The Evil Ones Tactics



Part I:

Satan will tempt you. His temptations will always take one of three forms:

1) An appeal to physical desire
2) An appeal to pride
3) An appeal to a desire for

Satan used these three tactics in the Garden, in the desert (below), on the cross, and throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry.

Matthew 4:1-11:

1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:
‘ He shall give His angels charge over you,’
‘ In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’”
8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”
10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”
11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

In the desert, the evil one first tempts Jesus with food. After 40 days and 40 nights, Jesus was hungry. Satan appealed to His greatest physical desire.

Next, he appealed to Jesus’ pride. Jesus was to humble Himself to the point death on the cross. If Jesus had jumped off of the temple mount, much of Jerusalem would have seen it. Had He jumped down safely, He would have been immediately revealed Himself as the Son of God.

Satan appealed to Jesus’ pride, tempting Him to reveal Himself as the Son of God according to his will instead of the Fathers.

Finally, Satan offered Jesus power. He did this by offering Him rule over the kingdoms of the world.

Jesus had a mission that needed to end on the cross. Satan tried to alter Jesus’ path by offering three tempting alternatives.

Satan will tempt you in one of three ways: i) physical desire, ii) pride and iii) power.

Many people conquer their physical desires, and then fall to pride. Many conquer their physical desire & pride, but then fall to the lure of power.

The more you learn to recognize the temptations/attacks, the more successful you will be in overcoming them.



Part II:

Last week we examined the three tactics the evil one uses against us. They are: an appeal to our physical desire, our pride, and a desire for power


The Lord gives us the appropriate response strategy for each tactic:



38 "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.'

39But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

40And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.

41And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.


First notice in vs. 39 Jesus refers to ‘the one who is evil’. He is speaking of Satan (the evil one). The wisdom of the time was an ‘eye for an eye’. An ‘eye for an eye’ results in falling to the evil ones temptation. The correct strategy is to ‘not resist the evil one’. 


This may seem like an illogical tactic, however the Lord explains this tactic with some examples:


If anyone slaps your cheek, turn to him your other

What is a slap? A slap is a physical attack, but its primary purpose is not physical harm.  A slap is really a sign of disrespect. It is an attack on ones pride.


The evil one will appeal to your pride. If you retaliate against an attack on your pride, you are in fact falling to that attack. You fall to pride. To defeat this attack, you must deny your pride. When someone attacks your pride, show them it doesn’t bother you. Turn your other cheek.


If anyone takes your tunic, let him have your cloak

Clothing is a physical item. If we retaliate we fall to the temptation of physical desire.


A tunic is an under garment (like underwear).  A cloak is worn over the tunic. By taking a tunic (hidden by the cloak), the evil one is concealing his attack.


If you retaliate, your actions will be seen. You will look like the at fault party. The original attack remains concealed.


By offering your cloak, you are exposing the fact that he took your tunic. You are exposing the evil ones attack. Satan does not like it when his attacks are revealed. Exposing the attack greatly diminishes his effectiveness.


If anyone forces you one mile, go with him two

Note the word ‘force’. This is an appeal to the desire for power. By opposing someone's force, you are tricked into exerting your own force. You are falling to the temptation of power.


By willingly going two miles, you resist the temptation of power.



The evil one will attempt to knock you off your path by tempting you in one of three ways: a physical temptation, and appeal to your pride, and appeal to power.


Do not resist the evil one. Do not fall to his hidden temptations. Expose him!



Part III:

In the last two studies we looked at Satan’s tactics for temptation. He always uses one of these three tactics to tempt you off of your path: an appeal to our physical desire, our pride, and a desire for power

When Jesus started His earthly ministry, He was immediately led to the desert by the Spirit. There, the evil one used these three tactics to lure Jesus off His path. We saw this in the first study on this topic (Part I).

Now we will jump to the end of Jesus’ ministry, where the evil one again tempts Him with these three tactics:

Matthew 27:33-42
33 And when they came to a place called Golgotha, which means Place of a Skull, 34 they gave Him wine to drink mixed with gall; and after tasting it, He was unwilling to drink.
35 And when they had crucified Him, they divided up His garments among themselves by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they began to keep watch over Him there. 37 And above His head they put up the charge against Him which read, “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
38 At that time two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. 39 And those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, 42 “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him.

First, Jesus is offered wine mixed with gall. Jesus was in a tremendous amount of pain. He had been beaten and forced to wear a crown of thorns. In the desert temptation, Jesus was offered the food he physically craved. Here He was offered relief from pain. Gall was a type of anesthetic, meant to reduce physical pain.

Then the crowd appealed to His pride. They mocked Him and put a sign above His head. They said to Him ‘If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.’ An exact parallel to Satan’s tempting in the desert ‘If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down’. The crowd asked Him to prove Himself in an appealed to His pride.

Lastly, the evil ones final attempt: An offer of power. “Let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him”. By offering to believe Him, The Chief priest offered Him the Throne of Israel if He came down. In this final temptation Satan appealed to a desire for power, just as he did in desert.

Matthew highlights the evil ones tactics (physical desire, pride, and power) both at the start of Jesus’ ministry (in the desert), and the end (on the cross).

The evil one constantly uses these three tactics against you. The more you learn to recognize these attacks, the less effective they become.



Part IV:

This will be the final study (for now) on the evil ones tactics. We have been examining how the evil one uses our physical desire, our pride and our desire for power to tempt us off of our path.

We showed how Satan used these three tactics against Jesus at the start of His earthly ministry in the desert, and then again at the end of His ministry on the cross. The evil one used these tactics throughout Jesus' ministry as well.

Here are some more examples:

Matthew 12:38-40

38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” 39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; 40 for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Jesus often referred to the Pharisees and Sadducees as a ‘brood of vipers’ (12:34). A brood is a term meaning offspring. A viper is a snake. Jesus was calling the Pharisees and Sadducees 'children of snakes', further so, 'children of the evil one'.

Children do what their fathers do. The evil one tempted Jesus with pride in the desert and on the cross. In the above passage the Pharisees and Sadducees also tempt Jesus with pride.

Jesus had already performed many signs and miracles. He healed the sick, cast out demons and even raised the dead. There was already plenty of evidence that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. The Pharisees and Sadducees knew this evidence revealed Him as Messiah. They were not truly confused about His identity. The Messiah was a threat to them. Their position as religious leaders were threaten. Their pride, power and wealth were threatened.

If they could get Jesus to sin (fall to His pride), they could eliminate this threat.

When they asked Jesus for a sign, they were purposefully doing the exact same thing their father (the evil one) did in the desert (If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. Matt 4:5). They tried to get Jesus (the Messiah and God) to sin. 

Matthew 16:1-4

 1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ 3 And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times? 4 An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.”

Here again, the Pharisees and Sadducees tempt Jesus with pride. If you recall from the study discussing how to respond to the evil ones attacks, the proper response to an attack on pride is to turn the other cheek.

In both of these examples, Jesus replies that they will receive the sign of Jonah. This is a reference to the crucifixion. In both these instances Jesus resists the attack on His pride and indicates that His response will be to humble Himself to the point where He lets them kill Him.

The Pharisees attack His pride (they slap His right cheek), He responds by letting them crucify Him (He turns His left cheek).



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