.'" Isaiah 14:12-14
Satan is a created being, a creature, but he wanted to be worshiped and served like the Creator. It was this attitude that led him to rebel against God and seek to establish his own kingdom. "You will be like God" is the one gigantic lie that has controlled civilization since the fall of man.
For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie [literally "the lie"], and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. Romans 1:25
Satan desires worship and service, and Jesus Christ would give him neither!
Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, "All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me." Then Jesus said to him, "Go, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.'" Matthew 4:8-10
Satan's lie, "You will be like God," motivates and controls much of our civilization today. Man is seeking to pull himself up by his own bootstraps. He is working to build a utopia on earth and possibly take it to outer space. Through education, psychiatry, religions of one kind or another (most of which ignore Jesus Christ, sin, and salvation), and better environment, men are defying God and deifying themselves. They are playing right into the hands of Satan.
How did Eve respond to Satan's approach? She responded by making three mistakes that led her into sin.
SHE TOOK AWAY FROM GOD'S WORD. In verse 2, Eve omitted the word "freely." God's original word in Genesis 2:16 was, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely." We get the impression that Eve caught Satan's subtle suggestion, "God is holding out on you!" When you start to question or forget the grace of God and the goodness of God, you will find it much easier to disobey the will of God.
SHE ADDED TO GOD'S WORD. We do not find the words "or touch it" in God's original command. They may have been there, but they are not in the record. Not only did Eve make God's original word less gracious by omitting the word "freely," but she also made the commandment more grievous by adding "or touch it." "His commandments are not burdensome" (l John 5:3). Satan wants us to believe they are burdensome, and that he has something better to offer.
SHE CHANGED GOD'S WORD. God did not say, "Lest you die." He said, "For in the day that you eat from it you will surely die" (Genesis 2:17). The penalty for disobedience as presented by the enemy did not seem as harsh; therefore, Eve could consider forsaking God's will and obeying Satan's will.
Once you have treated God's Word in this fashion, you are wide open for the devil's final trick. He merely permitted Eve to consider the tree apart from God's Word. "Get a good look at it! See it as it really is!" It was "good for food ... a delight to the eyes ... desirable to make one wise" (Genesis 3:6). She had to make a choice: God's Word or Satan's word? She rejected God's Word, believed Satan, and sinned. You and I have been suffering from the consequences of her decision, as has the whole human race.
God accomplishes his will on earth through truth; Satan accomplishes his purposes through lies. When the child of God believes God's truth, then the Spirit of God can work in power; for the Holy Spirit is "the Spirit of truth" ( John 16:13). But when a person believes a lie, then Satan goes to work in that life; "for he is a liar, and the father of lies" (John 8:44). Faith in God's truth leads to victory; faith in Satan's lies leads to defeat.
However, Satan never advertises, "This is a lie!" He is the serpent, the deceiver, and he always masquerades his lies as God's truth.
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 11:13-14
Satan did not approach Eve in his true nature; he masqueraded by using the serpent. Satan is a counterfeiter, an imitator.
There are counterfeit Christians.
I have been ... [in] dangers among false brethren. 2 Corinthians 11:26
"The tares are the sons of the evil one." Matthew 13:38
"You are of your father the devil." John 8:44
There is a counterfeit gospel.
But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! Galatians 1:8
There are counterfeit ministers of the gospel.
For even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. 2 Corinthians 11:14-15
There is a counterfeit righteousness.
For not knowing about God's righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. Romans 10:3
There is even a counterfeit "church of Satan."
I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews [i.e., God's people] and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Revelation 2:9
And this counterfeit church has counterfeit doctrines.
But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons. 1 Timothy 4:1
All of this will end, of course, in the appearance of a counterfeit Christ-the Antichrist-who will accept for Satan the worship and service of the whole world.
Then that lawless one will be revealed ... the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish. 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10
All who dwell on the earth will worship him. Revelation 13:8
Satan's target is your mind, and his weapon is lies. What is his purpose?
1.3 SATAN'S PURPOSE
TO MAKE YOU IGNORANT OF GOD'S WILL
Satan attacks God's Word because God's Word reveals God's will.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105
I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart. Psalm 40:8
Apart from the Word of God, we have no sure understanding of the will of God. The will of God is the expression of God's love for us.
The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart from generation to generation. Psalm 33:11
God's will comes from God's heart. It is not an impersonal thing, but a very personal matter with the Lord. He has a personal understanding of each of his children-their natures, their names, their needs-and he tailors his plans accordingly.
God wants us to know his will.
The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will. Acts 22:14
He also wants us to understand his will.
So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:17
He wants this understanding of his will to fill us and control us.
We have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Colossians 1:9
The result of all this is the believer
doing the will of God from the heart. Ephesians 6:6
God's will is not a duty; it is a delight. The Christian delights to discover the will of God and then obey from the heart. The will of God is his nourishment.
"My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work." John 4:34
You and I must pray (as did Epaphras) that we
may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. Colossians 4:12
If Satan can make you ignorant of God's will, he will rob you of all the glorious blessings God has planned for your life. You will make bad decisions, get involved in sinful activities, and build the wrong kind of life. And, sad to say, you will influence others to go wrong! In my ministry of the Word in many places, I have seen the tragic consequences of lives out of the will of God.
Christians who are ignorant of God's will lose the enjoyment of God's peace and power. They cannot grow into their full potential, nor can they accomplish what God has planned for them. Instead of traveling first-class, they travel second- or third-class, complaining all the way. They live like paupers because they have cut themselves off from God's great wealth. They spend their lives-even worse, they waste their lives-when they could be investing their lives.
But the one who does the will of God lives forever. 1 John 2:17
1.4 YOUR DEFENSE
THE INSPIRED WORD OF GOD
Only the inspired Word of God can reveal and defeat the devil's lies. You cannot reason with Satan, nor (as Eve discovered) can you even safely converse with him. Man's wisdom is no match for Satan's cunning. Our only defense is the inspired Word of God.
Excerpted from THE STRATEGY OF SATAN by WARREN W. WIERSBE Copyright © 1979by Warren W. Wiersbe.Excerpted by permission.
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