The third chapter of Warren Wiersbe's book, The Strategy of Satan, summarized.
C The Ruler
Satan is described in the Bible as a ruler.
Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. (John 12:31)
We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. (1 John 5:19)
What was David's greatest sin? You might say, "Committing adultery with Bathsheba and then having her husband killed in battle." But David committed another sin that had even greater consequences.
Because of David's adultery, just a few people died including Uriah and the baby that was born. But because of David's other sin, 70,000 people died! When David confessed his sins of adultery and murder, he said, "I have sinned." But when he confessed this other sin, he said, "I have sinned greatly."
1 Satan's target – your will
Satan's goal is to control the will. David was not deceived; he had his eyes wide open when he rebelled against God. David was not suffering; in fact, his kingdom was in great shape. Had David been deceived or had he been suffering, we might have had reason to sympathize with his decision; but this was not the case. Satan attacked David's will directly and won.
Your will is important because it helps to determine your character. Decisions mould your character, and decisions chart the directions of your life. We may want to blame circumstances or feelings, or even other people; but this is only an excuse. It is our will that directs our life.
The Christian life is basically a matter of the will. The Holy Spirit wants to instruct our minds through his word, inspire our hearts with true holy emotions, and then strengthen our will to do the will of God. You grow and serve God by praying, "Your will be done."
A dedicated Christian prays whether he feels like it or not. He obeys the word of God regardless of his own feelings. He has a consistent Christian life and a steady ministry that is not threatened by changing circumstances or feelings.
For example, we are commanded to love one another. Christian love simply means that we treat others the way God treats us, and this is primarily a matter of the will as we try to do that with the Spirit's help.
Satan is "the ruler of this world," and you and I are rebellious aliens living in his territory. Because we are citizens of heaven, we obey heaven's laws and submit to heaven's Lord. Satan wants us to worship and serve him; he wants our will submitted to his will. What weapon does he use to tempt us?
2 Satan's weapon – pride
David was feeling important when Satan approached him with the suggestion that he number the people. The previous chapter records a number of great victories that appear to have inflated his ego and enticed him to rebel against God.
When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness he also tried to appeal to human pride.
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." (Matthew 4:8-9)
Pride glorifies man and robs God of the glory that only he deserves. It's a weapon that Satan wields with great skill. It's one of his chief weapons. Even in the church, if he can get a pastor proud of his preaching, or a church member proud of their experience and skills, then he has a foothold from which to launch an attack. Let's remember Peter's words:
All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. (1 Peter 5:5-6)
3 Satan's purpose – to make you independent of God's will
God made man to be dependent. We depend on God and even our fellow man just to stay alive.
The essence of sin is to seek to be independent of God. It is to make ourselves the Creator instead of his creatures. It is to believe Satan's lie: "You will be like God."
If Satan can get you to act and think independently of God's will, he can then control your will and control your life! You will think that you just are acting freely, which is part of Satan's deception, but actually you will be acting under orders from the ruler of this world. You will be under his control.
Whenever you or I act in disobedience to God's will, we are displaying pride. It might seem to be trivial and unimportant, but everything in our lives is important to God.
So how can we learn to be totally dependent on God?
4 Our defence – the indwelling Holy Spirit
Pride is such a strong weapon and Satan is such a strong adversary that only the stronger power of the indwelling Holy Spirit can make victory ours.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12-13)
Working out our salvation means to bring the Christian life to completion, to accomplish in character and conduct what God has planned for us. God has a definite plan for our lives and the challenge for us is to cooperate with him in fulfilling that plan.
Finally, remember that in the battle against Satan, the only way to conquer is to surrender – to surrender to God.
That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:6-7)