We are often tempted by material things, opportunities, and possibilities of contemporary life – items that we generally know will only lead us away from God. The choice to avoid such temptations is ours and, thus, we must be wary of their allure.
A Native American folk tale describes this problem: One day an Indian youth, in an effort to prepare for manhood, hiked into a beautiful valley, green with trees and decorated with many lovely flowers. There he fasted and prayed, but on the third day he looked up at the surrounding mountains and noticed one tall and rugged peak capped with snow. He decided that he would test himself by climbing this mountain. Thus, he put on his buckskin shirt, wrapped a blanket around his shoulders, and set out to climb the peak.
When he reached the top he looked out from the rim to the world so far below. Then he heard a rustling sound and, looking around, saw a snake slithering about. Before he could move, the snake spoke to him, “I am about to die. It’s too cold for me up here; I am freezing. There is little food and I am starving. Please put me under your shirt where I will be warm and take me down the mountain.”
The young man protested, “No. I have been forewarned about your kind. You are a rattlesnake. If I pick you up you will bite me and I might die.”
But the snake answered, “Not so. I will treat you differently. If you do this for me, you will be special to me, I will not harm you, and you will receive whatever you want.”
The young man resisted for some time, but this was a very persuasive snake with beautiful diamond markings. At last the young man tucked the snake under his shirt and carried it down the mountain. Once in the valley he gently placed the snake on the ground. Suddenly the snake coiled, rattled, and then bit the man on the leg. “You promised me!” cried the youth.
“You knew what I was when you picked me up,” said the snake, which then slithered away.
Satan’s methodology is first evidenced in his dealings with Adam and Eve. From that time on, Satan has applied the same approach to the rest of humanity. The apostle Paul warns us to be careful “lest Satan should take advantage of us. For we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Cor. 2:11).