The enemy is trying to get you to pay a price for something that you can have (or already have) for free. The Bible gives us many verses that describe the nature of our enemy and we have a few passages where the enemy actually dialogues with man. Being aware of his tactics (and of course sensitive to Holy Spirit) gives us the upper hand in stopping his traps long before they have the opportunity to harm us. As a coach I learned the importance of scouting. The week before a game, I would make sure that we learned everything we could about the other team. I knew who their high scorer was, what type of defense they played, what type of offense they played, were they a fast paced team or a set offense team, who was likely to foul, etc. The more information I could gather about them the better. My main priority was always to help my girls improve their skills and play together as a team, but making them aware of the tactics of their enemy always enhanced the chances of victory. Now I understand that we don't focus on our enemy, but we're also instructed not to be ignorant of his schemes. Just like with my team. It's not our focus, but it is a tool.
The first interaction with man and satan is found in the garden. We see the serpent come to Eve first and ask her a question. Eve's response is a whole topic on its own. Notice Eve actually adds her own words to God's commands when she says, "neither shall you touch it". Isn't it interesting that Eve sinned right there, but it didn't cause the fall? Okay not the point at all, there is so much in that passage that I could write a whole blog about, but let's stay on point! The serpent responds to Eve and says this, "God knows that when you eat of it (the tree) your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God..." The enemy is trying to convince Eve to eat of the tree, so that she can become like God. Now the problem with that is... EVE WAS ALREADY LIKE GOD! "Then God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness..." (Genesis 1:26) The enemy was bribing Eve with something she already had in her possession!
Let's take a look at satan's interaction with Jesus. First temptation. "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread" Second temptation. "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, He will command his angels concerning you. and On their hands they will bear you up lest you strike your foot against a stone." Third temptation. "The devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, all these things I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me."
First off in each temptation satan challenges Jesus' identity, just as he did with Eve. He knew that unlike with Eve, Jesus would not believe the lie that He wasn't "like God", so instead the enemy tried to see if when His identity was challenged, Jesus would use His power to prove Himself. (Jesus never felt the need to explain or prove Himself, but that's a topic for another time) Behind every temptation is a threat to our identity. We are sons and daughters of the most high God and we have so much more in our possession than we even realize. If the enemy can get us to doubt our identity then he can get us to think we have to pay for or earn things we already have.
We also see that satan tempted Jesus in ways that man is still tempted today. The temptation to make fleshly desires a priority over Spiritual pursuits. The desire to do great things. The desire to be fulfilled. The desire to be an owner and ruler over things. (For more information on things like this check out Mike Bickles 7 longings of the human heart)
At this point, Jesus had a choice to use His God endowed power for selfish gain. There is no doubt Jesus could turn the stones to bread, and that he was hungry, but had he done it, then He would have sinned the same way Adam and Eve did. What caused the fall was not simply sinning (if so, then the fall would have occurred when Eve lied) the fall occurred when they switched masters and obeyed the enemy.
In the first temptation we know that Jesus had access to heavenly provision. The Word says that man doesn't need to worry about what he will eat or drink because our heavenly Father will provide for us (Matthew 6:31). In the second temptation we know that Jesus had access to heavenly protection. The word says that He will keep us from all harm, He will watch over our lives. (Ps. 121:7). In the last temptation we know that Jesus was already the ruler of all the nations and had dominion over the earth (47:8; 22:8).
The enemy has nothing to offer you but counterfeits to what God has already provided for you as a child. When he comes to tempt you, he is trying to make you pay for something that God has already freely given. Jesus came and rewrote the story of the garden. Jesus defeated the enemy in the wilderness to give us a demonstration of how to defeat the enemy in our own lives, then He died on the cross and resurrected to give us the very POWER of the Godhead on the inside of us (PRECIOUS HOLY SPIRIT)!
BE AWARE OF THE ENEMY'S ATTEMPTS TO DECEIVE YOU! Do not be ignorant of his tactics! But of course always keep your focus on the fact that when our eyes are fixed on Jesus we don't ever have to question our identity as a child of God! We have a good, good Father.
Be Blessed, J. Tate