…in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.2 Corinthians 2:11
Sun Tzu, author of The Art of War once said:
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.Sun Tzu, The Art of War
We learn a lot about the devil’s tactics through out the Bible. It is clear that he is out to try to “kill, steal and destroy” the work of God and the faith of Christians. This post will expose Satan’s schemes found in the first book of the Bible, Genesis.
Here’s some of the devil’s common tactics he uses to hinder the work of God and stunt the growth of Christians:
1-Get us to question our faith in order to create doubt.
Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?Genesis 3:1
It was clear to Adam and Eve that they could eat from any tree in the garden of Eden with the exception of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Yet, the devil said to Eve “Did God really say…”. This form of questioning raises doubts: “did I really hear from God?, did God really speak?, are you sure it wasn’t you or the pizza you hate before going to bed last night? Maybe you heard wrong?.” Although testing/questioning the voices we listen too can be a good thing, the serpent was clearly trying to raise doubts in what God said and thus, creating doubts in Eve’s faith.
Ephesians 6:16 clearly shows us that the devil will trow fiery arrows your way and how we are to counter them is by taking upon ourselves the shield of faith.
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.Ephesians 6:16 NIV
Those fiery arrows can be circumstances, thoughts, questions, lies, people and storms. Regardless of how the fiery arrows are disguised, they are sent to affect and weakened your faith.
2-Twist what God said.
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”Genesis 3:4-5
The devil can use verses from the Bible to attack and try to deceive you. Sometimes he will use a verse out of its context or simply twist the meaning of it entirely. This is why just knowing verses of the Bible won’t suffice in countering the schemes of the adversary. We need to study the context and find the applications/lessons that it brings. We find a similar scene in Matthew chapter 4 when he was trying to tempt Jesus in the desert. He tried to seduce Jesus by quoting scriptures out of context to Him.
3-Get us to focus on what we can’t do instead of what we can do.
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’Genesis 3:2-3
Out of all the freedom Adam and Eve had, the devil got them to focus on the ONE tree they couldn’t touch. In doing this, they became blind to all the possibilities in front of them and focused on the one thing they couldn’t do for their own good.
4-He promotes good what God has forbidden.
He makes what is forbidden by God desirable and appealing.
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye,Genesis 3:6
Where did she get that, that the fruit forbidden was good for food and pleasing to the eye? She didn’t get that from God. God said the other trees were good for food and pleasing to the eyes but not this one. This one was forbidden to eat, yet the devil managed to seduce her into believing and seeing that the fruit of this tree would give her something she didn’t have. Something greater, superior knowledge and wisdom, and that she would be god-like.
The devil calls good what God calls evil and calls evil what God calls good. He managed to convince Eve that what God forbidden was pleasing and good.
5-Sow distrust in the character of God.
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”Genesis 3:4-5
Here we see the devil trying to convince Eve that the reason God didn’t want her to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil was not because she was going to die if she did, but rather, it was because God was trying to keep something good from her. If he can get Eve to sin against God and be bitter at God at the same time, he accomplishes a two for one victory.
6-Get you to leave the BEST for an illusion.
Adam and Eve already had the best. They had eternal life, paradise, work, pleasure, God, no sickness, a destiny. What did they get when they ate the fruit? Superior knowledge? Did they become like God? No! Why? Because the devil’s a liar. He’s called the Father of Lies. His nature is to deceive and lie. No wonder he tries to sow discontentment.
7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.Genesis 3:7
They ate from the fruit and instead of getting superior knowledge and being like God they got shame.
I like what one scholar said about this:
Their eyes were opened, but they discovered that they were nude, not shrewd. The knowledge was not liberating; instead, it produced such shame that they attempted the first “coverup.
The devil made them believe that there was something missing in their life and in order to be happier, they needed to eat that fruit.
If you found joy, peace, purpose, happiness and life in Christ Jesus, don’t try to find it anyone or anything else. You already have the best in Christ. Christ is your all in all.
7-Lies about the consequences of sin.
You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.Genesis 3:4
It is clear that God warned Adam and Eve that if they hate from the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil they would certainly die, however, the serpent said there would be no consequences to their actions. Beware of people changing the warnings of God into a license to sin with no consequences.
Here you have it. From the very first book of the Bible we see the intentions and tactics of the adversary the devil. Be alert, watchful, faithful, fruitful and prayerful in the times we live in so you can avoid being the next victim of the devil’s tactics.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.1 Peter 5:8 ESV