When I was in cheerleading at Crowley High School, all the cheerleaders had to get ﬁtted for our uniforms. We scheduled a day to meet with a seamstress, and she measured each of us one by one. She had a notebook with each of our names on a separate page and she took careful measurements. She measured my arm length and width, my waist, my shoulders, my hips, etc. She measured everything! And took note of it all. She made sure to not mix up my measurements with Nikki’s or Staci’s or Connie’s. Why couldn’t we all just wear the same uniform? We were all cheerleaders. We were all girls. Just make 12 uniforms exactly the same, right? Wrong. Each uniform had to be tailor-made to ﬁt us individually. Theresa is 5’8” with long legs. Dana is 5’11” but built totally different than Theresa (long waist, shorter legs). I’m only 5’3 ½ – short legs, short waist!
My point is this: Satan has a notebook with your name on it! And he has been sizing you up since the day you were born! He has been taking note of everything about you. He looks for any area in your life where you suffer repeated weaknesses and temptations. When he sees you fall for a temptation – he makes note! And you can count on it, he will bring that same temptation into your life over and over until you fall!
Satan has a “tailor made plan” to tempt you, distract you and destroy your life. His ultimate goal is to create temptations that are custom-designed to pull you away from God’s plan for your life. Just like with the cheerleading uniforms, what ﬁts you (or tempts you) may not ﬁt someone else. He knows that. He doesn’t mix up your measurements with anyone else’s. He has great strategy in tailor-making his plan to destroy your life.
Nothing about his plan is haphazard or coincidental . . . it is well-thought out, well planned out. It is strategic in every way. The timing is strategic. Where you’re tempted, who you’re tempted with, what you’re tempted by, why you’re tempted there! Beth Moore says, “There is method to his madness.”
How does Satan size you up?
Step #1. He tests you. He has to ﬁnd a weakness in your ﬂesh. He brings things little by little to see what you’ll fall for and what you won’t. He knows it must be something that appeals to you speciﬁcally or else you won’t fall. It could be:
something that catches your eye
something that you feel is missing in your life
something you need
something that makes you feel better
something that feeds your desires, needs and attention
something that calms your nerves
something from your past that you used to enjoy
I think of the ﬁshing term “lures”. Satan knows exactly what lures you. Just like a ﬁsherman has tested many different lures over time to see which ﬁsh is “lured” by which bait, Satan does the same thing with you. The ﬁsherman knows which bait to use to catch bass ﬁsh, a catﬁsh, a stryper. He dangles different bait in front of those ﬁsh to see which one they’ll fall for. He may have to wait a while but he hopes the ﬁsh will eventually fall for something!
James warns us: “We are tempted when we are drawn away and trapped by our own evil desires. Then our evil desires conceive and give birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Do not be deceived, my dear friends.”
Here’s the catch: the very thing that “lures” the ﬁsh is the very thing that leads to his death. On the other end of that bait is a hook designed to kill. And it’s no different with Satan. The very bait he uses to lure you, to draw you away from God, to distract you… is the very thing that leads to death. It could be the death of your career, the death of your family, the death of your marriage, the death of your conﬁdence, your ﬁnances. Death is the result.
Just like James said, “when sin is full grown… gives birth to death.” Death is the result when we give in to those temptations that are screaming so loud in our ears! I know in my own life when I have been drawn away from God’s plan for my life and been easily distracted or deceived, I deﬁnitely felt a type of death in my soul. I don’t ever want to feel that again as long as I live. There’s no peace anywhere when we’re outside of God’s covering and we’re just following after the bait. The bait looks good, tastes good, feels good… but it leads to death.
For a moment, step out of the day-to-day struggles, temptations and challenges you could be facing right now. I want you to look at the big picture of your life. Wake up and see the bait for what it is. Look beyond the bait and see the hook. Imagine that hook getting so deep into your soul that it takes life from you. Don’t fall for Satan’s traps that are tailor-made to destroy you!
If you’re in a situation right now where you’re being tempted to do something that you know deep-inside is not in line with God’s plan for your life – in fact, you ﬂat out know it’s wrong… DON’T DO IT! I do not believe it is a coincidence that you’re reading this today! God is warning you: IT’S A TRAP and you will regret it!
Don’t waste years of your life trying to recover from something you could totally avoid! Look beyond the BAIT and see the HOOK. Satan wants to get his hooks so deep into your life that you literally die inside! That’s exactly what will happen if you give in to this ﬂeshly desire, temptation, lure!
