Let’s evaluate the strategies of enlisting recruits of the two opposing forces involved in spiritual warfare. We will start with the plan of the Kingdom of Heaven. It is a straightforward approach and could be stated like this:
Life is to be lived for the glory and honor of God.
Man has rebelled against that reality and is in need of rescue.
Strictly on his own initiative, through the sacrificial death of his son, God rescues people from darkness and brings them into the kingdom of light for all eternity.
That is the strategy of one side. Here is the strategy of the other side, the kingdom of this world. It is also straightforward.
Satan hates mankind and has a wretched plan that ends not in rescue but in death and everlasting torment.
People must be deceived so that they will not recognize the purpose of this plan until it is too late.
If both sides adhered to the practice of full-disclosure, the kingdom of darkness would be at a clear disadvantage.
Satan, of course, realized that he dare not tell the truth about his intentions. So, he told Eve that following his advice would make her wise, delight her senses, and make her on par with her creator. Eve and her husband bought the lie. Satan knew that by enlisting our first parents into his kingdom all of mankind that followed would be serving him and not God.
However, Satan is not God. Satan does not have the power of Christ. The power of the gospel is greater than his lies. Though Satan continues to deceive, he is only able to offer things that have to do with this world. All of his promises are connected to this life; his rewards are from a world that is passing away. He knows he must make his promises attractive for this life because, beyond this life, he can offer nothing.
Thus, Satan’s marketing strategy has to do with finding accomplishment and satisfaction in this life. He is shamelessly deceptive: Wealth offers security. An unwanted pregnancy will ruin your life as well as the baby. The acceptance and praise of others will meet our deepest relational cravings. Education will make one truly wise. Sex is meant to be enjoyed by all and is our biological right to indulge our flesh in any way that is pleasing. Athletic and business achievements will provide a lifetime of recognition and satisfaction. Self-pleasure is the ultimate pursuit. The beauty and complexity of nature is worth a lifetime of devotion. It is impossible to have too much of a good thing.
All of these deceptions are designed to do one thing and one thing only: hide the reality of death and the torture of hell. You see, Satan must distract his subjects from the horror that lies just beyond the doorway of death. (Ephesians 2:1-3)
Even Christians can be deceived by the promises of the enemy. Even though Satan knows he cannot win us back to his side, he knows that our wrong desires can help him in his grand plan of deception. Ask God for the clarity of vision to help expose the deception of the promises of this world. If you live for these deceptions, you will not help your children or those around you to see the ugliness of a strategy designed to lead straight to hell.