"I am just doing what everyone else is doing." "Don't tell anyone what I did or I will get you!" "It is mostly true."
Expressions such as these being said around us become so commonplace that we hardly raise an eyebrow to hear them. Such phrases echo across playgrounds, board rooms and assemblies. Yet each snippet is vintage Satan, harking back to ancient scripture. Perhaps, in these times, it is prudent to review some of the ways the adversary functions, some of the techniques he uses in this era of a darkening horizon, and to be aware that he is progressing. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
While the sensitive spirit might recoil from such a review, preferring instead to study only righteousness, let us remember, as the hymn so appropriately states:
We are all enlisted till the conflict is o'er. ...
Dangers may gather — why should we fear?
Jesus, our Leader, ever is near (Hymns, No. 250; text anonymous).
Originally, Satan was known as Lucifer. He was a son of the morning and was in authority in the presence of God (Doctrine and Covenants 76:26-27). There, he "sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;
"And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice" (Moses 4:3-4).
"And there was a war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
"And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
"And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him" (Revelation 12:7-9).
"For he rebelled against me, saying, Give me thine honor, which is my power" (Doctrine and Covenants 29:36). And "he became a devil, having sought that which was evil before God" (2 Nephi 2:17).
"I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven" (Luke 10:18).
In mortality, "... The Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other" (2 Nephi 2:16).
Thus, Satan's efforts to entice focus on taking away man's agency, as he proposed in the beginning. These efforts seem to operate in at least three areas: deception, lusts of the flesh and getting gain.
In deceiving the whole world, Satan is "more subtil than any beast" (Genesis 3:1) and "hath blinded the minds of them which believe not" (2 Corinthians 4:4). He "transformeth himself nigh unto an angel of light" to bring men "in misery, like unto himself" (2 Nephi 9:9). He leads men to "render evil for good" (Psalm 38:20). He became the "author of all sin" (Helaman 6:30) who "taketh away light and truth" (Doctrine and Covenants 93:39) and is the "father of contention" (3 Nephi 11:29).
But Satan never settles merely for deceiving. He wants ultimately to enslave all flesh. He is beguiling, full of wiles, seducing, a setter of snares and terrifying: "the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8). He uses "fiery darts" (1 Nephi 15:24). After people yield to temptation, he "leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever"(2 Nephi 26:22). He "will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to hell" (Alma 30:60).
To entice people toward getting illicit gain, he "spreadeth his dominions, and darkness reigneth (Doctrine and Covenants 82:5). He "stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness" (2 Nephi 9:9).
We live in a world so brindled by the influence of the devil that it becomes almost natural to accept darkness instead of light. Yet this darkness cannot exist when our Light appears.
"The message of all the prophets and apostles is that truth, righteousness and peace shall in the end prevail over error, sin and war; the faithful shall triumph over all their afflictions and enemies, and shall triumph over the devil. There shall be a complete and lasting victory of righteousness over wickedness on this earth, which will be done by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ" (Bible Dictionary, pp. 656-7).
The question is, however, who will yield to Satan's enticings and be enslaved, and who will stand faithful with Christ and remain free?