Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” Gen 3:1
The way that Satan tempts people today is no different from when he tempted Eve in the garden of Eden. Satan can’t do anything on his own, he needs people that are willing vessels to carry out his work. It’s very similar to how God uses people to carry out His work. Fortunately for the devil, he has many willing vessels at his disposal. The bible says that they are snared by him, and taken captive to do his will (2 Tim 2:26). And that because nobody would serve the devil willingly if they knew the whole truth. He has blinded them of the truth and deceived them into carrying out his work.
The devil has limited power. I don’t know exactly what he can and cannot do, but very rarely do you see him ever directly striking someone with some plague, or out-right killing someone (the book of Job is the only instance I can think of, but there he could only do it with God’s express permission.) But more often you see him influencing people and tempting people into doing his will.
Such is the case with Eve. The devil had no power to hurt Adam and Eve. They were immortal beings. There was only one way to destroy them, and that was to convince them to disobey God and thereby face His judgement. He used Eve’s natural desires (which were good) to crave after something that was forbidden. He lied to them, and he used the same tactic that he would forever use – to tell her that God was holding back something from them. Adam and Eve could either trust God’s wisdom in His commandment, or find out for themselves.
This is always behind every temptation. It’s the subtle thought the devil puts in our mind which says, “Don’t you want to know what it is like?” Its the sin of knowing something that you shouldn’t know. We shouldn’t know what drugs feel like. We shouldn’t want to know what it is like to commit murder or adultery. We shouldn’t know what it is like to steal or accuse someone falsely. We shouldn’t know the latest gossip or traveling secret. But just like Eve, we are tempted with ‘the desire to make one wise’ in things we should not be wise in. As Paul said, ‘In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.’ (1 cor 14:20)
This is why our personal relationship with God must be real. If you don’t know God very well and in a personal way, you will be tempted to think that He is holding something back from you. But if you are close to Him and know Him well, you will be fulfilled by Him, and you will know that every command of His is only designed to bring life everlasting. (Jn 12:50)
But many of us, like Eve, are fooled by the enemy into destruction. He uses God’s commands against us, which were designed to bring life. He tempts us to do evil, not because he is our friend (which he falsely affirms), but because he hates us and because he hates God. He knows that we are the objects of God’s love, so he aims do harm to God by subjecting us to God’s judgement.
Imagine a king who had a son whom he loved. A subject of the king hated the king and wanted to do damage to him, but could not. So this man sought out a way to hurt the king and found that he loved his son dearly. To do damage to his son would bring the king more hurt than anything he could do to the king himself. And even better if this enemy could cause the son to do something that would force the king, as lawmaker and judge, to judge his own son. So the man falsely befriends the son of the king in order to entice him to do evil. He tells him the that rules and regulations of the castle are his father’s attempt to stifle his fun. He lures him into the world of seduction and riotous living. He shows him the fleeting excitements of the criminal world. The son forgets the warnings of his father and begins to trifle in an area that he is unfamiliar with. The hopes of the enemy are fulfilled when the young man stirs up trouble and commits murder. Then the enemy watches with pleasure as the father (the king) must carry out lawful judgement upon his own son.
How heartbreaking! But this is exactly what the enemy of our souls does to us. He tried to do it to Jesus, but he failed. He did it to Adam and Eve. He’s done it to countless others. Don’t let him do it to you.
Satan is called the accuser of the brethren (Rev 12:10). Not only does he tempt you to sin, but when he is successful, he begins to accuse you before God for the sin you committed saying, “This man has sinned against You in many ways! He has lied and cheated and hated his brother – a thing that You call murder. He is guilty of death!”
The hammer will fall in that day for many, and many will go down to hell. But not me! I will say, “Yes devil, I am guilty of all this things and I deserve death and Hell. But there is one who died in my place! His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God, and where he is, I shall be also! His blood has washed me clean, and I am free from the guilt of these sins!” Glory to God!
We are not ignorant of the schemes of the devil. Don’t let him fool you into destroying yourself. But if you have sinned, do not let him get the final victory. Overcome him with the blood of the Lamb. Jesus’ blood was shed to free you from this bondage! Hallelujah!