I am presently reading “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices” by Thomas Brooks. To put the title into today’s language it would be, “Proven Protections Against Satan’s Temptations.” This was first published in 1652. That means his use of the English language is a little different from ours. But the nuggets of gold are still there to be mined and cherished…
Currently I am in a section designed to help expose the manner and method of Satan’s temptations. As part of this exercise, I am trying to contemplate what my propensities are toward sin. With that in mind consider the following for yourself…
Whatever sin the heart of man is most prone to, that the devil will help forward. If David be proud of his people, Satan will provoke him to number them, that he may be yet prouder (2 Sam 24).
If Peter be slavishly fearful, Satan will put upon him rebuking and denying of Christ, to save his own skin (Mt 16:22; 26:69-75). If Ahab’s prophets be given to flatter, the devil will straightway become a lying spirit in the mouth of four hundred of them, and they shall flatter Ahab to his ruin (1 Kings 22). If Judas will be a traitor, Satan will quickly enter into his heart, and make him sell his master for money, which some heathens would never have done (Jn 13:2). If Ananias will lie for advantage, Satan will fill his heart that he may lie, with a witness, to the Holy Ghost (Acts 5:3).
Satan loves to sail with the wind, and to suit men’s temptations to their conditions and inclinations. If they be in prosperity, he will tempt them to deny God (Pr 30:9). If they be in adversity, he will tempt them to distrust God; if their knowledge be weak, he will tempt them to have low thoughts about God; if their conscious be tender, he will tempt to scrupulosity (Hard nosed); if large, to carnal security; if bold spirited, he will tempt to presumption; if timorous (timid), to desperation; if flexible, to inconstancy (fickle); if stiff, to impenitency (Unapologetic).
Questions I’m Contemplating…
What weakness am I most given to?
What do I seem to battle against the most?
Is there an area where I think I am invincible?
Is there an area I’ve previously gained vicotry and now ignore?
Is there something in my life that is bothering me that should be understood as the Holy Spirit prompting to examine?
Is there something I see in others that is possibly a flaw in myself that I am overlooking?
I have often wondered if Satan has access to my thoughts, or if he knows my propensities to sin by my outward actions and reactions.
No… Satan does not have access to your thoughts… and doesn’t need access as he is able to observe our actions and listen to our words. Therefore he has the same access to a person’s heart that we do! As written in Mt 12:34, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” And Jesus said, “By their fruit you will know them.” So he doesn’t need to “see into” our heart… all the evidence is there already!
He does however know the way the human heart works and tailor fits temptations that are most conducive for us to fall. I would suggest reading “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis. It is a fictional account of one demon directing another demon about how to tempt a Christian to fall.