5 Strategies Satan Uses To Attack Us

Attack

What are the strategies Satan uses to attack us? If we are fighting a spiritual war, we need to know his strategies. As Paul says,

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:12

5 Strategies of Satan

(1) Temptation – Satan seeks to entice us to sin.

His purpose is to kill or hinder our witness through public scandal. To gain evidence that would allow him to accuse our conscience. To weaken our faith in sanctification in an area of our lives. To cause us to love our sin so we start excusing it or justifying it.

(2) Deception – Satan seeks to blind us to the truth and deceive us into thinking counterfeits are the real thing.

He tells us lies about God, the world, and ourselves, hoping we will believe them. He offers false teachers, promises, peace, joy, and happiness as a way to keep us from the biblical truth.

(3) Accusation – Satan seeks to keep us in conflict with the world and one another, as well as he works to get us to question our standing before God.

He causes unbelievers to accuse us of acts those on the fringes of Christianity do. He incites division among believers so they will accuse each other. As well as he uses our sins against us continually telling us we are not good enough to be a Christian.

(4) Possession – Satan seeks to put humans under the control of demons.

He causes individuals to be overtaken by demonic agents, who control their personality and provide them with supernatural gifts – healing and paranormal knowledge.

(5) Physical Attack – Satan seeks to attack through demonic activity, human agents, or institutions.

He causes demons to attack and oppress. He uses humans to persecute. He uses institutions, such as government to hinder the growth of Christianity.

Conclusion

Knowing the strategies Satan uses to attack us is helpful. Especially, in light of what Peter says,

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. – 1 Peter 5:8-9

In order to be watchful and resist Him, we need to know his strategies.

Questions for Reflection

  1. How do you think Satan attacks?
  2. What would you add to this list?

Resources

Post adapted from Dynamics of Spiritual Life by Richard Lovelace, 137-40.

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The Sanctifying Work of the Holy Spirit | Part 2

In my last post in this series, I defined sanctification and talked about the objective moment when we are set apart as God’s children. In this post, I want to introduce the concept of Progressive Sanctification.

Progressive Sanctification: A Definition

Progressive Sanctification is defined as the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in our lives to reveal our sin, in order to remove it, so that we continue to become more and more free from sin and like Christ in our daily lives. It differs from Definitive Sanctification in that it is a continual process, whereas Definitive Sanctification is an objective point in time-space history where we are set apart as Children of God.

A Process that is Never Complete

The process of Progressive Sanctification continues until our death at which time we receive our glorified bodies and finally become like Christ (1 John 3:2). Since Progressive Sanctification is never complete, we will never be without sin before Christ’s return because we live in a sinful body, and our flesh continually wars against our spirit (1 Kings 8:46; Prov. 20:9; Eccl. 7:20; Matt 6:11-12; Rom. 6:12-14; 7:13-25; James 3:2; 1 Jn 1:8).

Instead of reaching a state of perfection, we will continue to grow in Christ’s likeness as the Holy Spirit works in our lives. This does not mean we are to give up, throw our hands up in the air and say, “What is the point of all this then, if we will never be perfectly like Jesus this side of the grave.” Our lack of perfection does not mean we should despair or continue in sin.

We Should Not Despair

In Romans 8:15-16 Paul says,

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

We should not despair if we do not attain to perfection in this life. The Holy Spirit bears witness to our salvation and adoption as sons. We are not to be racked with guilt over our sin, nor are we to listen to the accusations of Satan that a child of God need be perfect. When we see change occurring in our lives, we can be sure the Holy Spirit is the one working to bring about that change, which proves we are God’s children.

We Should Not Continue To Sin

In Romans 6:1-7 Paul says,

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.

God in His grace saves us from eternal damnation through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are united with Him in His death and resurrection, so that His death and His resurrection become our death and our resurrection.

When we are united with Jesus, we are released from the bondage of sin and are free to worship and glorify God in our bodies. We no longer have to follow our former master Satan. The enslavement we once knew has been broken, and we are not to continue as we lived formerly when we were in bondage to Satan and his rule. In other words, we are not to continue to sin because we have been set free from a life of sin through our relationship with Jesus Christ, as well as we are not to presume upon the grace of God.

Conclusion

So we see the the process of Sanctification is also Progressive, in that it continues throughout our entire lives. As the Holy Spirit works in our life to convict us of sin, we grow more and more like Jesus in our daily lives.

