Point 4 - Understanding the enemy’s tactics
Apr 23, 2021 | by Michael Carter
Point 4 - Understanding the enemy’s temptations and tactics to separate us from God’s word
The enemy’s temptations
Temptation is a tactic in the enemy’s tool box of war. Temptation is the act of luring someone to do something by presenting an appealing desire or outcome. The enemy is called the tempter in Matthew 4:3. We find his tactics used against Jesus as well as Adam and Eve. As we look at them, we will contrast their response and glean from them. Thankfully, Jesus overcame them and gave us some insights as to how we can overcome and them and win the battle of the enemy’s temptations.
A point of the enemy’s temptation involves the lust of the flesh. Matthew 4:1-4
Looking at this temptation in Geneses we find the enemy presenting his temptation to Adam and Eve by questioning God’s intent and word. As if God was ambiguous as to what He meant. This temptation appealed to their egos and flesh.
The temptation presented a choice to obey God, or yield to their flesh and disobey God. This is a temptation to choose
to follow the lust or strong desires of your flesh or God. Unfortunately, they chose to disobey God and ate the fruit.
In contrast; Jesus had fasted for forty day. The enemy knew that hunger had returned to Him and tempted Him. The enemy wanted Him to focus on the desires of his flesh opposed to the things of God. Although this temptation is principled in the most basic need of every human; food, the spectrum of its lure reaches to the lust for things and power. At the core of this temptation is the enemy’s attempt cause us to focus on worldly things that appeal to our egos and flesh opposed to the things of God. Jesus did not succumb to the temptation, but declared God’s word His primary focus and sufficiency. If the enemy can get us to focus on those carnal things of our flesh we will live our lives according to the world and not according to God's word, ways and purpose. Jesus was not ruled by His flesh nor the ways and trappings of the world. His response indicated that the things of God and His word are primary and sufficient. In Him we discover fulfillment and every need met And that our lives are principled complete and lived in and through God and His word. Colossians 2:10 / Colossians 3:1-2
A point of the enemy’s temptation is to lure us into tempting God. Matthew 4:5-7
In Genes 3 we find the enemy presenting this temptation to Adam and Eve. He is questioning them by using god's word.
Yet, in reality, he was raising questions in their hearts and minds concerning God’s intent in regards to their obedience.
This was to cause doubt as well as cause them to tempt God. He told them that God really doesn’t mean to judge you.
That’s not what that really means. Eat the fruit and you will find this out. Unfortunately, they ate the fruit and their sin caused them to die spiritually. The exact results God told them would happen.
In contrast: Jesus knew exactly what the enemy was attempting to do. Our Lord repelled the first temptation by pointing out that life is not defined by the lust of our flesh or things, but by God's word. And now Satan solicits Him to make trial of it.
The position He took to repel one temptation, the enemy uses as the groundwork for another. The world we live in becomes
a constant test and temptation to prove and test what we believe and what God declares. This encounter speaks to the enemy’s temptation for man to tempt God in regards to His judgments and faithfulness to keep us and His word. There are cults that tempt God with snake rituals and other irrational behavior, tempting God. This is a trap from the enemy.
God can be proved through our obedience, but not tempted. James 1:13 / 1st Corinthians 10:1-12 / Acts 5:1-10
Jesus called this temptation tempting God. Matthew 4:7
Don't fall into the temptation to tempt or test God to see what He will or will not do, it taunts and displeases Him. Tempting God is dangerously disrespectful and borders mocking Him. And we need not tempt or test God to determine if He is there and able to meet our needs. Principle your faith in God and His word through obedience trust and live by faith with soundness of mind. Don’t tempt God, obey and live out His word. Then you will experience His influence in your life.
The enemy’s temptations speak to man's ego and pride. Matthew 4:8-10
We find this temptation with Adam and Eve. Genesis 3:1-5. The enemy appealed to their esteem and ego in regards to what they could achieve or be aside from God. He frames the temptation in the thinking that God is hiding something from them and keeping them from being their best and realizing their full potential. This appealed to their pride and egos. He infers that God knows that if they eat of the tree they will be something great. They would be like Him. He is inferring that God does not want them to be awesome or like Him. Fact is; aside from God's essence, they were already like Him. They were like Him in nature and character.
However, they yielded to the temptation and sinned.
In contrast: Having tried the Lord’s focus and trying to tempt Him to tempt God, the enemy now tries to provoke His ego and lure Him into being prideful.
By presenting to Jesus all the kingdoms and their glory, he was inferring that He would be great and people would adore and worship Him because of all the kingdoms He would be lording over. Jesus understood what the enemy was attempting to do. The Lord did not need the kingdoms of the world, nor did He value Himself by them. He understood who He was and didn't need things or a position to validate that. And certainly, He understood His position and who held all the power, God. His position was a position of humility. He rebuked the enemy and declared that God should be our primary object of worship.
