How do you overcome Spiritual Attack? Over 300 years ago, the Puritan preacher Thomas Brooks offered these four remedies: 1) Keep far away from sin, 2) Consider the consequences, 3) Think about Hell, and 4) Consider where sin comes from.
Book Review: When I first learned about Thomas Brooks, I was overwhelmed by his spiritual maturity and the authority of his insights. However, I also realized that because it was written in an old style of English, most of the message would be lost on a post-modern audience ...the very people who need to hear his words the most! Therefore, I decided to undertake a massive book review project, reviewing each chapter individually and “translating” the key ideas into a format suitable for a popular audience. All these techniques of Spiritual Warfare are adapted from Thomas Brook’s book “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices” first published in 1652, now available through Puritan Paperbacks (see the Paid Link Below).
Device #1: To Present the Bait, but Hide the Hook
This first device Satan uses against humanity is also the oldest. The bait is anything that tempts us with pleasure, profit, or power… while the hook is the consequences that inevitably result from yielding to something we know is a sin. We’re not stupid, we know that choices we make will only result in wrath and misery, yet again and again we make those choices anyway because we crave the “bait” that is presented to us. Satan uses this technique to draw our souls to sin; this is how he took our first parents:
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3: 1-5 (NIV)
How do we experience this device today?
Sexual immorality such as pornography, adultery, incest, and pedophilia are just a few of the many examples of behaviors we know are wrong. Yet millions of people take this bait every day, apparently in the belief that there will be no consequences for it. Or worse yet, they become so enamored of the sin that they commit the act despite knowing that devastation will soon follow.
Addiction to drugs, alcohol, or gambling. These addictions are running rampant in our society. No one advocates for becoming a meth addict, or from overdosing on fentanyl, yet everyone knows someone who struggles against addiction, or they struggle themselves.
Power: have you ever noticed that when we vote people into elected office that they soon change? They stop keeping their promises to the people who voted for them, and instead enact policies that undermine their constituents. What happens to them? Why do they become part of “The Swamp?” Are they not offered profit and power in exchange for their sins? We need to pray today for our politicians, especially the corrupt ones, because they have entered into a terrible bargain.
Remedy 1: The first thing you can do is keep as far away as you can from things you know are sinful. I’m talking about the obvious stuff. It does not take discipline to recognize the things that will destroy you, it takes discipline to resist the things that will destroy you. It’s common sense; don’t take the first taste of the bait, you won’t have to fight the hook so hard.
Remedy 2: No one can outrun temptation altogether. Despite our most valiant attempts, each of us will be confronted by something that we will crave, even to our own demise. Understand now that this will happen to you, and take steps to prepare for it. The next time you are confronted with temptation, purposefully decide that that you will think through the consequences. You know that the sweetness of sin is brief ...and vanishes in a moment. Commit now to thinking also about the lasting shame, sorrow, horror, and terror that will surely follow.
Remedy 3: I need you to consider the true cost of sin. It is a cost so terrible and profound that human words fail to describe its horror. Your sin could send you to Hell. It is a real place, and a real threat to your immortal soul. Consider these words that you are reading right now to be a lifeline extended to you. The door to Heaven stands open to you at this moment, there may come a time when it is too late.
Remedy 4: Think about where sin comes from. Satan is the greatest deceiver. He will kiss your soul, he will praise and honor your soul, and then he will betray your soul forever. He lies to you; he persuades you that good is evil and evil is good. Have you seen the things people say on television now? A soul so bewitched will hold on to that ideology until the bitter end. They will not care about the consequences, they will not fear the consequences, instead, they will hold on to their wickedness even though their sin kills them secretly, incessantly and eternally.