I admit that sometimes I wonder how it could have gone so wrong, so quickly in the Garden of Eden. It really doesn’t seem like it was too confusing for Adam & Eve. They were made by God in His image and had knowledge of that fact; given the task of working in and keeping the garden; and given explicit instructions, “Don’t eat this one.” How difficult could it have been?
I mean really, you have unfettered access to God’s counsel, a talking snake comes out of nowhere, clearly contradicts what God has told you, and you fall for it hook, line and sinker. You don’t even stop and ask God for some clarification or some assistance in making what is clearly the most important decision of your life? And then I look at myself in the mirror and realize that not only would I have fallen for it, but I probably would have gone down quicker than Adam did.
Every day we are faced with a similar set of circumstances. And every day the Serpent tempts us with the bright shiny fruits of the world – the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and pride in possessions – that speak directly to our idolatrous hearts. And every day we find ourselves reaching out in greed, selfishness, and lack of self-control; imagining that today is the day we will realize the autonomy that our sinful hearts desire.
We can learn much about the Enemy and the events that unfolded in the Garden. Today Satan seeks to tempt us in similar ways to that of Adam and Eve. Here are three tactics he continues to use.
Tactic #1 -Question God’s word
The first question ever recorded in the Bible is recorded in Genesis 3 and it is asked by Satan. “Did God actually say….?” Satan’s strategy is still the same today as it was back then – to cast doubt over the truth.
In order to know what God has said we need only ask Him. Adam & Eve could have easily just called out to God and asked for a quick reminder of what He had told them but they chose not to. Eve, in her pride, tried to take on Satan and rebuke him on her own (see Gen 3:2-3) and failed in spectacular fashion.
Today we have the ability to speak to God through prayer, and to listen to Him through the reading of his written word. Do you have a Bible reading plan in place? Are you diligently seeking to know and understand God’s word? When you come up against sin today will you know what to do based on God’s word, or will you stumble and fall because of your lack of knowledge.
“for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” Hebrews 5:13-14
Tactic #2 – Question God’s character
If we aren’t familiar with God’s word it will be hard for us to be familiar with God’s character. Even though God had given Adam & Eve everything – from the breath of life, to dominion over all the earth, to a great job, to safety instructions – Adam & Eve once they began to move away from God’s word they began to forget God’s character. They forgot , as do we, that God is all powerful, all love, all grace, all knowing, all friend; that he knit us together (Psalm 139:13), that he sees and knows everything that goes on in our hearts and lives (Psalm 139:7, Heb 4:13), that his desire is us (Titus 2:14), and a personal eternal relationship with us (Romans 6:23). God’s character and motives are unquestionable, but Satan will disguise himself as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14) luring and enticing us with our own sinful desires (James 1:14), seeking to destroy and kill us and our relationship with God.
Tactic #3 – Question God’s promises
God stated clearly that if Adam & Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that they would surely die. Satan, after casting doubt over God’s word and character, says “No, no – you won’t die. In fact you will become just like God.” Once we allow ourselves to question God’s word and character then it becomes very easy to question his promises.
Here is a list of some of God’s promises. Since God’s promises rely on the things of the future it is vitally important that we ask God for his wisdom and power so that we can operate in the Spirit presently; exercising love, patience, and self-control when we are faced with temptations to disobey.
As a follower of Christ it is important to recognize that Satan will constantly try to accuse, condemn, and pressure you to make decisions based in the moment. God has given us the tools we need to combat his assaults on us – the power of the Holy Spirit, and His instruction manual for righteous living (Bible). In order to use these tools properly we must know and understand them.
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© 2016 Michael Martin