One of Satan’s favourite schemes is getting us to use legitimate things in an illegitimate way. During the wilderness temptation, he tried to take advantage of Christ’s hunger by saying, ‘Tell these stones to become bread.’ (Matthew 4:3 NIV) But Jesus knew the Scriptures, so He replied, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”’ (Matthew 4:4 NKJV)
Had Jesus given in to His human impulses, He would have gone along with Satan’s scheme and forfeited His heavenly Father’s supply that was just about to arrive. We all need money, but Satan will tempt you to cheat on your taxes, short-change your customers, cut corners on the job, or withhold your donation. We have all been created with the need for companionship and sexual fulfilment. But Satan will tempt you to fulfil those needs by having an affair or trapping you into online pornography. We all long to be successful in our career. But Satan will tempt you to achieve it through lying, manipulating, or blowing someone else’s light out in order to let yours shine.
One of his oldest schemes is to confuse our values so that good appears to be evil, and evil appears as good. So what’s the answer? Paul says, ‘Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.’ (Ephesians 6:11 NIV) There is only one way to unmask Satan and defeat his schemes, and that’s through a close walk with God, a daily study of the Scriptures, and a consistent prayer life. That’s how you guard your mind, your mouth, and your morals.