When Jesus met the Devil in the wilderness, His only resource was God’s Word—and that is the weapon Satan fears. That is why Satan’s original temptation with Eve centered on her coming to a place of doubting or distorting God’s Word.
In a very real way each of us has within us the four basic spiritual flaws that Satan exploited as he introduced sin to Adam and Eve.
Jesus explained it this way in John 8:44 (NAS):
“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. 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.
Each of us are born into this world just like our father the devil. That is the terrible reality of our depravity. We are sinners by nature, by choice, and by the declaration of God’s Word. Only Jesus and the divine transformation of the new birth can change all that.
Satan’s plan as he tested Jesus two thousand years ago, and even to this day, involves his same lies from Genesis 3; these are the lies of Satan that seek to keep mankind from listening to the voice of their Creator. As we open in our Bibles to Genesis 3, remember…
Satan Doesn’t Want You To
Listen To God’s Word Today
Satan is in an all out attack to make you and me doubt, reject and become deafened to the voice of Jesus. We are not listening to the voice of Jesus when we think wrongly about God! Will you listen to that voice? Adam and Eve chose to not listen to God.
Instead of following God obediently in Paradise, Adam and Eve disobeyed, fell into sin, and Paradise was lost. As a side note for you American History buffs, an amazing fact is that the first words printed in America were in the New England Primer. The first page opens with “In Adam’s fall we sinned all”.
Please stand and listen to the first temptation and Satan’s plan to distort and make God’s children doubt God’s Word:
Genesis 3:1-5 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 “but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” 4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” NKJV
Join me at the scene of the first temptation to sin. As with all other doctrines, the first occurrence has many powerful insights. Note the way Satan attacks God’s authority by a series of doubts about God’s Word and distortions of God’s Word.
Doubt God’s Word (3:1a)
Doubting God is the goal of the devil. If he can get his foot in the door by making us doubt, the rest of his plan quickly can follow. Without the foundation of God’s Word believers are adrift and fall prey to every wind of doctrine and get tossed to and fro.
When young people are first exposed to secular scientific theories (with the God of Scripture left out), Satan always plants this seed of doubt in their minds: “Has God indeed said …?” (3:1a). Since listening to the voice of Jesus always involves the Bible, Satan tries to persuade us that God’s Word is just like any other book. “Oh,” he says, “the Bible is nice, perhaps helpful, but it is not absolute.”
Satan’s ultimate plan is to keep us from regular contact with the Lord by any one of a variety of tools he employs: questioning the authority of God’s Word, avoiding the teaching of God’s Word, or neglecting the reading of God’s Word.
- The Lesson: You doubt God when you doubt His Word.
Let me ask you personally, is Satan’s flaw showing up in your life this week? Have you neglect God’s Word to some degree this week? What was it Jesus said back to Satan when faced with this very flaw in Matthew 4:4?
Matthew 4:4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”
Jesus’ words at His temptation speak to all of us right now.
v If it is a choice between breakfast or Bible reading—God’s Word should win.
v If it is the choice between TV or your worship and Scripture time—God’s Word should win.
v If you are having to choose between God’s Word and sports, amusements, games, hobbies, web browsing, email writing, Facebook postings, or whatever—God’s Word should win!
Are you doubting, by neglect, that God’s Word is more important than even eating?
Jeremiah said in 15:16 Thy words were found and I ate them, And Thy words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Thy name, O LORD God of hosts.
Doubt God’s goodness (3:1b)
Satan planted seeds of doubt in Eve when he said, “Did God really say, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (3:1b). He wanted her to doubt God and His goodness. He likewise bombards each of us by whispering lies such as:
God is trying to hold out on you … He is robbing you of some good times … He is out of touch with your needs … He missed that disaster you just went through … He messed up on how He made you … God means well, but since He doesn’t quite have everything under control, that makes Him not good.
Satan’s fiery darts of lies are reserved for our most vulnerable moments. For instance, when a baby is born who is not fully functioning, or a young person’s life is cut off in what seems to be a tragic and untimely death, a normal reaction is to cry out, “Why, Lord?” Things like this simply make no sense to our finite minds, so we may be tempted to doubt God’s goodness.
- The Lesson: You doubt God when you doubt God’s goodness.
Another example is we idolize those who grace magazine covers or are otherwise in the social spotlight. At some point, however, they have to come to grips with the fact that we will never look like those people. So this realization can lead a person to despise their own features and question God’s goodness by thinking:
Why did God make me this way?
When the storms of life are at their fiercest, don’t give in to thoughts like this that challenge your faith:
Is God really in control? Why is He letting this happen to me? Where is He? Is He really good?
At such times, watch out because Satan acts like a prowling lion (1 Peter 5:8), and you must not give the devil a place to land in your life (Ephesians 4:27).
As we turn to Ephesians 4:25-31, look at all the sins Paul lists that can open up a ‘landing spot’ for the Devil, which opens our minds and lives to Satan’s influence. These areas will always hinder our walk in Christ. Satan lurks at the door of your mind, so do not let him in!
