When people think of the Devil today, the first picture that comes into their minds is of a red pointy-eared, pitchfork holding, gnarling, little man. In reality, Satan is none of these. He was created in splendor and beauty to be in God’s presence (Ezekiel 28:13-16). He desired to BE God, not just serve Him and give God the glory He deserves. He looked at his exalted status believing that he was responsible for it, rather than God. He was cast out of heaven and sets himself up against the kingdom of God and God’s people.
Do not underestimate Satan. He is called the believers’ “adversary” in 1 Peter 5:8, and is said to be like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. He is the mortal enemy of the Christian and opposes God’s will on this earth. Do not be fooled, if he can get you to underestimate him and dismiss him as a red little devil, then his deception is already at work. He is a murderer from the beginning and the father of lies (John8:44).
To help in this area, I propose to give you THREE TACTICS OF SATAN FROM GENESIS 3:1-7 that he will use against you.
1. Satan Will Work to Create Doubt in God’s Goodness–Genesis 3:1-3
The Serpent (Revelation 12:9) approaches Eve and immediately questions God’s command. He asks, “Did God really say that you cannot eat from any tree of the garden?” Satan focuses directly on the restriction that God has put in place for Adam and Eve. What Satan wanted Eve to think is that God is unnecessarily restrictive, that He is a tyrant. It is a continual lie of Satan that all authority is tyrannical. God’s only restriction for Adam and Eve was that they not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Keep in mind that Eve is being deceived from the very beginning (1 Timothy 2:13-14). When Eve responded to the serpent, she did not immediately defend God’s goodness; she instead focused on the restrictions placed on her, even embellishing what God had told Adam in Genesis 2:16-17 by making the command even more restrictive by adding the words “or touch it.” She had already accepted the premise that God was restricting her freedom. This can be seen in the way she responds to the serpent. God told Adam in Genesis 2:16-17 that they could eat “freely” from any tree of the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The word in Hebrew carries the idea of “eating until one is filled.” Rather than focusing on God’s goodness in all that they could do; she chose to focus instead on what she couldn’t do. Satan wanted Eve to doubt God’s goodness by focusing on God’s restrictions rather than His blessings.
Satan’s strategy has not changed over the millennia since the Fall of man. When you worry, you are focusing on what you don’t have versus what God has blessed you with. When you focus on what you think you deserve rather than being content with what God has blessed you, you are doubting God’s goodness. You are basically saying that God doesn’t care for me and does not have my best interest at heart. Praise God that He does care for us and that He doesn’t give us everything that we desire. God is good (Psalm 136:1) and He works all things to our ultimate good, which is our Christlikeness (Romans 8:28-30).
2. Satan Will Contradict God’s Word–Genesis 3:4-5
In Genesis 3:4-5, Satan gives Eve two lies that she believes, continuing the deception already underway. Both are in direct contradiction to the words of God in Genesis chapter 2.
The first lie is found in Genesis 3:4. Satan says to Eve the exact opposite of what God had said to Adam in Genesis 2:17. In reference to the forbidden fruit, God tells Adam “…for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” Genesis 3:4 tells us that in direct contradiction to this, Satan tells the woman, “You surely will not die!” What Satan is saying to Eve is this: There are no consequences for disobedience. By directly contradicting the word of God, Satan wants Eve to believe that God’s word cannot be trusted. She found out very quickly, along with her husband who ate as well, that sin and disobedience have consequences (read Genesis 3:9-24).
First Question in Scripture:
“Did God Really Say?” -Satan
The second lie of Satan revolves around what he says in Genesis 3:5. Satan tells Eve that not only will she not die, but she will be like God knowing good and evil. The lie of Satan is that God is not in sovereign control over your life. By focusing in on Eve’s lack of knowledge of good and evil, Satan is wanting Eve to question if she is in the best place at that given moment. Satan was stating that there was something, some knowledge Eve was lacking. He wanted her to question God’s plan. Was she really in the ideal condition? Wasn’t there something that was missing from her life?
This is in direct contradiction to what is stated in Genesis 1:31. God sees man and woman and all that He had made and declares it “very good.” It was not God’s desire for Eve to know evil on a personal, experiential level. Expelled from the garden, Eve and Adam soon experienced an evil they could never have foreseen. Their own son Cain, in a fit of jealousy, killed this brother Abel. They both were in a perfect state in the perfect place, and God had sovereignly put them there. They fell from perfection as Eve believed the lies of Satan, and in her dissatisfaction with God ate the forbidden fruit and led her husband to do likewise.
3. Satan Will Appeal to Your God Given Desires –Genesis 3:5-7
Adam and Eve were created with natural desires. The desire to eat and drink, the desire for companionship, the desire to increase in knowledge and wisdom. Satan appealed to these natural desires in his deception of Eve. There are three aspects of the nature of man that Satan will appeal to. He appeals to the Lust of the Flesh, the Lust of the Eyes, and the Pride of Life.
Lust of the Flesh–Genesis 3:6 says that Eve saw that the fruit was “good for food.” The body has a natural need for sustenance, let’s state that right away. The danger is when that natural desire is perverted to want something that is expressly forbidden by God. Eve was not starving, God had told Adam they could eat freely of anything they desired. It was not like there were other people and limited resources. In Eve’s heart, the deception reached its climax as she thought about the serpent’s words and began to think how good the fruit that was forbidden by God would taste.
Lust of the Eyes–Genesis 3:6 says that to Eve the fruit was “a delight to the eyes.” The eyes will always long to look at that which is novel, unusual, and beautiful. Eve could look out at the perfect world God had created and give glory to Him. She could see the beauty of the garden, the novelty of the different animals, and yet through the serpents deception, all she could look at was the fruit that God had expressly forbidden.
Pride of Life–Genesis 3:6 says that to Eve the “tree was desirable to make one wise.” There is nothing inherently wrong with growing in one’s knowledge of God and His creation. The danger for Eve was the perversion of this desire in elevation of oneself and the dishonoring of God. Dissatisfaction and disobedience bring only pain and suffering. Eve let her desire to be “wise,” to be “like God,” cloud her judgment and lead her to act independently of Adam and in direct violation of God’s word.
Satan is the believers’ adversary in this life. He knows how to tempt men and women. After all he has been doing it since the beginning. The moment that you think you are OK, that you are doing well, and you lower your guard, that is the moment which you will fall. 1 Corinthians 10:12 says, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”
I pray that knowing these Strategies of Satan will help you to resist the devil (James 4:7). The key to resisting Satan is drawing near to God. You must believe that God is good, obey His word, and resist what this world has to offer (1 John 2:15-17).