It’s funny how similar the devil is to Raytown. That may sound like a slam on my hometown, but that’s not what I mean. What I’m saying is the devil, who is seen as a serpent in our story, never changes. He is the same liar today as he was in the beginning, and if we study how he operates we don’t have to be caught off guard when he slivers into our lives to try to tear us down. Let’s take a look at how he deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, way back in Genesis 3:1-5.
The enemy starts his attack with a question of doubt: Did God actually say You shall not eat of any tree in the garden? Not only does he seek to place doubt in the mind of the woman, but he also twists the original words of God. Look at it again. He says “any” tree, when the original command was limited to just one tree in the garden: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He can’t even be honest and forthright in simply asking a clarification question, which is why Jesus calls him a liar in his nature and the father of lies in John 8:44.
The truth is, as God cannot lie, the enemy cannot be truthful. As it is God’s nature to be honest, it is the enemy’s nature to lie. When we begin to experience temptation to sin, which only comes from the enemy, we first need to acknowledge him for who he is; a liar.
In Eve’s response, in which she repeats the command, she acknowledges that she knows the truth, but that’s when the enemy goes in for the jugular. He says matter-of-factly in a way that must have seemed so authoritative, “You will not die.” Can a more bold-faced lie be told than that?
The enemy continues to place doubt in our minds by completely contradicting the command of God. This is his primary way of attacking us, especially if we are followers of Jesus, adopted into God’s family. We have the Holy Spirit living in our hearts to guide us toward right living. He reminds us of God’s commands, which are a blessing to us and not a burden. The enemy seeks to challenge and dismantle this knowledge, so we must stand firm in these commands, knowing they are a river of life.
Finally, the enemy completes his attack with his closing argument. These are the final words we hear from him, as he distorts the truth to explain why God forbids consuming this fruit. Isn’t that true regarding any sin we are tempted to pursue? This pornography won’t hurt you or anyone else. God doesn’t want you to watch it because he wants you to be miserable in your natural sexual desires. And you don’t need to tell anyone about it because they will only judge you for this. Didn’t God say people shouldn’t judge? So lying about this will only help them to not judge.
It may sound reasonable, but it’s a lie. It only leads to death and destruction in some form or another, and it’s just a matter of time at that point. Rather than even let the enemy get to this point in the process, we would be much better off to follow Jesus’ example when dealing with the temptation to sin. Take a moment to read Jesus’ approach to standing up to the enemy in Matthew 4:1-11, and Luke 4:1-13.
What do you need to do be able to withstand the enemy?