To get an idea of how Satan works, let’s look at a few instances where he misled people.  We can start in the beginning, in the Garden of Eden.  Genesis 3:1-5 says, “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, YEA, HATH GOD SAID, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, YE SHALL NOT SURELY DIE: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” 

The first thing we notice is that Satan questioned the words of God to Eve.  “Did God really say that?”  This made Eve question the Lord’s command.  Afterwards, Satan completely disputed God’s words.  The Lord had said in Genesis 2:17, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof THOU SHALT SURELY DIE.” Satan said to Eve, “YE SHALL NOT SURELY DIE.”  In essence, he questioned the Lord’s truthfulness.  He also questioned the Lord’s love and His good intentions towards Adam and Eve.  He caused Eve to think that the Lord was holding back a wonderful blessing from them.  How subtle Satan is.  He causes us to doubt God’s Word and then he blatantly calls God a liar.  He knows that doubt leads to unbelief.  The Apostle Paul knew the danger of Satan’s subtlety and proclaimed in 2 Corinthians 11:3, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

Satan is able to tempt married couples when their intimate lives are interrupted.  1 Corinthians 7:5 tells us, “Do not deprive each other [of marital rights], except perhaps by mutual consent for a time, so that you may devote yourselves [unhindered] to prayer, but come together again so that Satan will not tempt you [to sin] because of your lack of self-control.” (AMP).  To put off having sex so that you might spend your time dedicated to prayer should be a mutual decision between man and wife.  Even then, this time of celibacy should not be a long time because Satan will tempt you when self-control becomes a problem. 

Acts 5:1-4 says, “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.”  Because of the greed that was in the hearts of Ananias and Sapphira, Satan was able to tempt them to lie to the Holy Ghost…to lie to God.  Greed itself can be very subtle.  Often, we do not even realize how we delight in riches and long for more.  1 Timothy 6:8 tells us, “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”  When we learn to be content, greed will not control us.

We read in 1 Thessalonians 3:4-5, “For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know. For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.”  Paul was concerned for the well being of the saints in Thessalonica.  They had been going through tribulation and in their time of weakness through tribulation, there was a chance that Satan, the tempter, would be able to cause them to doubt the Lord’s love and power.

So, we can see that Satan tries to tempt us when we are weak and away from the Lord.  He appeals to our physical needs, our lack of faith, and our discouragement.  However, we are not a defeated people.  We can overcome the wiles of the devil.  1 John 4:4 assures us that, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because GREATER IS HE THAT IS IN YOU, THAN HE THAT IS IN THE WORLD.”  As believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, Christ dwells in us.  He is so much greater than the one who is in the world…Satan.  Following Christ, we have the ability to resist Satan’s temptations and live a victorious life for the Lord.  (383.2)