We overcome this temptation through humility. James 4:6-7
God hates pride because it exalts man above measure and rejects God’s deposits in them and His influence in their lives. We are instructed to not think of ourselves in a prideful manner Romans 12:3. But to think soberly of ourselves is a point of humility. Resist the temptation to be prideful. Recognize that all you’re capable of doing comes from God. Our egos and pride feeds off of us seeing ourselves as great, lords, high and mighty, adored and even worshiped. It’s a perversion of our position as chief stewards given dominion in the planet. Yes, we were crated to excel and do great things. But that's measured by our serving from the deposit given to us by God. Not because we of our own selves are great. All the glory goes to Him, not us in pride. And that we are at our very best when our lives are lined up with God’s will and purpose for our lives. Who we are and what we are capable of doing is because of God. To him be all the glory!
The enemy’s temptations are all around us.
Again, the enemy is not like God. He has to set up systems, platforms and portals of temptation. They are on display in our culture, social interactions, work places, government, churches and more. The temptation of the enemy mines our hearts to see what’s alive in us in an attempt to lure us into sin. John 14:30
The awesome thing about God is that He is with us; leadings and empowering us through them 1st Corinthians 10:13.
As we grow, we learn to grow and mature through temptations. James 1:1-4 / James 1:12 This is a growth in God’s Spirit and His word. The key for us is to recognize them and grow through those temptation. This is a battle that we win through growth, the power of God, His Spirit and word.
The enemy uses certain tactics in warfare to cause the word of God to be ineffective in our lives.
We find them listed in the parable of the sower in Mark 4:10 -20.
They are affliction, persecution, the cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches and the lust of others things. They are
all around us, in our culture, society and world. This is why the word tells us that Satan comes immediately. No, he is not everywhere all the time, but these areas are present and all around us and playing out in our lives.
Affliction – An affliction can be a moment of anguish, trouble, distress, torment or a condition, situation or circumstance in our lives. Afflictions comes upon us as the result of our choices, the worlds response to our faith. Some can be imposed by the enemy and others are the result of life simply happening to us. The enemy desires that affliction will cause you to give up and think that God’s word does not work and turn your faith off. We overcome affliction by trusting in God and His word.
If you hold on, God will keep you through and deliver you from any affliction and cause you to grow. Overcoming affliction will build your faith and relationship with God. 2nd Corinthians 4:15-18
Persecution – The definition of persecution is to systematically oppress and harass a person or a group based on their position, ethnicity or belief. Persecution often presents itself as ridicule, discrimination, rejection or even violence.
It is a strong tactic to persuade believers to back down from God's word and fit it with the world in order to be accepted.
As with the early church, we will be persecuted as we live righteous in an unrighteous world. 2nd Timothy 3:12
We overcome persecution through trusting God and His word. Revelation 12:11
Cares of the world – A care of the world is a worry, concern or anxiety about the matters of our world, well being and those things that affect our day to day lives. Yes, we all should live our lives with care in regards to our living and well being, However, the problem occurs when those things are more important to you than obeying God’s word or your relationship with Him. The enemy wants us to pay more attention to the things of the world opposed to God. We overcome the cares of the world with wisdom, trusting and obeying God. Proverbs 3:5-6 / Philippians 4:6-7
Deceitfulness of riches – Riches are not the problem. As kings and children of God you are called to exercise dominion in the earth. That includes the wealth of this world. 3rd John 1:2 / Psalms 35:27. The enemy wants us to love money above all and define who we are and our value by them. Don’t love money more than God 1st Timothy 6:10. And don’t value yourself by things or money. Luke 12:15-21 Love God and value yourself according to what it cost to redeem you, Christ Jesus.
Lust of other things - Lust is a strong uncontrollable unquenchable desire to get. There are several types of lust; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the lust for power. None will bring fulfillment, only vanity and vexation of the soul.
The enemy desires to pull your heart towards earthly things more than God. That way you focus will be on them and not growing your relationship with God and His word. We are not to seek and love the world more than God 1st John 2:15.
But set our hearts and desires on growing with Him, His kingdom and word, Colossians 3:1-4 / Matthew 6:33
And we are to discipline our life style and buffet our flesh. 1s Corinthians 9:24-27
The intent is to cause us to back down and separate us from God and His word.
The enemy understands the power of God’s word. This is a war to keep people from God’s word. The enemy wants to isolate you from God’s word and the family of God. This way we are not effective in the war nor will we be able to live out our faith victoriously. This enables him to kill, steal and destroy us. However, as we grow through these areas, we are matured and positioned to win. What the enemy use to attack us, God uses for our growth with Him and in the faith.