Warren W. Wiersbe, 1979
“The Christian life is a battleground and not a playground.”
This seems to be the thesis of this book, the first book I have read on how Satan works (perhaps I should have read one sooner?). In The Strategy of Satan, Wiersbe, a Bible teacher and former pastor who passed away in 2019, focuses on the four people in the Old Testament who had a “direct confrontation with Satan.” The first four chapters of the book detail what we can learn from each of these encounters; the remaining six chapters look at specific areas of our fight against Satan (the armor of God, how Satan works in the church and in the home, etc.).
I found the look at the four encounters revelatory — that’s the right word — and what we can learn from each concrete and easy to grasp. This short book (mass market-sized and 176 pages) is overflowing with Scripture, so much so that Scripture is actually its foundation (instead of the author’s stories or opinions). In this 4-part series of posts, I’m going to stick with the four points Wiersbe makes about each encounter: Satan’s target, Satan’s weapon, Satan’s purpose and our defense.
Because there’s so much to share, I’m going to write one post for each encounter. Please note that these posts are not reviews, but rather summaries of what I learned.
Here we go!
Satan as Deceiver
In Genesis 3, Satan, in the form of a serpent, approaches Eve with a lie:
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
1 SATAN’S TARGET: YOUR MIND
But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:3
Most important point: If Satan can get you to believe a lie, then he can begin to work in your life to lead you into sin.
2 SATAN’S WEAPON: LIES
…the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world… Revelation 12:9
…there is no truth in him…for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44
The steps Satan took in getting Eve to believe his lie:
- He questioned God’s Word: “Indeed, has God said…?”
- He denied God’s Word: “You surely shall not die!”
- He substituted his own lie: “You will be like God!”
Most important point: “You will be like God” is the one gigantic lie that has controlled civilization since the fall of man.
How Eve responded to Satan:
- She took away from God’s Word: In Genesis 2:16, God told Adam “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely.” Eve omitted the word “freely” in verse 2.
- She added to God’s Word by including “or touch it” in God’s original command (verse 3).
- She changed God’s Word from “For in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die” in Genesis 2:17 to “lest you die” (verse 3). * “lest you die” is from the KJV
3 SATAN’S PURPOSE: TO MAKE YOU IGNORANT OF GOD’S WILL
Most important point: Satan attacks God’s Word because God’s Word reveals God’s will.
Thy Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105
I delight to do Thy will, O my God; Thy law is within my heart. Psalm 40:8
4 YOUR DEFENSE: THE INSPIRED WORD OF GOD
Most important point: It was this weapon that our Lord used when he was tempted by Satan in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11).
Wiersbe gives us 4 instructions concerning God’s Word:
- We must know God’s Word.
- We must memorize God’s Word. (Psalm 119:111; Psalm 37:31; Psalm 40:8)
- We must meditate on God’s Word. (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2)
- We must use God’s Word. (John 14:26)
Finally, Wiersbe provides a list of 10 questions to ask ourselves:
- Do I spend time daily reading God’s Word and meditating on it?
- Do I systematically seek to memorize Scripture?
- Do I find myself automatically “thinking Bible” when I am tempted or when I face decisions, or must I call my Christian friends to get spiritual guidance?
- Do I find myself better able to detect Satan’s lies?
- Are there any lies in my mind right now that I am believing?
- Do I know God’s will for my life? Do I really want to know?
- Am I delighting in God’s will and doing it from my heart?
- Am I guilty of telling lies? Why do I do it?
- Am I willing to take as true everything God’s Word says about everything in my life? Or do I occasionally ask, “Has God really said that?” Do I argue with God’s Word?
- Is the word of God becoming more wonderful to me? Do I enjoy it more than the natural pleasures of life, including eating and sleeping?
I hope this is helpful to you as you equip yourself to stand against Satan’s lies. Part 2 is coming soon.