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Pay Attention to Satan’s Predictable Patterns – Rick Warren

“When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit, so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.”

2 Corinthians 2:10-11 (NLT)

You can’t defeat temptation if you don’t understand how it works.
The only good thing we can say about Satan is that he doesn’t have any new ideas. He’s used the same temptations over and over since humanity was created. The tactics he used on Adam and Eve, he’s still using today.

God had clearly told Adam and Eve they could eat from any tree in the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. When Satan tempted Eve, he asked her, “Did God really say to not eat this?” And then he said, “Go ahead and try it. You’re not going to die if you eat this! You’re going to be a god yourself.”

Satan uses that same pattern in your life every day. First, it starts with a wrong desire inside you, like envy, lust, or impatience. Or it starts with a right desire, like for food or sex or love, but with the temptation to fulfill it in the wrong way at the wrong time. Satan can take any desire and make it destructive.

Then he causes you to doubt God’s Word and whispers, “Did God really say that?” He takes the seed of your doubt and grows it into a lie he knows you are vulnerable to accepting. Behind every sin is a lie you choose to believe. Remember, Satan is crafty. He knows where in your life you are most likely to fall, and he focuses on turning your doubt into full-blown deception.

When you believe Satan’s lie, you’re saying, “I know what will make me happy more than God does.” You legitimize your wrong desire. You convince yourself it’s not that bad. And then you fall into disobedience.

The Bible says, “When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit, so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes” (2 Corinthians 2:10-11 NLT).

God doesn’t want you to be ignorant of how Satan works, because when you understand Satan’s tactics, you can see him coming with his schemes. The key is not resisting your temptations but knowing how to respond to Satan’s predictable patterns.

Talk It Over

Where in your life are you most vulnerable to temptation?
Once you know how Satan tries to work in your life, how can you set up practical defenses to help you resist him? Be as specific as possible.
How do you think God wants you to respond to Satan when he tempts you to doubt God’s Word? What Scripture can you quote back to Satan to remind you of God’s truth?

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