Don’t Give Satan a Foothold
“'You will not certainly die,’ the serpent said to the woman.” (Genesis 3:4 NIV)
God put our first parents into a lovely garden where all their needs were met and they had the privilege of fellowshipping with him and serving him. The enemy was prepared to attack, as he always is, and from this event we can get the instructions we need to obey to defeat him.
Don’t give Satan a foothold. One of Adam’s responsibilities was to “keep” the garden (Genesis 2:15), which means to guard it. It’s the same word used in Genesis 3:24, “to guard the way to the tree of life.” It seems that Adam was not with his wife at that time, so she was an easier target for the evil one. Ephesians 4:27 warns us not to “give place to the devil,” for all he needs is a small foothold and he can begin to wage war. Even today, his servants stealthily creep in and cause trouble (2 Timothy 3:6; Jude 4). Cultivating a lustful or unkind thought can provide a foothold, and so can deliberately refusing to do God’s will.
Don’t listen to Satan’s offers. Satan is a counterfeiter and a masquerader who never reveals his true nature. He can even come as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) and lead us astray. We can tell when Satan is at work because he questions God’s Word and encourages us to deny the authority of Scripture, asking us, “Has God indeed said…?” Satan first questions the Word, then denies the Word, then substitutes his own lies. Our reply must be, “Yes, God did say, and I am going to respect it!” We must immediately turn to the Lord in prayer and seek his wisdom. He will remind us of what we have learned from the Scriptures and we can use the sword of the Spirit to defeat Satan, as Jesus did when Satan attacked him (Ephesians 6:17; Matthew 4:1-11). It’s important that we hide God’s Word in our hearts, because this will enable us to overcome him (Psalm 119:11).
Remind yourself of God’s rich blessings. A temptation is Satan’s offer to give you something he claims that God hasn’t given you. When Satan tempted Jesus, he suggested, “Your Father just said you were his beloved son. If he loves you, why are you hungry?” The warnings against temptation found in James 1:12-15 are followed by reminders that we are the recipients of God’s good and perfect gifts (vv. 16-18). A temptation is Satan’s cheap substitute for the real gifts from heaven the Father has given us. The devil wanted Jesus to transform stones into bread, but Jesus preferred the nourishing bread of life, the Word of God (Matthew 4:4).
First Timothy 2:14 reminds us that Eve was deceived by Satan, but when Adam showed up, he sinned with his eyes wide open because he wanted to remain with his wife. It was his deliberate disobedience that plunged the human race into sin and judgment (Romans 5:12-21). It was our Lord’s obedience and death on the cross that saved us from condemnation and made us the children of God.
-Warren Wiersbe (excerpted from the devotional book Old Testament Words for Today)
Read Genesis 3:1-7.