Skip to content ↓

How to Know How Satan Is Tempting You

Resist the Devil

Martin Luther once compared the Christian to a drunk man trying to ride a horse. It’s a comically apt comparison. This man scrambles up one side of the horse, and promptly falls off the opposite side. So then he climbs up from that side, and falls right off the other. Luther meant to say that as Christians, we are prone to extremes. When we are not veering too far in one direction, we are swerving too far in the other.

One of the areas in which we are given to extremes is the area of Satan and his demons, and their work in this world. Some Christians are so obsessed with Satanic activity that they can hardly talk about anything else. Other Christians are so oblivious to it that they would rather not talk about it at all. Yet, as is so often the case, the Bible directs us to a much better middle ground where we are aware but not obsessed, where we are mindful of Satan’s activity but equally convinced of Christ’s victory.

The Bible does assure us that Satan is active in this world. Even though he is a defeated foe and, as Luther said, “his doom is sure,” he remains a dangerous foe. He is like a rattlesnake who, though crushed, continues to thrash in his death throes. His bite remains deadly and dripping with poison.

Satan knows how to custom-craft temptations to fit each one of us.

Satan hates God and hates anyone created in the image of God. He has made a long and intense study of humanity. He knows our strengths and weaknesses. He knows our secret desires. Satan knows how to custom-craft temptations to fit each one of us.

In his book Tempted and Tried, Russell Moore suggests a way to think about how Satan may be tempting you:

Imagine you could do anything, you could make it happen exactly as you wish, and could then go back and reverse time so that it had never happened—no consequences for your life, your work, your family, or Judgment Day. What would it be? Whatever comes to mind might be a pretty good insight into where it is your desires are being formed.

What would it be? Your answer will be different from my answer. We are unique beings, with unique desires and unique temptations. Wherever you could sin without consequence and without judgment, wherever you could fulfill an evil desire without fear of repercussion, that is exactly the kind of place Satan will tempt you. As he steers you toward sin, he will eventually convince you that you can sin without consequence. He will convince you that you can get away with it. After all, this is the lie he told Adam and Eve all along; namely, that they could sin with impunity. And while the times change, his strategies remain much the same.

Where you would sin if you could sin—that very well may be the place you will sin when you are tempted to sin.


  • Every Road and Every Sea

    Sunday Devotional: Every Road and Every Sea

    The Bible has proven its value as weaponry in the battle against spiritual foes, as a laboratory researching cures for spiritual maladies, and as a rich source of treasure in the accumulating of wisdom. It has proven itself a guide to the pathways of life and a chart to navigate the stormy seas of trial…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    Weekend A La Carte (July 13)

    A La Carte: Folly has a strategic plan to get you / The power of a health warning / Sex is not a solution to marital tension / What do you do when your suffering is your fault? / We can’t think or live Christianly / Good news for African girls / and more.

  • Free Stuff Fridays (TMAI)

    This week’s Free Stuff Fridays is sponsored by The Master’s Academy International (TMAI). They are giving away the 42-volume Essential MacArthur Library set. The Master’s Academy International (TMAI) is a worldwide network of pastoral training centers that equip indigenous church leaders to preach the word and shepherd their people. They have 19 Training Centers around…

  • The Danger and Necessity of a Passion for Church Growth

    The Danger and Necessity of a Passion for Church Growth

    Quite a long time has passed since we witnessed the unexpected rise of a new kind of Calvinism. Few had anticipated that in the twenty-first century, so many millions of people spanning a host of nations and traditions would find themselves affirming such old and controversial doctrines. Yet many did so because they were wary…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (July 12)

    A La Carte: John Piper on repetitive worship songs / Jen Wilkin says not to fear the marks in Revelation / Carl Trueman’s hope beyond politics in Europe / Bruce Ware on angels and free will / Samuel Davies’ tragic children / Book deals / and more.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (July 11)

    A La Carte: The Disney princess whose heart isn’t worth following / Words of mercy and grace when we disagree / Ten reasons why the Bible is the greatest of great books / Why balance is bad for pastors / The earliest record of Jesus’s childhood / and more.