by Jefferson David Tant
The apostle John wrote some words concerning Satan in Revelation 12:9: “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”
We are well aware of the devil’s role as one who deceives and lures people to practice sin, but just how does he accomplish this? By looking at the record in Genesis 3:1-7, we can get a pretty well-defined picture of how he operates in luring us to sin.
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'" The serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die! 5. For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.”
Let us take note of Satan’s scheme in these verses, so that by having an insight into his methods, we may equip ourselves and be strengthened to not yield, but overcome his temptations.
First, Satan challenges what God said. Eve understood perfectly well that God said they would die if they ate the fruit. Satan challenged that and stated exactly the opposite.
Second, then he uses the lie to appeal to human pride. “If you eat the fruit, you will be like God.” Well, who wouldn’t like to be like God? To have all wisdom and knowledge sounds like something good, doesn’t it? But no human has ever attained that level of knowledge.
Third, having gotten Eve’s attention, she then looks at the fruit and saw that it looked good and tasty. Thus Satan offered what was pleasing to the eye. It wasn’t ugly. Are we enticed today by sight? Do we see the nice possessions of others and wish we had them? What does the word “covet” mean? “To desire what belongs to another inordinately or culpably.”
Does Satan ever show us the bad end that sin produces? Obviously not. He wouldn’t get very far if the billboards advertising the good times of drinking alcohol also showed the bodies lying in the road and a smashed-up car following a drunk driving accident.
The coveting of possessions can lead to stealing in order to obtain them, or it might lead us to put more emphasis on material things to the extent that we neglect spiritual things because we get caught up in making more and more money so we can have more and more possessions. But when we die, what can we take with us? We can only take our spiritual qualities if we have not lost them in our quest for things of this world that we will leave behind.
Satan knows us — our strengths and weaknesses and knows that he can appeal to us through our eyes. Job understood this and made a covenant. “I have made a covenant with my eyes; How then could I gaze at a virgin?” (Job 31:1).
In this matter, our women need to see to it that they dress modestly. To argue that they can’t help it if a man lusts after them is not reasonable. Well, a man may lust after a woman fully clothed, and she bears no responsibility in that. But if she invites his stares, then she has sinned by contributing to his sin.
Paul deals with this in his letter to Timothy: “Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness” (I Timothy 2:9-10).
Paul is not saying that a woman cannot wear jewelry or dress nicely, but that she should be known more for her character than for her looks. Besides, would “modestly” describe thigh-high skirts or shorts, or attire showing cleavage? I don’t think so.
John writes some about what is a “delight to the eyes” in I John 2:16: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.”
Dear readers, at the very beginning of God’s word, we are given insight into the devices of Satan. Let us learn from that, and make a covenant, even as Job did, that we will not be enticed. Heaven is our goal.
Paul encouraged the Corinthian Christians to behave in such a way “so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes” (II Corinthians 2:11). We are not ignorant of Satan’s schemes. We have been informed and warned.
”Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1).