October 22, 2023
Dr. Paul Cannings
When Adam and Eve were in the Garden, satan revealed a few key things about himself. He knows God’s Word very well; he loves to be logical in the way he thinks, and once we engage, using a logical way of thinking, he is empowered to tempt us to live independently of God (Genesis 3:1-7). He did the same with Christ (Luke 4:1-11). He did not care that Christ is the Word. He still gave Jesus a verse. He used a logical way of thinking to get Christ to follow him and seek even to tempt Christ. So, since this is who he is, he will be the same towards us.
The scriptures are clear that satan is a tempter (1 Thessalonians 3:5). Using the flesh (James 1:13-15; 4:1-4), if we choose to live a carnal Christian life (1 Corinthians 3:1-3) or apply logic when we make decisions, he can guide us into immorality (1 Corinthians 7:5; Galatians 5:16-19). When we continue in the flesh because we live selfishly, he can influence us to lie and become self-destructive (Acts 5:1-11). When anxiety dominates us, he uses it to stifle our spiritual growth (Luke 8:14) and to control us (1 Peter 5:7-9) if we choose not to fill that time with prayer and supplication (Philippians 4:4-7). So, in order words, satan uses different methods to steer us away from walking in the Spirit. To not walk in the Spirit, the lust of the flesh gives birth to sin and death; satan wins (Galatians 5:22-25). This is why Paul says,, “so that no advantage would be taken of us by satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.” (2 Corinthians 2:11; NASU)
You may ask, why does God not remove us from all the above? The scriptures teach that God allows this to perfect our faith and mature us so that our walk with Him becomes one of surrender and endurance (James 1:2-4). When we live in this manner, the Lord views us as overcomers, and He blesses us as a result (James 1:12; Revelation 3:21-22) by providing us ‘the Crown of Life.’ The Church of Smyrna and the Church of Philadelphia experienced tremendous trials because of satan’s attacks, and they did not turn away, so the Lord blessed them powerfully and eternally (Revelation 2:8-11; 3:7-13).
This is why Paul would say after all the attacks of satan on his life, “I am already being poured out as a drink offering….I have fought the good fight; I have finished the course; I have kept the faith; in the future, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing. (2 Timothy 4:6-8; NASU)