DEFEATING THE TEMPTER
(This is blog 20 in the series “Names of Satan.”)
It seems appropriate that we have kept the first name of Satan to look at last. We first encounter him as a serpent in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). Revelation 12:9 clearly says that this “Old Serpent” was also called “the devil” and “Satan.” No doubt about his identity, is there? God said there would be enmity between Satan and women and her descendants (Genesis 3:15), and that has even carried over to an especially great hatred most women have for snakes today.
Snakes are usually always portrayed as evil, conniving and dangerous. The serpent is a figure for hypocrites (Matthew 23:33) and those who are prudent (Matthew 10:16). The malice of the wicked is compared to the “venom of a serpent” ( Psalms 58:4; cf. 140:3); the poisonous bite of the serpent is a figure of the harmful influence of wine ( Proverbs 23:31-32); unexpected evil is like the bite of a serpent lurking in a wall ( Ecclesiastes 10:8), and there is no profit for the charmer of an uncharmed serpent that bites (Ecclesiastes 10:11); enemies who harass and destroy are compared to serpents (Isaiah 14:29; Jeremiah 8:17), whereas the voice of discomfited Egypt is likened to serpents roused from their lair by the woodcutter (Jeremiah 46:22).
Another common name for Satan also comes from Eden: “The Tempter” came to Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4:3). He comes to tempt us in the same way (1 Thessalonians 3:5; Acts 5:3).
While not all temptation comes from Satan and demons, he certainly does all he can to entice us into sin (2 Corinthians 2:11; 1 Timothy 3:7; 2 Timothy 2:26) as he did when tempting Jesus. He will use our sin nature (James 1:14-15), the world system (1 John 2:15-16) or attack directly through demons (1 Corinthians 7:5). He can cause and use anger (Ephesians 4:27), pride (1 Timothy 3:6; 1 Chronicles 21:1; 1 Timothy 3:6), immorality (1 Corinthians 7:5), lies (Acts 5:1-3), doubting God’s Word and goodness (Genesis 3:1-5; Luke 4:9-12), ‘miracles’ to deceive (Mark 4:8-9; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3,9-11), hypocrisy (John 8:44; Acts 17:22), self-sufficiency (1 Chronicles 212:1-7), worry and fear (1 Peter 5:7-9; Hebrews 2:14; Psalm 23;4), lack of faith (Luke 22:31-32; 1 Peter 5:6-10), physical affliction (Job 1:6-22; 2:1-7; John 8:44; 1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Timothy 1:20) and sin of any kind (1 Thessalonians 3:5; Matthew 4:3; 1 Corinthians 10:19-21, 2 Corinthians 11:3,13-15; 1 John 3:8).
Satan works to bring us into sin in different ways. Sometimes he charges like a lion (1 Peter 5:8-9). He uses his vicious power to cause fear in us. Like a lion, he stalks the weak, he picks off those not with the group or in poor health or he overpowers in a sudden charge.
Other times he traps like a spider (2 Timothy 2:26). He builds an innocent-looking web in the path of his victim and uses something attractive for bait, then he waits patiently. When someone lands in the net he quickly paralyzes it and then destroys it.
A third way he overcomes is to deceive like a serpent (2 Corinthians 11:3). He hides his real identity. He counterfeits the real but substituting something that seems harmless. And, like a snake, he moves fast and deadly when he strikes. He quickly devours his victims while they are still alive.
What we must do is avoid Satan as a lion, dread him as a serpent and fear him as an angel of light.
In which of these are you more open to attack? Which of his attacks are most successful against you? What must you starting right now to have victory over those attacks?
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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