One of the reasons we struggle so much with temptation is that temptations are sneaky and deceptive. Jesus described the devil as “the father of lies,” and he certainly lives up to that description when he tempts us. I see this dynamic in the Bible’s account of the first sin, and I experience this dynamic whenever I struggle with temptation. The devil makes promises he cannot deliver on—and which he actually has no interest in fulfilling.
He told Adam and Eve that if they ate of the fruit which God had forbidden them to eat, it would open their eyes and make them like God. But he deceived them. Their eyes were opened only to the extent that when they looked on each other now they felt a shame which they had not experienced before. And rather than becoming like God, they lost the joy and intimacy they had experienced with God before their sin.
In my own experience, I find the devil often promising me that if I follow his lead he will make me happy or successful or loved or whatever. But he has no real interest in me or my happiness or my success or my love life or anything else except for pulling me down the wrong path.
Satan’s strategies remind me of a story Jim DeCamp shared:
“In February of 1991, I attended the memorial service for a soldier killed in action in Desert Storm. I’ll call him Mike….
“Mike and his driver had become disoriented in the desert, and desperately needed to find friendly lines. They came upon a truck filled with civilians who pointed north (toward Iraq). What Mike and his driver did not know was that the people giving directions were Iraqi soldiers dressed in civilian clothes. Minutes later, Mike and his driver approached a suspicious-looking road block. His last words were, ‘Let’s get outta Dodge!’
“His driver wheeled their vehicle around, only to meet the truck speeding north toward them. The hail of bullets miraculously missed the driver, who managed to stay on the road and make it to a French Army hospital. When they arrived, Mike was dead.
“Mike asked the right thing: Which way should I go? His problem was that he looked in the wrong place for the answer. It wasn’t enough that Mike asked a legitimate question, nor that the response was convincing. The answer he got was a lie, and it cost him—and his family—his life.”
Temptations come at us filled with lies. One of the things we need to do in our battles with temptation is to pull aside the devil’s lies and focus on the truth. One key truth to consider is this: The devil has no love for you and no concern for your welfare, but Jesus loves you so much that He gave His very life for you. Which one do you think will lead you better? Which one can you trust?