Spiritual Warfare

Satan’s Tricks – How to Identify and Protect Against Them

Updated June 24, 2023

One way Christians can fight against Satan’s tricks – is through spiritual warfare. By studying passages in both the Old and New Testaments, we can learn how to identify and protect against Satan’s tricks in everyday life.

Once when our family was vacationing in Key West, I decided to splurge on a shark excursion. Aboard the boat, I was delighted by the sea air and thrilled to see something up close that I had previously only seen on TV.

The crew poured ripped fish into the water and explained that the blood would draw the sharks near to the boat. Immediately, the sharks appeared behind the bow and feasted on the fish. We took pictures, fascinated to be near something so dangerous.

Satan deceives believers through false apostles (2 Cor. 11:13–15). His tricks can subtly lead believers down heretical paths that erode their faith in Christ.

At the time, we were living in Mexico, and my experience with dangerous animals was limited to the stray dogs in our neighborhood.

Satan’s Tricks to Mislead Christians

I would carry rocks in my hand when I went running and preemptively throw them when I felt threatened. It made me feel powerful to know I was sending the message don’t mess with me, dogs, even if they were already planning on letting me run by. 

Watching the sharks devour the bloody fish, a thought entered my mind. This must be what the Smith family feels like. We loved the Smiths, who I imagined felt just like those fish.

This is how the Enemy works. He is drawn to blood. When he sees a body breaking down, he doubles down and attacks the marriage or the mind. He doesn’t leave us alone when we are bleeding, off to attack something healthy. Instead, he sees a chance for possible total destruction. Injury— whether physical, relational, emotional, or spiritual—attracts him. 

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Ways Satan Distracts Christians from Spiritual Growth

While some Christians choose to ignore Satan, he never ignores us. If we’ll keep our eyes open for him, we’ll become more comfortable wading into the dark and turning on the light.

Satan uses many tricks—the same ones over and over again. In fact, by recognizing those 10 main tricks you can protect yourself against them

Satan uses the same tricks over and over and over again. There are no original stories. He uses sex, money, pride.

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Ways Satan Divides Churches

Faith brings people together. So do rivalries, for that matter. We’re tribal by nature. One way Satan tries to pull us apart is by getting us to fight with one another.

He uses deceit, selfishness, and anxiety. We can read throughout both Testaments’ stories of everyday people who didn’t understand the deception they were under. The combination of their own weakness (within), the world (around), and the Devil (nearby) creates havoc and derails God’s plans for our lives.

If we’ll keep our eyes open for Satan, we’ll become more comfortable wading into the dark and turning on the light. He is counting on us being scared of the dark or being afraid that in some way another person’s pain is contagious, so we don’t linger.

I get most tired or discouraged when I think it’s up to me to save someone or something. I’ve made this rookie mistake more times than I want to recount.

I was certain if I didn’t do something, all would be lost. I now know better: there is only one shelter to rest under, and there is only one Savior who died on a cross. Anything I offer, I do so as His ambassador. He does the prompting, calling, empowering, rescuing, and saving. 

 Ways Satan Tempts Christians With Sin

Ways Satan Tempts Christians With Sin

Jesus forgives, directs, and comforts. He provides answers, He convicts. This is all His job. I can step into a role that isn’t mine far too easily, especially when someone willingly puts me there. But I won’t do it again; the consequences are grave.

Hard stories should draw us to Jesus, not to man. We are at our best when we continually reinforce this truth. I can want to give someone something or meet a need only God can, but doing so ends up making the story messier.

Whether I am frustrated with a chapter of a story I’m invested in or unhappy with the timing of something, I have no choice but to rest in the truth that He is sovereign. It’s the evidence of a powerful faith: trust Him and His timing. If He allowed it, He has a purpose for it.

If something or someone isn’t moving on our timetable, we can trust God, who has a better perspective; He is working on what we cannot see. The peace I crave sits on top of this truth: He is in control. 

Satan’s Tricks to Keep People In Bondage to Temptation

The Bible tells us that Satan prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). He lurks waiting for an opportunity. Although God gave Satan limited power, Satan still has some influence over people (Job 1:12-19; 2:4; Rev. 20:2). Often it seems that some temptations come out of nowhere.

Witnessing the struggles of our friends the Smiths was the first time I remember being wary of putting on my spiritual armor and waiting for the Devil to attack, hoping the belt or the helmet was in place. Why did he get to go first?

What would a counterattack look like? What kind of repellent is out there, or what first punch could I throw that would scare the sharks away as my rock-throwing did for the dogs? 

We Can Fight Against His Deception

God has given us power as His kids and tools to be equipped in this fight. We have not been left alone.

About Author

Beth Guckenberger is the Co-Executive Director of Back2Back Ministries and founder of the Reckless Faith Movement. Beth and Todd have a large family they’ve formed through biological, foster, and adoptive children. She is an author and speaker, sharing her experience as a mother, a missionary, and a student of God’s Word.