Another tool in the devil's toolkit is vanity. Vanity is excessive pride in one's appearance or accomplishments. In other words, vanity is a vile form of self-centeredness. It can be divided into two broad categories: vanity of position and vanity of possession. Vanity of position is fed by conceit and arrogance while vanity of possession is fueled by greed, covetousness, and carnal desires. The devil knows how to use both. In Genesis 3, the devil appealed to Eve's vanity of position by telling Eve how she would be "like God" if she ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When Eve "saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes" her vanity of possession was being piqued. The devil likewise tried to use vanity against Jesus when he tempted Christ in the wilderness. Vanity led Judas to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver (Matt. 26:14,15). Vanity led Ananias and Sapphira to lie and die in Acts 5. Vanity caused (and still causes) some to "stray from the faith" (I Tim. 6:10). Vanity led many of the Pharisees, Sadducees, chief priests, and elders to reject Christ (cf. Rom. 1:21). Vanity caused Diotrephes to want "to have the preeminence among" the saints in one location (III John 1:9). Rightly did the preacher write numerous times in the book of Ecclesiastes that "all is vanity"!
Ignorance is yet another device wielded by Satan in his work against man. Satan simply does not want people to know God's word! If the truth sets us free--and it does (John 8:32)--then ignorance most certainly imprisons us. People will be "destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hos. 4:6). Why else would the devil work so hard to snatch the word away from a person's heart? In Luke's account of the parable of the sower, Jesus explained, "The seed is the word of God" (Luke 8:11). Jesus went on to tell that "the birds of the air" who devoured the seed that "fell by the wayside" (Luke 8:5) represented "the devil [who] comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved" (Luke 8:12). Friends, it is in the devil's best interest that he steals away the seed of God's word before it can take root in the hearts of those who hear. The faster our adversary can do this, the easier his work will be. Therefore, let us make every effort to guard against our adversary and protect the word of God that we have heard; let us strive to be like the psalmist who wrote "Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You" (Psalm 119:11). When one is ignorant of the word of God, they will not have a leg to stand on when confronted with error and false teachings. Truly, they will not even be able to tell the difference! Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, "Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame" (I Cor. 15:34). Friends, what shame ignorance is!
Dear listeners, it is important that we realize the tools employed by the devil as he seeks to lure us away from the path of righteousness. If we are ignorant of his devices, he will take advantage of us (II Cor. 2:11). So far we have examined how Satan uses our DESIRES, EVIL COMPANY, VANITY, and IGNORANCE against us. Tomorrow, we will examine a fifth and final tool I'd like us to consider. In the meantime, I encourage you to examine your life. Are you making the devil's task easier, or are you resisting him with all your might?