Fighting against sin is hard and discouraging. The serpent is subtle and crafty. The devil is deceitful and well-practiced. We are weak and prone to wander. But I wonder if in all the centuries of his slimy temptations, he has not grown somewhat predictable. I don’t mean to underestimate him, but if we understand his strategies, we might be better able to resist him when he slithers our way.
The Fall in Genesis 3 reveals one of his common attack patterns. I call them the Deadly D’s of Destruction:
1: Doubt. The serpent wanted Eve to doubt God’s word, so he says to her: “Did God actually say…” (Gen 3:1). I think that is the start of many sins: Is God really good? Will He really care if I bend the rules a little? Did He really say I couldn’t [fill in the blank with whatever sin you justify]? Did He really mean it?
2: Denial. The devil flat out denies what God clearly stated (Gen 2:17) when he says, “You will not surely die” (Gen 3:4), in essence calling God a liar – an ironic statement from the father of lies. We do this too: It’s just a white lie. No one will know. There are no consequences. I’m in control.
3: Dangerous Delights/Desires (Gen 3:5-6). Satan tempts Eve with the promise that she would be like God. Forgetting that she was already like God, created in His image, she considers his temptation. She saw that the tree was good for food, that it was a delight to the eyes, and desired to make one wise. Isn’t that the case with all sin? It looks good, feels good. The truth is we sin because we want to – it gratifies our flesh. So, Eve (and all who yield to sin) chooses the temporary pleasures of sin.
4. Disobedience. Eve is deceived and takes the forbidden fruit, eats it, and shares it (Gen 3:6). Was it worth it? Is it ever?
5. Dread (Gen 3:7-10). I imagine the fruit tasted delicious but the satisfaction is short lived. The destructive effects of disobedience have already begun and Adam and Eve hide themselves, afraid of the God who walked among them. Relationship with God (and each other) is broken.
6. Death. Adam and Eve are cast out of Eden and the wages of their sin is indeed, as God had said, death. This is the case with all sin. Recognize its pattern. We will be tempted to doubt God’s Word and to deny His Truth. And if/when we disobey, destruction will follow – relationally, physically, mentally, spiritually.
But God’s love is unthwartable. God offers hope in this promise: the offspring of the woman would crush the head of the serpent (Gen 3:15). While Adam and Eve lost the privilege of God walking in the garden, He would once again walk on earth to restore what they had lost. The very Word through which creation was made became flesh (John 1).
The true and better Adam was tempted in the wilderness (see Matt 4:1-11). Satan once again questions what is true and appeals to desire; he even misuses Scripture as a temptation tactic. But all three times, Jesus defeats him with the word, “It is written” before quoting Scripture. Don’t miss it – Satan will always try to get us to doubt or deny God’s Word – he may even quote Scripture! That is why it is absolutely important for us to know the truth. You must know Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). You must know His sanctifying Word, for if you abide in His Word, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:31-32).
So, watch out for the deadly D’s of destruction – the temptations to doubt, deny, and disobey truth will only lead to disappointment and death. Keep your eyes on Jesus, laying aside the sin that clings so closely (Heb 12:1-3). Resist the devil. Know the Word of God and the God of the Word, and trust Him, even if you must pray “I believe; help my unbelief.”
Remember, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor 10:13). Our real victory lies in Jesus Christ who has succeeded in every point that Adam (and all humanity) failed. “[We] do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:15-16).
Draw near to Him who lived the perfect, sinless life we could not. Draw near to Him who died in our place, and who rose from the dead and sits at the right hand of God, interceding for us. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you. And perhaps for today, draw near with a song:
When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look, and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin
Because a sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God, the Just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
About the Author
Anna Garas is a high school science and English teacher. She is currently working towards getting her counselling qualifications. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, telling them funny stories or having deep conversations. She loves adventures, especially in beautiful places. In terms of ministry, she has a passion for youth and missions, waiting for the day when there are no more unreached people groups; she also longs to see the abolition of human trafficking.