Doubt God’s authority (3:4)
In Satan’s next all-out attack to deceive Eve, he says point blank: “You will not surely die” (3:4). Satan loves it when we doubt God! He wants us to believe that God is not in charge, that God is not interested in our choices, and that God will not hold us accountable for our deeds. When that happens, every man or woman does whatever seems right in his or her own eyes. That is the hallmark of our world, the attitude that says—take charge of your own life, and be all you can or want to be!
- The Lesson: You doubt God when you doubt God’s authority.
Never forget that Satan’s masterful scheme is to make you doubt, reject, and become deafened to the voice of Jesus. Because you are not listening to the voice of Jesus when you think wrongly about God, daily ask yourself: Whose voice am I listening to?
Doubt God’s plan (3:5)
In Genesis 3:5 Satan blocked the Creator’s voice when he said “… Your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” From the very beginning, Satan has sought to convince mankind that his way is better than God’s. Thus he tries to entice us with his own plan for how we can achieve immortality, glory, and happiness. How does Satan do that? He tries to solidly plant this thought in our minds:
Abandon all those restraints—just let go and work out your own plan for pleasure! The
- Lesson: You doubt God when you doubt His plan for you.
Satan loves it when he gets us to doubt God and His plan! The devil’s scheme is to plant thoughts that God’s way is too restrictive, but his way allows freedom to pursue whatever lusts will bring the greatest pleasure. In fact, if Satan were to summarize his plan for us as a billboard ad, it would probably read:
Go for the gusto!
You only go around once!
Get your gratification now.
Satan delights in whispering to us: Lust won’t wait, so lust for what you want—and take it every chance you get! That is exactly what Adam and Eve did when they gave in to their desire for pleasure (Genesis 3:6). Thus the horrible precipitous slide down into sin began, as these verses reveal:
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked …. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden …, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God … (Genesis 3:7-8, emphasis added).
Before this awful day, Adam and Eve had been drawn to the voice of the Lord, and responded to Him. They both had longed to talk with their Creator and tell Him of their discoveries. They loved to ask Him questions about His universe and the garden they lived in. But now they discovered that His voice repelled them, so they hid among the trees of the garden. Then God—this Jesus who came “to seek and to save that which was lost”—had to become the seeking One (Luke 19:10).
The solution is that we need to…
Listen to Jesus’ Voice
in His Word
For every one of Satan’s spiritual flaws, God counters with a positive and powerful law. Therefore, He has four spiritual laws that destroy Satan’s four spiritual flaws.
God’s Four Spiritual Laws:
- You CAN Trust God’s Word: Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89). God’s Word has never been proven to be in error scientifically, morally, or historically. God’s Word is the only thing that you can stake your life on!
- You CAN Rest in God’s goodness: Truly God is good … to such as are pure in heart (Psalm 73:1). God is indeed good, and He has revealed himself to be so. He always makes good decisions! He made you well; you are a beautiful work of art, created in Christ Jesus for good works (Ephesians 2:10). He made you for His glory, so never wonder why He has allowed something to happen in your life; trust His goodness and rest in that truth.
- You CAN Submit to God’s authority: … Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7). Resist Satan’s lies; resist his desire to make you rebel, and he will flee from you.
- You CAN Follow God’s plan: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). As soon as we head away from the Lord to follow after our own understanding, we are heading toward Satan’s path. Satan always moves us away from God’s Word, so we need to listen to the voice of Jesus in His Word!
At this communion night we are to declare our allegiance to Christ. To do so, just go back through that list of the responses God’s Word gives to Satan’s four lies, or spiritual flaws.
Make each of them an affirmation of your heart’s desire to the Lord this evening, and use this celebration to affirm, confirm, and recommit yourself to these truths.
- I WILL Trust God’s Word: Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89). God’s Word has never been proven to be in error scientifically, morally, or historically. God’s Word is the only thing that you can stake your life on! Say it with me, “I WILL trust God’s Word!”
- I WILL Rest in God’s goodness: Truly God is good … to such as are pure in heart (Psalm 73:1). God is indeed good, and He has revealed himself to be so. He always makes good decisions! He made you well; you are a beautiful work of art, created in Christ Jesus for good works (Ephesians 2:10). He made you for His glory, so never wonder why He has allowed something to happen in your life; trust His goodness and rest in that truth. Say it with me, “I WILL Rest in God’s Goodness!”
- I WILL Submit to God’s authority: … Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7). Resist Satan’s lies; resist his desire to make you rebel, and he will flee from you. Say it with me, “I WILL Submit to God’s Authority!”
- I WILL Follow God’s plan: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). As soon as we head away from the Lord to follow after our own understanding, we are heading toward Satan’s path. Satan always moves us away from God’s Word, so we need to listen to the voice of Jesus in His Word! Say it with me, “I WILL FOLLOW God’s Plan!”