We also saw Progressive Sanctification is a process that is never complete. We will never be perfect in this life because of our sinful bodies. Even so, we are not to despair because the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives testifies to our salvation and adoption as sons of God. In addition, we are not to continue to sin presuming upon God’s grace, nor are we to continue to sin because we have been freed from the bondage of sin to a life that is able to live as our Savior Jesus Christ.

Looking Forward

In my next post in this series, I will talk about how the Holy Spirit works in our lives to bring about change Monergistically (by Himself).

Resources

Jerry Bridges, The Transforming Power of the Gospel, Ch. 8

Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, Ch. 38.

The Wilderness Temptation

Have you ever thought about the purpose for the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness? Have you ever wondered why immediately after He is baptized He is driven into the wilderness for 40 days by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil? The temptations themselves seem odd and random, what holds them together?

Matthew, Mark, and Luke all present us with the temptation of Jesus. Matthew and Luke provides us with the details of the temptation, while Mark gives us a short summary telling us Jesus was tempted in the wilderness. Since Matthew and Luke both provide us with a more detailed account of Jesus’ temptation, we will focus in on those texts; specifically, we will look at Matthew’s account.

Parallel with Israel and More

Besides the obvious parallel with Israel, who was in the wilderness 40 days and failed and Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days and succeeded, showing He is the new Israel – the chosen and anointed one, what else can we learn from this event? In looking at the temptations Jesus faces, we see that they all are self serving temptations that would take glory away from the Father. Let’s look specifically at each temptation to see Jesus’ response and what we can learn from it.

Stones Into Bread

Jesus had been in the wilderness for forty days fasting, He would have been extremely hungry. Satan comes to Him and tempts Him to turn some stones into bread (Matt. 4:2-3). But in doing so, Jesus would have rejected God as the sustaining power of life. Look at what He says in response to Satan: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). Jesus was sustained by His relationship with the Lord, He did not need to create something else in order to serve Himself, He knew the Lord would provide and would sustain Him.

The Pinnacle of the Temple

After Jesus refuses to turn the stones into bread, He is taken up to the pinnacle of the temple and is tempted to jump off, so that God will rescue Him (Matt.4:5-6). Jesus was sent to do the will of the Father, which was to go to the cross to die for the sins of mankind, so that man’s relationship with God could be restored, if man believes in Christ as their Savior. To jump off of the pinnacle of the temple, in order for God to have to save Him, would be putting the Lord to the test (Matt. 4:7). More pointedly, He would not be seeking to glorify the Father; rather, He would be serving Himself by seeking to show how important He really is to the plan of salvation.

The Kingdoms of the World

In the last temptation, Satan takes Jesus to the top of a high mountain and shows Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. He then tells Him He can have all these kingdoms if He will worship him (Satan). To which Jesus says, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve'” (Matt. 4:10). Here Jesus tells us who He is working to glorify and serve, namely, the Father.

Author’s Strategy

Jesus is not concerned with exalting Himself, He is concerned with glorifying the Father in Heaven and serving Him alone. He does not need to exalt and glorify Himself because He is perfectly content in His relationship with the Father and the Spirit. A relationship where mutual love and service has existed before the foundations of the earth. Matthew, Mark, and Luke seek to highlight this fact with their narratives. They want their readers to see that Jesus did not come to serve Himself, but to serve the Lord. In addition, in serving the Lord, He is perfectly content and joyful. He does not need to elevate Himself to a place of glory in order to find joy and happiness because He finds joy and happiness in His relationship with the Lord.

Application

We too can experience this type of love and joy. The gospel tells us that we are more of a sinner than we ever dare thought, but at the same time it tells us that we are more accepted than we ever could imagine. By finding our acceptance in God and not in the world through self-glory or power, we will be more content and happy than we ever thought we could because we are more loved by God in Christ than we ever thought possible. Whereas the world seeks first and foremost to use others for their own benefit, the gospel places service to others at its pinnacle by showing us that Jesus was perfectly content with serving the Lord and seeking His (the Father’s) glory over His own because He loved the Father unconditionally, and He understood the joy associated with His relationship with the Father, as well as the love and service the Father reciprocated to Him.

We too can experience the same lasting eternal joy and love Jesus experiences. All we need to do is believe that Jesus is our Lord and Savior, that our sin separates us from God and without Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for our sins, we could not have a relationship with the Father. If you would like to learn more about the gospel message, you can read an earlier post I wrote by clicking here.

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