I wonder what Satan thought when God created people. It could be he didn’t care too much; to him Adam and Eve were just two more among the many creatures placed on this planet by the Lord. No doubt the devil had plans to mess up what God had made. And he wasted no time once the man and woman were living in the garden.
One thing I know about the devil is that he is on a power trip. Lucifer was the most powerful and beautiful of God’s angels, but it went to his head. He wanted to take over God’s place of supremacy, and he convinced a third of the angels to join up with him in the coup attempt. God threw them all out of heaven, and they have since been known as the devil and demons.
I am sure it ticked Satan off in a big way when he learned that the man and woman were not only made in the image of God, but that they were created for dominion. God gave them a garden to tend, and He gave them ruler-ship over all the other earthly creatures (Genesis 1:26-28). Now just imagine Satan’s reaction to all this. You can bet he was not about to stand for it without some kind of power grab. Sure enough that’s the direction he took.
Some other things we know about the devil are that he is highly intelligent, he is able present himself like a good guy, and he is a pathological liar. He has had a lot of time to hone his sinister skills and develop a sophisticated bag of tricks. Specifically I want to tell you about three trump cards Satan played in the garden when he approached the first couple. These ploys got the job done for him in the garden, and he is still using them today to defeat Christians. Turn to Genesis Three and we will look at each of them.
The first trump card is lies. Satan set Eve up by testing her knowledge of God’s Word: “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (3:1). Once the devil had verified that Eve was aware of the prohibition, he flatly denied the negative consequence of disobeying God: “You will not surely die” (v. 4). In so many words he was calling God a liar. Next he called God’s motives into question: “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good from evil” (v. 5). It was as though God was somehow selfishly withholding that which would allow Eve to blossom, reach her full potential, become self-actualized, etc. (Sound familiar?)
Satan is still grooming people in the same way. First he will get their focus off the Word of God. That way they will not know what God says, and they will not have any kind of filter for incoming data. With discernment out the window he can now pour lies into the vacuum left by the absence of the Word. God says black and Satan says white. God says up and Satan says down. What God calls evil Satan calls good, and vice-versa. Look at our culture in America. Satan has lied to us and convinced us that we can do whatever makes us happy with no regard to God’s Word.
If you are a believer you had better get used to the fact that Satan is going to try to get you away from the Word of God. This way he can more subtly convince you of the truth of his lies. He will tell you God is all love and there is no consequence for disobedience, just like he did with Eve. He will tell you you are missing out and that to really live life to the full you need to taste the fruits of the world. Then, when you are in over your head he will convince you that your sinful habits are diseases over which you are powerless. Either that or he will convince you that your mom and dad are at fault because they failed to boost your ego enough when you were little. When it comes to lies Satan will throw everything at you, including the kitchen sink.
Satan also plays the trump card of lust. Lust, or coveting, is simply desire gone bad. It is wanting something that is not rightfully yours–something God says you can’t have. Look with me at Genesis 3:6: “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to they eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.” Satan knows what looks good to you. I am sure the forbidden fruit did look colorful and delicious to Eve. It might have had a mouth-watering aroma as well, who knows? God created the woman with senses of sight, smell, and taste. She had the capacity to enjoy eating for pleasure as well as survival. But within limits. Her first mistake was to allow Satan to draw her in. She should have played it safe by staying as far from the tree as possible.
Now let me put this into a context guys can understand. God created men to appreciate the beauty of women. And I don’t mean just facial features. Men are hardwired to like the appearance of the female body. They are supposed to want sex with a member of the opposite gender–that is normal and healthy. But God created those desires to be enjoyed only in the framework if monogamous heterosexual marriage. Satan trips guys up first by lying to them and saying there is no consequence to disobeying God in the area of sex. Then he convinces them that God’s ways are too strict and that they owe it to themselves to experience as many of life’s pleasures as they can–after all, you only live once. Next thing they know they are sleeping around and feeding on the images of naked girls flooding into the home via the Internet. It ends up being pure bondage to lust–a good desire gone bad and used in a way forbidden by God.
Finally, the devil played the trump card of laziness. Only now the focus was Adam: “She also gave to her husband with her, and she ate” (v. 6). It doesn’t look as if Satan really did anything to actively entice the man. His strategy was to bypass him altogether as the head of the relationship and work through the woman. Once he got her to act in autonomy from him she would do the convincing. Adam stood by lazily and did nothing to counteract Satan; nor did he tell his wife not to eat the fruit. Once she ate it he joined her, and sin entered the human race. Not through the woman. Not through the serpent. Through the man.
Guys–listen up. You are the heads of your homes. You are the team captains, the high priests, the gatekeepers of godliness. When you snooze everyone loses. The buck stops with you. Don’t let spiritual laziness get the better of you, as it did Adam. Step up and be men. I hate to sound crude, but you guys need to start pulling your weight instead of your wire. You see, spiritual laziness is really the first step of decline into the spiritual toilet. Become a spiritual slug and then Satan can undermine and even deny God’s Word, and you will have no discernment. You will be spiritually out of shape and when Satan entices you with some sinful desire you will be led off as an ox to slaughter. Stop it before it starts. Keep yourself alert by resisting sloth and attending to your spiritual condition daily. Hang out with godly guys and lose the losers in your life.
Stand up and fight the good fight today. Do not allow the enemy to bluff you with his trump cards of lies, lust, and laziness. Let’s face it, sin is fun–that’s why people do it. Whoever says otherwise is an idiot. But though sin might be fun in the moment, ultimately it is not fulfilling for the true child of God. So get off the couch and get your head out of the bowl of chili and into God’s Word. There’s a war going on all around you.