Our true enemy is the devil, who tempts us and desires our destruction. He hates God and all those who follow Jesus. There is nothing he desires more than to get you to listen to the lies he whispers to us. If we are to be Christians who chase after Jesus, then we need to expect that the devil will do everything he can to get us to fail. But, if we are to win at spiritual warfare we have to do both know who are true enemy is and the tactics of how he fights against us. In order to unveil his battle plans, I have highlighted some of them below.
5 Ways The Devil Tempts Us
1 – Tempts us to hold on to transgressions against us and fail to forgive others. If we fail to forgive, then we cannot be reconciled and heal broken relationships. If we hold onto sin, then we will never be able to have God fulfill the petition in the Lord’s Prayer to “forgive our sins as we forgive others.” The devil loves our lack of forgiveness.
“Any one whom you forgive, I also forgive. What I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, to keep Satan from gaining the advantage over us; for we are not ignorant of his designs.” -2 Cor 2:10-11
2 – Lies to us about what will make us happy. He will tempt you with money, pleasure, power, etc. But, he lies and says that all these things will bring happiness, when they won’t. They can’t. Only God can. But, the devil can’t help himself – he very nature leads him to lie. He NEVER speaks the truth to us.
“He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” -John 8:44
3 – He tempts us to stir up division between one another. He may use personality or communication issues. He sometimes uses our own sinfulness to play on our weaknesses. He also uses politics, hatred, pride, etc. No matter the tool, he can’t stand that we might stand united with each other and Jesus. Since Jesus prayed for our unity, he hates it, because our unity is a sign to the world of God’s love.
“I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” -John 17: 20-21
4 – The devil tempts us to be afraid and be discouraged. If he can get your heart to question whether you are really loved, whether you really can conquer a particular sin, whether you are alone, whether you are worthy, etc. – then he wins over your heart to fear and discouragement. This is why one of the most popular themes in the Bible is to have no fear. Faith and hope cast out fear, because we rest in the truth of Jesus, not in the lies of the devil.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” -John 14:27
5 – The devil lies to us about what freedom really is. True freedom is to do what we ought to do. It isn’t that we are merely free to make a choice. Rather, we are set free to live our lives according to God’s plan. As the Catechism says, “The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes. There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to “the slavery of sin.”” (CCC 1733) You aren’t made to merely have a choice, but to choose correctly.
“Live as free men, yet without using your freedom as a pretext for evil; but live as servants of God.” -1 Peter 2:16
1. Avoid and/or flee from it. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor.
“She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.” -Gen 39:12
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” -Phil 4:8
3. Work on overcoming your selfishness. True Love doesn’t know selfishness. Because, if you love Jesus you don’t belong to yourself
“and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.” -1 Cor 3:23
4. Expect and be ready for temptation. We need to be prepared for Spiritual battle.
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” -Eph 6:13
5. Remind yourself of the consequences of sin. With God’s help you can overcome temptation.
“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” -Gal5:19-21
6. Memorize God’s Word. Filling our minds with the thoughts of God and having them readily available to us is very wise.
“He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” -Luke 11:28
7. Cultivate a sense of God’s presence in prayer. But don’t just listen – obey. Don’t let a day go by that you don’t pray.
“Go near and listen to all that the LORD our God says. Then tell us whatever the LORD our God tells you. We will listen and obey.” -Deut 5:27
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” -James 5:16
9. Accountability helps us avoid sin. When we are accountable to both man and God it helps us overcome temptation.
“Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.” -Genesis 4:9
10. Understand who your true enemy is and his tactics.
“Our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” -Eph 6:12-13
11. Think of your heavenly reward and not just of this life.
“Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” -James 1:12
12. Receive the Eucharist regularly. Those who do have Jesus abide in them and they abide in Jesus.
“Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me.” -John 6:56-57