Recognize Satan's strategies
- Whitney Hopler Live It Editor
- 2001 25 Jun
Here are some ways Satan operates - and some ways you can effectively respond:
- Realize that your mind is the site of many spiritual battles. Satan often tries to get people to think in ways that are contrary to God's Word, then act in ways that contradict God's will for them. Read your Bible frequently, and think about what it says. Pray for the Holy Spirit to renew your mind.
- Satan would like you to believe more in sensational events than in God Himself. When you look for a quick supernatural fix for something rather than trusting God to act in His time and in His way, beware. You're making yourself vulnerable to evil, because Satan frequently tempts people who seem frustrated by God. Focus on God rather than what you want, and trust that He will always act in love, according to what's best for you.
- Satan wants you to believe that everything is relative, because universal truths point to God, who designed every realm - from the mathematical laws of physics to the principles of the spiritual world - with intrinsic truths. Understand that the validity of a particular belief system or religious organization should be measured not by its sincerity, but by its faithfulness to biblical truth. When you encounter a counterfeit approach to worshipping God, turn away, and embrace Christ, the only true way to connect with God.
- The ways God works sometimes don't make sense to us, because our perspectives are limited and God's aren't. Satan would like to see you trust only in your human reason, but standing firm in your faith in God -- especially when His ways seem mysterious -- will prove much more powerful.
- When you encounter ethical dilemmas in a variety of situations, Satan and his evil forces will try to influence you to bend God's Word to justify choices that seem more appealing than the biblical ones. Commit to rely on biblical principles in all situations, and pray for the strength to do so. Ask someone close to you to hold you accountable, and help hold that person accountable.
- Selfishness - expressed through pride and a lust for power - led to Satan's fall from his glory as one of God's angels. Satan yearns to convince you that thinking and acting selfishly is best, but it will never bring you fulfillment. Rather than seeking your own satisfaction in life, let love for God and others be your motivation. If you do, you'll be blessed.
- If you're a Christian, Satan wants to discredit you. Your reputation doesn't just affect you; it affects many other people, since you're a representative of Christ to those exploring faith in Him, and a perceived lack of integrity in you could cause them to misjudge Christ Himself. Through your choices in all aspects of your life, demonstrate to others the difference the gospel has made.
- Negative attitudes appeal to Satan. He would like you to believe that you'll never be able to accomplish anything for God in difficult circumstances, that you're too weak to serve Him effectively, and that past failures blot out your chances of being useful to God in the future. Know that God can always use you, that His strength can overcome any weaknesses with which you struggle, and that you can emerge from failures with a greater readiness to serve God than you ever had before.
- Christ has done all the work necessary for you to be saved; you just need to trust and follow Him. Satan wants to convince you that you must work for your salvation, because working for it puts the focus on you rather than on God's love for you. Accept Christ's offer of salvation based on faith alone, and serve Him out of love, not fear or pride.
- Satan would like to fuel your ego to influence you to trust merely in yourself in daily life rather than asking God to infuse His power into your daily life. Humble yourself daily, and thank God for the ways He works in your life. Ask Him for what you need, and trust Him to provide it.
- Satan loves to see you get angry, because anger has the potential for great destruction. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you manage anger in healthy ways, and seek to become a peacemaker.
Adapted from Unmasking Satan: Understanding Satan's Battle Plan and Biblical Strategies for Fighting Back, copyright 2001 by Richard Mayhue. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.kregel.com, 1-800-733-2607.
Richard Mayhue (Th.D., Grace Theological Seminary), is senior vice president and dean of The Master's Seminary, Sun Valley, Calif., where he also teaches theology and pastoral ministry.