When I first became a Christian at age 17, other believers warned me, "Greg, you have to be careful, because the devil will tempt you." That was the craziest thing I had ever heard. The what is going to tempt me?
Of course, I envisioned a caricatured version of Satan. I didn't think of him as a spiritual being, and I had never really dealt with temptation. Prior to my conversion, I saw temptation as an opportunity. I didn't know a lot about trying to resist it. So I asked these believers how I would know when I was being tempted. They said, "You will know."
So at school one day, a very attractive girl came walking toward me after class. She had never noticed me before, much less walked up to me or said anything to me. But then she actually spoke. I was dumbfounded. Why is this girl talking to me? What is happening?
She asked, "What is your name?" I momentarily forgot my name. Then she said, "Hey, you know what? My parents have a cabin up in the mountains. I was thinking of going up there this weekend. Why don't you come with me?"
I thought, This is a temptation. This is it!
She didn't have horns, and she wasn't carrying a pitchfork. But the temptation was attractive, it was enticing, and it was real. I knew this was the devil, because these things did not happen to me. Thankfully I resisted the temptation. But I also learned how it worked.
The enemy is quite clever. He knows how to offer his wares in an attractive way. But don't ever underestimate him. He is a sly and skillful adversary, with many years of experience in dealing with humankind. But even so, he can be overcome.