Step 2: He justiﬁes sin. It’s not overnight that we give into temptations. It’s little by little we compromise. How do you think I’m able to minister this message so accurately? Because I understand. When we’re tempted to do something we know isn’t the will of God, our minds have a unique way of justifying why it’s OK to remain in sin.
It’s a tailor-made plan that appeals to your greatest vulnerabilities!
The Bible warns us, “Watch out! Don’t let evil thoughts or doubts make any of you turn from the living God.” That’s Satan’s ultimate hope – to get you to turn away from God. Sometimes it’s just through guilt over what you’ve done. You keep turning your back on God because you’re too ashamed to talk to Him. You’ve made Him promise after promise and you keep letting yourself down – so you just avoid Him altogether! Exactly what Satan was hoping!
I want you to recognize where a door may have been opened in your life through temptation and determine to close it! If you don’t, and you just leave that door wide open for Satan to distract and destroy you, I guarantee that if I were to check back with you one year from now, you would probably cry, “WHY!!!!!!! Why was I so stupid! Why did I do that?” Don’t make regrets. God has a plan for your life. Determine to live beyond how you feel, to resist this temptation and to go on with God’s plan.
#1. Look beyond the lure! See Satan for who he is: a thief, a destroyer, a liar, a deceiver with a plan, a plot and a strategy to tempt and destroy your life!
#2. Know your weaknesses. If your weakness is sex with your boyfriend, don’t be alone with him. Kellie Copeland says, “The time to decide not to sleep with him is not when you’re in his bedroom. The time to decide is before you even
go out with him.”
You ﬁght fear with a plan! Why? Because you know you’ll be tempted. You’ve recognized it’s a weakness in your ﬂesh. You know the outcome will not be good. Remember: when Satan observes a weakness in your behavior, he makes note of it to bring that temptation back into your life over and over until you fall. He will, on purpose, arrange for you to be alone with him so you’ll be so tempted to give in.
Think back over your life. Where have you had the most struggles? Be honest with yourself. Satan knows your weaknesses, your vulnerabilities – you need to know them!
#3. Get an accountability partner. It’s amazing how having accountability to someone else will help you stay strong. You need someone you can trust and conﬁde in. You need to be able to tell someone, “I have a weakness in this area and I want you to hold me accountable for staying focused”. Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron.” We need each other. Proverbs 18:1 says, “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire. He rages against all sound wisdom.”
We need to help each other and not freak out when someone tells us their weakness. Just because your weakness may not be their weakness, don’t put them down or look down on them. Build them up! Help them stay strong. I’ve heard people say that we are the only ARMY who beats up their wounded when they’re down. We need to build each other up, help each other stay strong, not judge each other.
#4. Value your life. God has given you an assignment and a certain period of time on earth to fulﬁll your assignment. Satan’s knows that, too! That’s why he must work overtime to tempt you! God has something special for you to accomplish. You have to guard your heart and not allow just anything in there. My mom says, “Don’t let your heart be like a Denny’s Restaurant: Always open! 24 hours a day… everybody welcome!”
Romans 6 (Message Bible) says, “As long as you did what you felt like doing, ignoring God, you didn’t have to bother with right thinking or right living, or right anything for that matter. But do you call that a free life? What did you get out of it? Nothing you’re proud of now. Where did it get you? A dead end. “But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more life on the way!” God can rebuild anything that’s been demolished!
#5. Pray. Pray. Pray. “Pray so you won’t come into temptation.” (Matt. 26). I saw a billboard one time that read: 7 days without prayer makes one weak! Remember, temptation comes to us all. We never get to a place in our lives where there’s no more temptation. It’s something we all have to daily guard ourselves against. The best way to stay guarded is to stay focused on a daily plan to spend time with God.
God is available to help you 24 hours a day! He never gets irritated or impatient when we keep coming back to Him. His love is everlasting! If you have to cry out for God 500 times in one day – do it! Spend some time with God today – even if it’s 5 minutes. Be conscious of His presence at all times. The more time you spend just talking with Him, the closer you’ll get to Him. The closer you get to Him, the more you don’t want to disappoint Him. Value the life God has given you. It’s precious. It’s signiﬁcant. It’s not wasted. It’s not over.
After all, God has the original tailor-made plan for your life. It appeals to your greatest strengths, talents and abilities. He’s been sizing you up for a custom-designed future!