The Three Attacks

The apostles very seldom mention the direct attack of Satan against human beings. There are a few instances of it, but after our Lord physically left the world there seems to be a diminution, a dying down of the evidences of demonic activity. 

By far, the majority of the attacks of the devil against Christians are not direct but indirect. That is why they are called the wiles of the devil. Wiliness means deviousness, circuitry, something not obvious.

The apostle John tells us in 1 John 2:16 about these three gates which Satan seeks to enter by his attacks and temptations to individuals. Lust is sexual activity outside the bonds and bounds of legal marriage. This includes fornication (sexual intercourse between two persons who are not married), adultery (sexual intercourse when one or both parties are married to someone else), homosexuality, incest, bestiality (sex activities between humans and animals), and child molestation.

Lust of the Flesh.

Man is possessed by a nature that is characterized by its fleshliness: its appetite, desires, cravings and passions. Satan appeals to those desires of the flesh. With Eve, she saw the forbidden fruit was good for food. When Satan tempted the Lord Jesus, his first proposal was that he turn stones into bread to satisfy his hunger.

La tentation de St Antoine by David Teniers II

Lust of the Eye.

The second sphere which characterizes the nature of man is indicated by the phrase “the lust of the eye.” Satan appeals to the sense of seeing and awakens desires through the eye. What we see we desire and covet, and then we attempt to obtain it for ourselves. Man is basically covetous or selfish by nature and Satan seeks to lead one way in temptations through the lust of the eye. Satan took Jesus up into the high mountain and offered the power and glory of them to him if he would worship him.In the case of Eve, she saw the forbidden tree and fruit was pleasant to the eyes.

Lust of the Pride of Life.

The third gate through which Satan seeks to enter into the life of an individual is the realm designated as “the pride of life.” Pride is characteristic of human nature. Man is basically proud and there are sins that appeal to pride. The fallen nature loves and strives for that which promotes, elevates and pleases the individual. Eve in the garden saw that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, of which they were forbidden to eat, was “a tree to be desired to make one wise.” The appeal of Satan was to all three lusts and then she took and ate of the forbidden fruit in transgression against the commandment of God (Gen. 3:6).