Suffering is not an encouraging topic, but one we should talk about as followers of Christ. There is much for us to learn as we suffer in this life. We can learn more about God and ourselves. When we’re suffering we can be tempted by Satan to turn from God and trust in ourselves. He uses tactics that appeal to us as he seeks to turn our hearts from our true Lord and Savior. In today’s blog, we’ll be looking at ways Satan tempts us when we are weak and vulnerable. We need to be prepared for these tactics and fight against the temptation so that we don’t give into it.
- Satan plants doubts in our minds about God and his word.
“…He said to the woman, Did God actually say!” Genesis 3:1b
Do you hear the doubt that is being planted in this question? Eve gave into this doubt and so do we. When there is something we are determined to do but it goes against God’s Word, we often try to convince ourselves that God didn’t mean what he said. We can find reasons for lies, inappropriate words, shameful actions, and broken relationships. Our reasons will not line up with God’s Word but that doesn’t stop us. Because we say to ourselves, “that’s not what God actually is saying.” How do we fight this temptation? We fight by knowing the truth and then living by it. Our minds should be filled with the truth of God’s character. It is this truth that will get us through our temptation.
- Satan appeals to our weakness.
“And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread’.” Matthew 4:2-3
Jesus was led to the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. He hadn’t eaten for 40 days and nights. Therefore, hunger was his weakness. Satan sought to tempt him where he was physically weak, his hunger. This is how Satan tempts us too. He looks for our weaknesses and then tempts us in that weakness. If we are a people pleaser, he keeps bringing to mind other people and what they think of us. As Satan does this, we may begin to make up a scenario concerning others that is not true. We then act on our untruth rather than the truth. How do we fight this temptation? We fight by knowing our own weaknesses. Then we seek to grow stronger in our weaknesses by believing the truth about the circumstance and God. We must believe that, “…when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10b The strength here is referring to the grace of God which overflows to us in our weakness so that we can follow him.
- Satan appeals to our desires.
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes…” Genesis 3:6a
It is so easy for us to desire what we see, and Satan knows it. He tempts us as we see things we want. We see, we think of, we covet, and then we sin. This is how Satan uses the desires we have to bring us to sin. Our desires can become overwhelming to us. So much so that we will convince ourselves that God really does want us to have that brand new car when, in reality, we can’t afford it. How do we fight this temptation? We seek to make our desires line up with God’s desires. Our desires will line up when we delight in God and who he is and what he has done.
- Satan appeals to our pride.
“…and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate…” Genesis 3:6b
We want to be more. We want to know more. We want to be the best in all we do. Our pride pushes us to have the best and be the best. Satan knows this and used it as he tempted Eve. He said, “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:5 Can you recognize what Satan did here? He appealed to Eve’s pride in herself. She could be better; she could be like God, the creator. Who wouldn’t want to be like God? We give in to temptation to be like God all the time. In fact, we take over the throne and want to the be “god” of our life! We think we know best and begin to follow our own leading rather than God’s. How do we fight this temptation? Our lives need to be lived humbly by always remembering that we’re not the one in charge. Humility happens when we quit trying to be something we’re not and accept who God has made us to be.
When we suffer, we need to be aware of Satan’s tactics so that we can fight against them. He wants us to doubt that God even cares about us when we suffer. This is not true. We need to remember the truth and allow it to set us free from the darts Satan throws at us.
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13