Many of Satan’s suggestions would sound egregious to the Christian who is consciously seeking to obey God’s will. So he comes subtly. Never asking for too much at one time. He does this so well that many fall for his wiles, before ever realizing how far they have gone. In the Puritan Classic, The Christian in Complete Armour, William Gurnall writes about Satan’s subtle strategy in tempting God’s children.
In his approaches to a sensitive soul, Satan uses an especially subtle strategy. When he comes to tempt, he is modest and asks for just a little. He knows he may get through several asking what he would be denied if he asked all at once.
This is how he wriggles into Eve’s bosom. He did not dare her to eat the fruit at first. He knew she would probably be frightened away by such a bold challenge. Instead, he asked a provocative question which would set the stage for his debut as man’s archenemy: “Hath God said?” In other words, “Are you sure you are not mistaken? You know how generous God is! He lets you eat everything else in the Garden; why would he deny you the best of all?” Thus he digs about and loosens the root of her faith, and then the tree falls more easily with the next gust of temptation.
Conversing with Satan is a dangerous policy indeed. Many have yielded to go a mile with him who never intended to go two. But once on the way, they have been lured farther and farther, until at last they are so lost and confused they do not know how to leave his company.
Yield at first, and you relinquish your strength to resist him in the rest. In this manner Satan leads his victims down winding stairs into the abyss of sin, one step at a time. They are in danger of becoming forever lost unless they heed God’s call and turn at once from their sins.
God help us recognize his subtle and modest suggestions, and help us resist him on the days he tempts us.