In most action movies it’s pretty obvious who the enemy is. Aside from an occasional plot twist, the evil villain is easy to identify. Whether it be a daunting laugh or an obnoxious hunger for power, characteristics of the bad guys are usually clear to see. This isn’t the case for Satan, the villain in God’s story and the enemy of our souls. His tactics are deceitful and hard to spot if we don’t know God’s word for ourselves.
He takes the very thing meant to guide people to God and attempts to use it against us. He did it in the Garden of Eden. He tried to do it to Jesus, and he’s still doing it today. Without a grasp on what God’s word says about us, we are subject to the schemes of the devil.
Let’s look at a couple of well-known Bible stories to uncover three ways Satan tries to use Scripture against us.
Satan Uses Scripture to Cause Confusion
“Did God really say, ‘You can’t eat from any tree in the garden’?” Those were the serpent’s famous words to Eve in Genesis 3:1.
“We may eat the fruit from the trees in the garden,” she replied, “But about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, ‘You must not eat it or touch it, or you will die.’”
“No! You will certainly not die,” the serpent told her.
He told Eve a lie that seemed partially true. No, they wouldn’t drop dead immediately, but they would enter into a fallen world where the cost of sin is death. They’d no longer be in direct communion with their Creator in the garden.
The enemy knew that God was actually protecting her and Adam. See, by keeping them unaware of good and evil, God was able to keep them from sin, and therefore death. Just as a baby doesn’t know right from wrong and acts purely out of innocence, Adam and Eve lived in paradise with God, free from guilt, shame or intentional wrong.
Satan, being the deceiver he is, wanted to strip them of that peace. He wanted them to share the same miserable fate he brought upon himself because of his own disobedience to God. And this is also his goal for us today. 1 Peter 5:8 reminds us, “Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.”
Whispering half-truths to us, he hopes we’ll misunderstand God’s words and make decisions that lead us away from what’s good. It’s vital to learn and meditate on Scripture so we can pick up on these sly attempts to steer us off track.
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Satan Uses God's Word to Cause Impatience
Using a similar strategy as the one in the garden, Satan tried to influence Jesus to act prematurely. In Matthew 4 he tempted Jesus in the wilderness, took Him to a high place on the temple, and had the audacity to use Scripture against Him!
Satan quoted Psalm 91:11-12 and said, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: He will give his angels orders concerning you, and they will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”
Yes, God did promise angelic protection, but not for show. Surely He didn’t want Jesus jumping off of a building to prove any points. It wasn’t time for Jesus to be exalted in this way. Imagine the fame and popularity that would’ve come from such an act. However, that wasn’t God’s plan. Jesus hadn’t yet started His public ministry, and God was going to elevate Him when the time was right, after He completed His earthly mission (Ephesians 1:20).
Likewise, God wants us to wait on Him to refine us. He can use both the good times and the bad times to grow us and make us better, and He will raise us up in His perfect timing. The enemy wants us to forsake that process so that we never become all God wants us to be.
God has incredible things in store for you, some earthly and others heavenly, but if Satan can get you to become impatient about the promises and push you to do things faster than you should, you may miss out on what God has in mind.
The enemy wants you to believe there’s a way to gain success through him. Look at what he said to Jesus in Matthew 4:9. “I will give you all these things if you will fall down and worship me.”
Remember that any temporary gains from following the distractions of the enemy will crumble and ultimately amount to nothing. Psalm 27:14 tells us, “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart be courageous. Wait for the Lord.”
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Satan Uses Scripture to Cause Doubt
In this same story, Satan sought to make Jesus doubt His God-given position. Twice he used the phrase, “If you are the Son of God.”
Had Jesus been unsure of His identity, this would have made Him question whether or not God had sent Him to be the Savior of the world! Of course that wasn’t possible, but these are the types of lies the enemy wants to plant in our minds. He wants to make us deny all the things God has said concerning us.
Satan wants us to doubt our identity. God says we are His (Psalm 100:3).
Satan wants us to doubt our purpose. God says we were created for good works (Ephesians 2:10).
Satan wants us to doubt our future. God says He has a plan for us (Jeremiah 29:11).
These are just a few examples of how the enemy wants us to doubt the words our Creator has spoken over us. But his power to use Scripture against us diminishes when we learn what the Bible really says.
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How to Use Scripture against the Enemy
When we turn to the word of God, we see the deceitful patterns of Satan. He interfered with God’s original plan by tricking Eve. He tried to interfere with God’s salvation plan by tempting Jesus. And he now seeks to interfere with God’s final reconciliation plan by tricking us.
We are his last chance at deception before he reaches his unavoidable end. So it’s no wonder he tries to use Scripture against us!
We don’t have to fear though. Victory is already ours! We only have to walk in it, and God has told us what to do. Ephesians 6:11 says, “Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil.” The chapter then goes on to explain what that means. Verse 17, in particular, says the word of God is our sword!
This is how we dismantle the enemy—by knowing and applying God’s truths to our lives. When we are equipped with the knowledge and wisdom of God, Satan’s cunning tactics hold no power against us.