In Christianity what are specific real life examples of how the devil works?

Also, any specific examples of how the devil works in the Bible?

  • 6
    Please consider reading the book of Job – user1054 Mar 17 '12 at 0:21
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    esv.scripturetext.com/job/1.htm – Dale Mar 17 '12 at 2:04
  • Affable: I find myself asking why in Nepal and not here? The only difference between people here and there is nothing from a spiritual scale. – Greg McNulty Mar 17 '12 at 19:16
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    @aceinthehole nothing to do with belief in God (honestly, that's fine) - just the unevidenced validation if superstition; too long for comments, so added here: pastie.org/private/6e2xjfgn8ewofqxp4ouyw – Marc Gravell Mar 18 '12 at 9:01
  • @MarcGravell I want answer your question fully and seriously- this is a genuine concern to both of us. I have some books that give first hand accounts of the Devil at work in Nepal, and the freedom that Christ brings. The whole "devil is at work" so let's burn the witches thing may have happened once in Salem, Mass, but was not at all typical of what I've seen. What I saw was not an excuse for violence, but very real liberation from oppressive force. – Affable Geek Mar 18 '12 at 12:10

In addition to being the accuser. Satan is also the "stumbling block". That's the effect to which Jesus uses the term against Peter when he attempts to dissuade Him from the cross.

Mark 8:33 (NIV)

33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

So, Satan's job in one sense is to trip us up.

  • Can you add some Scriptural support? Thanks! – daviesgeek Mar 22 '12 at 21:35

Satan is a Hebrew word (Ha-Satan) that means The Accuser. In Job 1, we see the Accuser doing what he does best- making accusations against God's chosen.

Because the devil is a created being, and therefore nowhere near being God's equal, he can only accuse people in front of God, and God may allow the Devil to bring about events as a result.

Interestingly, the point of the Gospel is because that there is therefore now No condemnation for those who believe in Christ Jesus, the Devil has lost his one ability over God's elect, namely the ability to accuse the Brethren.

  • "Devil has lost his one ability over God's elect" - and how do we know this has occurred? – Greg McNulty Mar 17 '12 at 19:19
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    Because "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1) – Affable Geek Mar 19 '12 at 12:23
  • maybe not after death, but in this life many Christians have been condemned and even put to death...right? – Greg McNulty Mar 21 '12 at 22:04
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    @Affable Isn't the Scripture you are referencing really speaking about condemnation from God, not the devil? – Chris Bier Mar 22 '12 at 0:15
  • The point is that the Accuser is the one who speaks the condemnation that God should reign down, but who now, in his mercy, doesn't – Affable Geek Mar 22 '12 at 19:35

Satan's Tactics

In the Genesis account, we see a few key methods:

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:1-5

  • Casting doubt on the word of God >> "Did God really say?"
  • Misquoting God >> "Did God really say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'"
  • Lying and contradicting the word of God >> "You will not surely die."
  • Attacking the character of God and promising benefits >> "For God knows that when you eat it you will become like God.

Man's Weakness

The description in verse 6 identifies key areas where Eve was tempted (and all of us are today as well). This is quite interesting in light of 1 John 2:15-17

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Genesis 3:6

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world— the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17

  • The fruit was good for food >> Desires of the flesh
  • A delight to the eyes >> Desires of the eyes
  • Desirable for gaining wisdom >> Pride of life

I've tried to summarize these a number of times and have come up with Pleasures, Possessions, and Pride as well as Appetites, Acquisitions, and Aspirations.

The first seems to be an appeal to physical desires that are not evil in themselves. In fact, God had amply provided for those. The second seems to possibly refer to greed and the desire to possess, as advertising is very visual in its appeal. The third is perhaps the desire to be something or someone.

Perhaps What I Do, What I Have, and Who I Am better fits these.


So, Satan obscures the truth, promises benefit from sin, deceives, lies, and attacks the character of God. He appeals to our desire to do, to have, and to be.


The Devil works in all evil. The father of lies, the World is where he reigns.

George MacDonald said, "The one principle of hell is - 'I am my own.'" Perhaps the biggest lie of all and the source of pride.

  • how do we determine what is evil and what isn't? – Greg McNulty Mar 17 '12 at 5:46
  • Love God. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. – Hammer Mar 17 '12 at 6:25
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    ..................what? – Greg McNulty Mar 17 '12 at 6:49
  • In the old test. God sent spirits to do things that could be considered evil. Everything came directly from God. In the new test. evil things from the devil and good things come from God. – user1054 Mar 17 '12 at 18:27
  • Dan - what if something is considered bad to me but good to someone else? – Greg McNulty Mar 17 '12 at 19:13

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