Overcoming the Devil’s Tactics
Do you ever get sick and tired of being attacked by the devil? In your Christian walk, does it ever seem like you take one step forward and two steps back? Have you ever felt condemned in your sin and wanted to just give up the fight?
If you said “yes” to any of the above, then I have good news for you: Your life does not have to continue on this way! The Bible gives us a plan of action to overcome the devil and his tactics. First, however, you need to be able to identify his strategy.
The devil’s two-fold strategy
The devil first tries to bring us down by trapping us in sin. If he is successful, he then attempts his accusation. The Bible actually refers to him as “the accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10). Satan does not just lead a Christian into sin and leave him or her to suffer the consequences. He wants the disobedient Christian to be doubly defeated.
Consider this account in Zechariah: “Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him. And the LORD said to Satan, ‘The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?'” (Zechariah 3:1–2).
The setting is that of a courtroom: God is the judge. Joshua the high priest is the defendant. Satan is the prosecutor trying to prove Joshua’s guilt.
Satan still uses this tactic with great effect. When you and I have disobeyed God, he moves in for that finishing stroke. He accuses you: “You call yourself a Christian?” “Do you really think that God will hear your prayer?” “You’re not worthy to approach God after what you’ve done.”
Before we sin, while he is tempting us, the devil whispers, “You can get away with this.” After we sin, he shouts, “You will never get away with this!”
Does this mean that every time we feel a sense of guilt or shame, it comes from the devil? Of course not. We simply must learn to distinguish between Satan’s accusations and the Holy Spirit’s conviction. If those feelings drive us to despair and hopelessness, then we’ve listened to the wrong voice.
The difference between conviction and accusation
When the Spirit of God convicts you:
- He uses the Word of God in love. He seeks to bring you back into fellowship with your heavenly Father.
- He gets you to focus upon God and His forgiveness. He draws you to the cross of Christ.
- He leads you to repentance.
- He moves you closer to the Lord.
When Satan accuses you:
- He uses your own sins in a hateful way.
- He seeks to make you feel helpless and hopeless.
- He gets you to focus your attention upon yourself and your sins.
- He drives you away from the cross of Christ.
- He wants you to experience regret and remorse, but not repentance.
- He moves you farther and farther away from the Lord.
True conviction from the Spirit will move you closer to the Lord.
Judas listened to the devil and went out and hanged himself in complete despair. Peter looked in the face of Jesus and wept bitterly, but later came back into fellowship with Christ. Don’t let anything keep you from coming to the cross and repenting of your sin and experiencing the wonderful, cleansing work of forgiveness in your life!