The first thing we need to do in relation to temptation is to learn to recognize when we are being tempted.
Hiding in the Shadows
One of Satan’s attributes is subtlety. He disguises himself so well that quite often the one being tempted is oblivious to his involvement. In other words, Satan doesn’t manifest himself to you in all of his hideousness, announcing, “I’m the devil. I’m here to lure you into a trap so I can ultimately destroy you. Now watch me work.” No. Instead he hides in the shadows. We don’t even realize that he’s there behind the scenes, pulling strings and manipulating circumstances.
He oftentimes poses as one who is greatly concerned for our welfare. Recall Eve in the Garden of Eden: Satan suggested to her that God was selfish, that He was holding back something that was good for her.
He used the same approach in the temptation of Jesus. Satan came to Him saying, “Now if You are the Son of God, You shouldn’t be starving to death out here. Is that any way for the Son of God to live? Why don’t You take these stones over here and turn them into bread? Satisfy Yourself. You deserve it. After all, You’re the Son of God.”
Just the Right Lure
Like the seasoned angler who knows just the right lure, Satan knows your areas of weakness and tempts you accordingly. He can appear as an angel of light, a damsel in distress, the solution to your financial problems, or the answer to your poor self-image. The list goes on and on. Paul referred to this attribute of Satan when writing to the Corinthians. He said:
I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:3–4
The Word of God
Though temptation is sometimes difficult to recognize, you can be sure you are being tempted whenever you are faced with a situation that could lead you to rationalize, compromise, or in any way disobey the Word of God.