The Subtle Snare of Self
Suggested Verse for Memorization
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to
fulfill the lusts thereof. – Romans 13:14
Scriptures For reading: Proverbs 3:5-6; Matthew 16:24; Luke 8:14; 9:23;
12:22; Romans 8:28; 12:1; Philippians 2:3-4; 4:8; 1 Peter 2:11;
It is obvious that many people have put self in a position which
should belong to God. As Christians, we might conclude that this
is not our problem since God is in control of our lives. God
certainly remains faithful to those with hearts that are pure, and
who strive to align their wills with His. Satan, however, is eager to
entrap each of us in some snare of self. In this lesson, we will delve
into how and why a Christian deals with self, and we will take a
look at how to avoid the traps used by Satan in this area.
1. When we surrender our lives to God and experience salvation,
we restore our Creator to His rightful place—at the center of our
existence—acknowledging His control and Lordship of our lives.
When we fully consecrate our regenerated lives to God, we can
expect God to cleanse our hearts with the experience of
sanctification. The saved and sanctified heart has been restored to
the moral quality of holiness with which Adam was created. We
are not, however, restored to the physical, emotional, and mental
qualities that Adam enjoyed when he was created. That is why
even after we have made that initial commitment to God, we will
find that new situations, fresh tests, and difficult circumstances
regularly necessitate the submission of our will to His. Jesus said,
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up
his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). If we want to continue
with the Lord, we must daily avoid the danger of arranging our
lives around personal interests. Using the following Scriptures,
briefly outline some guidelines that will help us do this: Philippians
2:4; Luke 12:22; 1 Peter 2:11; Luke 8:14; Philippians 4:8.
2. One of the most potentially debilitating snares Satan uses is that
of self-pity. He slips it into the path of the unappreciated office
worker, the one suffering with pain, the tired housewife who
struggles to get through a personal energy crisis, the unemployed,
and the bereaved. In fact, Satan has probably tried to use the
snare of self-pity, in some form, on all of us! He urges us to look
inward instead of upward. “Poor you,” he whispers. “You’ll never
make it. No one understands.” Have you heard those destructive
words? It is sometimes easy to give in to feelings of
discouragement, of being misunderstood, or of isolation, rather
than to recognize those feelings as ploys of the enemy and resist
them as such. What principle, outlined in Romans 8:28, will help
us when Satan attempts to slip those strands of self-pity around
us? Find at least one other Scripture that bears out this same
3. We hear a lot about the necessity for healthy self-esteem.
Certainly, it is important to recognize ourselves as unique,
significant persons who are valuable to God and to others. Satan,
however, would attempt to edge that self-esteem into an attitude
of self-assertion, making us prone to contend for our ways and to
disregard the thoughts and opinions of others. We must
constantly be on guard against a preoccupation with self. This
tendency can show itself through attempts to manipulate others, a
desire to win every argument, a need to have the last word in any
confrontation, or an attitude that everything should be arranged
to fit around our plans. Paul recognized this potential danger and
warned the Philippians,“ . . . in lowliness of mind let each esteem
other better than themselves” (Philippians 2:3). Those words were
not for first-century saints only. The advice they contain is
pertinent for today. What are actions we can take to apply Paul’s
admonition in our lives?
4. Self-reliance is another character trait we often hear lauded in
today’s world. Our achievement-oriented society is fond of
phrases like “blazing your own trail” and “marching to your own
beat.” Yet, there is a very real danger in relying on our own
accomplishments, wisely-made investments, or well-laid plans.
Satan will pat us on the back and tell us we are eminently capable
of handling life on our own. His advice might be, “Do it your
way,” but God’s Word tells us to “trust in the Lord with all thine
heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways
acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
These are important words if we want to avoid self-sufficiency.
Name some Biblical examples of people who fell into the trap of
relying on their own ways instead of God’s, and describe the
outcome of their choices. Then identify some who succeeded
because they relied on God.
5. Hand-in-hand with self-reliance comes the temptation to selfindulgence. The enemy would encourage us to pamper ourselves
continually, both physically and materially. He emphasizes a
systematic gratification of our whims, desires, and personal
preferences. When the snare of self-indulgence settles around us,
forgotten are Christ’s words, “If any man will come after me, let
him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew
16:24). The Apostle Paul emphasized the need to keep our natural
appetites and desires under control, urging us to present our
bodies “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God” (Romans
12:1). Satan’s words oppose this. “It’s your right!” he will insist.
“You owe it to yourself. What’s wrong with yearning for more in
life? Isn’t that just healthy ambition, just good common sense?”
Why do you think he uses this reasoning?
6. Satan does not wage all his battles outside the walls of the
church. He also seeks to promote an attitude of complacency and
satisfaction in spiritual endeavors. He even will encourage zealous
performance in God’s service, as long as the power of the Holy
Spirit is absent. A grievous snare of self entangled the church of
the Laodiceans, and God condemned them with the stern words,
“Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need
of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and
miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17).
Identify the trap implied in this passage, and describe what effect it
could have on Christians today if they are not watchful.
7. Satan constantly attempts to insert self into every area of our
lives: in our service to God, in our social lives; in the business
world, and in the smallest to the greatest trials that we encounter.
If we recognize that we are becoming entrapped by self, how
should we respond? What are some steps we can take to break
free and gain victory in this area?
This lesson presented an area of our lives that Satan tries to use to
gain access to our minds. Did you find yourself reacting strongly to
this topic? If so, stop for a minute and challenge yourself as to how
you could better serve the Lord in this area.
Other Scriptures Used:
1 Samuel 16:7; Job 23:10; Psalm 37:23; Philippians 2:21; 1 Peter