I keep re-reading sections of J.D. Greear’s book Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary. Its loaded with great stuff, and I recommend it to everyone. It’s awesome.
This statement on how Satan tempts us is worth reflecting on. Greear looks at Satan’s attempt to tempt Jesus; coming and trying to get Jesus to think about not having food, even though He (Jesus) is the son of God, and in essence Satan asks, “what are you doing out here Jesus?” Greear then draws out some implications, which I commend to you.
Don't you think it's significant that Satan began his "A-game " by trying to get Jesus to take His eyes off the identity the Father had declared over him and to seek validation in another way? Satan's approach to us is the same. Satan's most effective weapon is to take our eyes off of what God has declared over us in the gospel.
A lot of times when we think about spiritual warfare we think of it in terms of strange, paranormal phenomena – people levitating 6 feet above their beds, their eyes rolling in the back of their heads and foaming at the mouth, singing back-masked heavy metal music.... Does Satan do stuff like that? I wouldn't put it beneath him. But I'm pretty confident that it's not his main strategy. He attacks our identity in the Gospel. Satan's one direct shot at Jesus didn't include levitation or Ouija boards; nor did he show Jesus pornographic pictures out in the wilderness. He redirected Jesus mind away from God's declaration over Him.
He goes on to look at the fact that Satan’s lies always have the ring of truth to them, and then continues,
Our enemy for example, will points correctly point out our failures. Sometimes he helps us see how badly we're doing at being a Christian by showing as someone who is much better Christian than we are…. Other times he puffs us up with pride. Either strategy is effective, because in either case we take our focus off of Christ’s gift-righteousness and put it onto ourselves. And comparison with others leads us to two of Satan's favorite sins: pride and despair. Pride leads us leads to hardness of heart towards God and hatred of others. Despair leads us to depression, fear, and indulgence in the last of the flesh. This is the cycle he loves to have a sense. Both start with unbelief of the Gospel.
When Satan takes our eyes off of the declaration spoken over us at the Gospel, we lose the security and satisfaction we have in the love and approval of our heavenly Father. The gateway is then opened up for all that the gateway is then open for all the other temptations.