During my 15 years in the Christian ministry, I have been frequently asked questions about the temptations we face and whether or not it is Satan who tempts us. Some people attribute temptations to the desire for worldly pleasures, while others see them as the handiwork of the devil. To gain a better understanding, I usually turn to the Bible. So, does Satan tempt us?
Genesis 3:1-4 implies that, indeed, Satan tempts us. The serpent approached the woman in the garden and lured her into eating a fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden. The Bible further suggests Satan’s part in our temptations through the story of Jesus. Matthew 4:1 implies that Jesus was led to the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
In this article, I will look into the role Satan plays in our temptations, whether or not he gets permission from God, and ways in which we can overcome the temptations. Read along to get information on these and more questions.
Where in the Bible does it say Satan tempts us?
James 4:7, Ephesians 4:27, 1 Peter 5:8, Genesis 3:1-6, and Matthew 4:1 are but a few Bible verses that suggest that Satan tempts us. Based on these verses, Satan is a tempter who fills people’s hearts with lies, and he prowls around seeking whom he may devour. 1 John 2:16 mentions three categories under which temptations fall; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. These are what Satan appeals to in the instances that he tempts people in the Bible.
When he tempted Eve, he appealed to the desires of the flesh. The Bible implies that he convinced her that the forbidden fruit was not only good for food but could also make one wise. He did the same in the case of Jesus, as he tried to convince him to turn stone into bread since he had the power to do so. Hunger is a lust of the flesh, and even now, Satan uses the same means to tempt us.
Does the devil need God’s permission before tempting us?
The Bible does not directly imply that the devil always needs permission from God before tempting us if he so wishes. However, the Bible does point out a time, in Job 1:6, when Satan appeared before God, as did other angels, and asked for permission to tempt Job. However, Satan asks a question that reveals the circumstances. Satan recognizes that God is protecting Job, so he asks him if he hasn’t put a hedge around Job and his family. A similar instance is in Luke 22:31, where Jesus tells Simon that Satan had asked to sift him like wheat. This text also implies that Satan asked for permission to test Peter.
So, does Satan ask for permission from God only when he runs into obstacles when trying to tempt His children, or does he do so no matter the circumstance? What we know is, God, loves and cares for us so much that we need to believe that His protection surrounds us at all times. Therefore, it is only reasonable to assume that the devil has to ask permission from God before tempting us.
Why does the devil tempt us?
According to Matthew 18:7, Satan tempts us so that we can fall into sin. Satan is desperate to take everyone down with him. His goal is to lure as many people as possible into sin because he knows that the time of reckoning is near. 1 Corinthians 10:13 suggests that God allows Satan to tempt us, but he uses it as an opportunity to have us grow in faith and not submit to the desires of the flesh (Matthew 26:14). It is human nature to fall short. However, through constant temptation, we are reminded to repent and turn back to God.
Ways the devil tempts us
According to 1 John 2:16, the devil appeals to the desires of the flesh, the eyes, and the pride of life. This could happen in several ways. First, he lies to us about what will make us happy, as he did with Eve in the Garden of Eden. He told Eve that she would be like God if she ate from the tree in the middle of the garden. In the same story, he intended to stir up division between God and humans. To appeal to the pride of life, he lies to us about what freedom is and tempts us to hold transgressions against each other, as implied in 2 Corinthians 10-11.
Luke 4:8 suggests how Satan appeals to the lust of the eyes. When he showed Jesus the kingdoms of the world and promised them to him, he was trying to sway him with his vision. Satan’s greatest way of tempting us is through deception, as suggested in 2 Corinthians 11:3.
Ways to Overcome Satan’s Temptations
The one sure way to overcome temptation is to abide by God’s teachings. This is according to 1 Corinthians 10:13. The verse implies that God will not let us be tempted beyond our abilities. Instead, with the temptation, he will also provide a way to escape. We already know Satan’s schemes, he disguises himself as an angel of light and manipulates us into thinking what is evil is right. Ephesians 6:16 encourages us to take up the armor of God to help us overcome Satan’s temptations.
How do you know it is Satan’s temptation or your desire?
According to Billy Graham of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, we don’t always know when Satan is tempting us. Matthew 4:3 defines Satan as the tempter because he is the source of all temptations. The devil succeeds in tempting us because he exploits our weaknesses, and we let him. James 1:14 implies that temptation comes when we are lured by our desires. This means Satan uses our desires to tempt us, and our desires alone aren’t the reason why we fall astray.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.