Satan Has a Plan for Your Life

by May 14, 2013


As we read on Sunday, Moses prophesied that “The Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.” (Ex 17:16) This was not just literally true (the Israelites battled against the Amalekites for many generations), it’s also spiritually true. People have gone to war against God and his people for  generations past, and will continue for generations to come.

But, as Paul reminds us, it’s not the people who oppose God who should be our main concern, “for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12). Even though Satan was defeated by Christ on the cross, he still wants to do some serious damage against our church, our families, and ourselves.

His main strategy is simple: he is “the one who leads the whole world astray” (Rev 12:9). He wants to deceive the whole world into doubting and denying God. He’s been doing this since the dawn of history. Look at how he did it in the Garden of Eden:

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise,2 she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:1-6)

Satan’s strategy has three simple steps:

  1. Convince you to focus on yourself.  “God is placing an unreasonable restriction on you! He won’t let you eat the fruit of that certain tree.”
  2. Convince you to change your view of God.  “If God won’t let you do what you want, God’s rule is bad. He is unfairly restricting your knowledge.”
  3. Convince you to ignore God’s commands, and not worry about the consequences.  “You would be better off if you didn’t pay attention to the restriction. Eat the fruit! Don’t worry, you won’t die!”

And Satan used the same arguments on Jesus in Matthew 4, when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness:

  1. “Command these stones to become loaves of bread.” (“You should focus on yourself and how hungry you are. Nobody else will!”)
  2. “Jump off the top of the temple and see if God will catch you.” (“Because if he wouldn’t, he’s not really a God you’d want to follow, right?”)
  3. “Fall down and worship me, and I’ll give you all the kingdoms of the world.” (“I know you’ll get them anyways after you go to the cross, you don’t really want to go through with that, do you? Take the easy route!”)

Jesus’ three responses to Satan can help us know what to do when Satan attacks.

  1. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” In other words, learn to depend on God rather than depending on his gifts (like bread).
  2. “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.” Don’t evaluate God next to your own standards and expectations. Measure yourself next to God and his character.
  3. “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.” You become what you worship, and our goal is to become like God (even if the process of being conformed to his likeness is uncomfortable sometimes).