Sometimes our lives are like a boxing match. We roll out of bed and step into the ring. Life comes at us with punch after punch after punch. Finally, we are worn down and feeling our weakest from all the blows we have been taking.
Satan comes in and goes for the knockout because he senses that we just don’t have much fuel left in the tank.
We are susceptible to temptation at any time but Satan knows how to punch our buttons and catch us right when we are the most vulnerable. For example, he tempted Jesus after He had been fasting for 40 days (Matthew 4:1-11).
There is so much that we can learn from picking apart this account. First, we can see how Satan works to back his opponents into the corner. Second, we can see how Christ responded and defeated Satan.
James writes, “…each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.” (James 1:14-16)
Satan can’t make us sin.
He merely plants the seeds of lust and we have the opportunity to choose whether or not to gratify our sinful desire or humble ourselves before God and resist the devil. (James 4:6-7) Satan plants the seeds of lust by lying to us and trying to deceive us.
“He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)
This is Satan’s haymaker or knockout punch. This is the one he uses to try to finish off his opponent. He tries to make us believe a lie that we may or may not know is false.
Let’s take a look at an example and try to wrap our minds around Satan’s deceptions. (2 Corinthians 2:11) A husband and a wife are struggling through a marriage in which they have vowed before many witnesses to be faithful to one another.
One spouse has recently become emotionally involved with a coworker of the opposite gender. At this point, Satan is whispering lies into the ear of the spouse who has fallen into temptation.
He is saying that this relationship will bring joy and fulfillment, no one will ever know, and that if it is pursued it will bring to pass everything that person was hoping for when they got married.
Satan does not tell this individual what will happen to his or her marriage. He does not explain the shame or regret that will wash over that person once they have taken his bait.
He merely tells a lie and dresses it up to make it look very appealing. How often do we take his bait? Almost as often as we let ourselves nibble on it.
We can’t entertain these temptations in our heart because Satan is too strong for us, and he is an expert at what he does. He only needs a foothold to gain control of our hearts.
It is now time to explain how to counter Satan’s attacks. How did Christ respond in Matthew 4?
He countered the lies of Satan with the truth of the scriptures. His heart was so grounded in truth that he was able to recognize a lie when it was presented to Him.
Jesus prayed to God for His disciples, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” (John 17:17) Jesus told another group of those who believed in Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31-32)
What could the truth set us free from?
The deception of sin.
In Ephesians 6:11-17, Paul writes a popular passage that describes the spiritual armor of Christians. The only piece of armor mentioned that would be used for an offensive attack is the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
That makes the Bible our knockout punch to destroy Satan, but is it effective when we don’t know how to use it or if it is dull?
We must be skillful with our weapon used to fight evil, or else we will be defeated.
Something within us feels the need to resort to something else to escape the stresses and challenges of life.
There are a number of things that we can turn to, but only one will offer us what we are looking for.
We have the choice to take the bait and turn to drugs and alcohol, or sexual addictions and pornography, or any number of things that Satan embellishes to us. These things will only enslave us and make us servants to sin, always making us wish we had just never tried it in the first place.
We won’t find what we might expect on this path to self-destruction.
The option that will lead us to peace and a deep sense of fulfillment is to grow more deeply in our relationship with Christ.
In Christ, we know that something better awaits us. The lies that speak so loudly and would lead us to make terrible decisions are exposed.
The One who died for the sins of mankind (that we are all guilty of) loves us no matter what we have done or where we are in our lives.
Through Him we can find the strength to turn from the path of self-destruction and renewed resolve to live a life of faith, purpose, and service.
Brad Trekell is a 2013 graduate of NWOSU where he wrote a column for the Northwestern News. Comments or questions may be sent to Brad via e-mail at email@example.com.