Satan’s Strategy: Why He Targets Those Growing in Faith

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Satan's Strategy: Why He Targets Those Growing in Faith

In the teachings of Jesus, particularly in the parable of the wheat and the tares, we uncover profound insights into the nature of spiritual warfare. This narrative, found in Matthew 13:24-30, illustrates how Satan operates, targeting those who are growing and fruitful in their spiritual journey. The parable reveals that Satan plants tares among the wheat, signifying his strategic attacks on those whose efforts and labor in God's kingdom are evident.

The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares

In this parable, Jesus describes a farmer who sows good seed in his field. However, while everyone is sleeping, an enemy comes and sows weeds among the wheat. As the wheat begins to sprout and form heads, the weeds also appear. The farmer’s servants ask him if they should pull up the weeds, but the farmer advises against it, fearing that the wheat might be uprooted as well. Instead, he instructs them to let both grow together until the harvest. At that time, the harvesters will collect the weeds first and tie them in bundles to be burned, then gather the wheat and bring it into his barn.

This parable holds several layers of meaning, but at its core, it addresses the coexistence of good and evil in the world and the final judgment. More specifically, it highlights Satan’s tactics in undermining the growth of God’s people.

Satan’s Strategy: Attacking the Fruitful

The parable underscores an important truth: Satan targets those who are fruitful. The enemy does not waste resources on barren fields; instead, he focuses on those who are actively contributing to God's kingdom. The wheat represents those who are growing in their faith, producing spiritual fruit, and laboring for the kingdom of God.

"Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." - 1 Peter 5:8

This scripture reinforces the idea that Satan is always on the lookout for opportunities to disrupt the lives of believers. He waits until their efforts and labor are evident before launching his attacks. By planting tares among the wheat, he aims to cause confusion, discouragement, and division.

Recognizing the Tares in Our Lives

The tares, or weeds, symbolize various forms of spiritual hindrances and distractions that Satan introduces into our lives. These can manifest in several insidious ways, each designed to disrupt our relationship with God and hinder our spiritual growth. Understanding these tactics is crucial in maintaining a robust and resilient faith.

1. False Teachings

False teachings are among the most dangerous tares Satan plants. Just as tares closely resemble wheat, false teachings can mimic the truth so convincingly that they lead believers astray. These teachings might include subtle distortions of biblical truths, appealing yet misleading doctrines, or outright heresies.

"But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction." - 2 Peter 2:1

False teachings can creep into the church through charismatic leaders, popular culture, or even well-intentioned but misguided fellow believers. They often exploit our desires for comfort, success, or a more palatable version of Christianity, making them especially seductive.

2. Temptations and Sin

Satan's arsenal includes a wide array of temptations, designed to lure us into sinful behaviors that derail our spiritual progress. These temptations often target our weaknesses, desires, and vulnerabilities, making them difficult to resist without God's help.

"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." - 1 Corinthians 10:13

Temptations can manifest in various forms, such as:

  • Materialism and Greed: The pursuit of wealth and possessions can divert our focus from God to worldly desires.
  • Lust and Immorality: Sexual temptations can lead to actions that compromise our purity and integrity.
  • Pride and Ego: An inflated sense of self-importance can hinder our humility and dependence on God.

3. Disunity and Conflict

Satan strives to create disunity and conflict among believers, knowing that a divided church is a weakened church. By sowing seeds of discord, he seeks to disrupt the fellowship and cooperation essential for the church's mission.

"Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." - Ephesians 4:3

Disunity can arise from:

  • Misunderstandings and Miscommunication: Poor communication can lead to misunderstandings and offenses that fester into larger conflicts.
  • Jealousy and Competition: Envy and rivalry among believers can create an unhealthy atmosphere of competition rather than collaboration.
  • Doctrinal Disputes: Differing interpretations of Scripture can cause divisions if not handled with grace and humility.

4. Doubts and Fears

Satan often plants seeds of doubt and fear to erode our faith and trust in God. These tares can grow into crippling anxieties and uncertainties that hinder our spiritual confidence and boldness.

"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." - 2 Timothy 1:7

Doubts and fears can take many forms, such as:

  • Self-Doubt: Questioning our worth, abilities, or salvation can lead to spiritual paralysis.
  • Fear of the Future: Worrying about what lies ahead can distract us from trusting in God's sovereignty and provision.
  • Doubt in God's Promises: Uncertainty about God's faithfulness or His promises can weaken our resolve and commitment.

Responding to Spiritual Attacks

Understanding that Satan targets fruitful lives should prompt us to remain vigilant and steadfast in our faith. Here are practical steps to counteract his attacks:

  1. Stay Rooted in Scripture: Regularly immersing ourselves in God's Word helps us discern truth from falsehood and strengthens our spiritual foundation."All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." - 2 Timothy 3:16
  2. Prayer and Vigilance: Maintaining a robust prayer life keeps us connected to God and aware of spiritual dangers."Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints." - Ephesians 6:18
  3. Fellowship and Accountability: Engaging in a community of believers provides support, encouragement, and accountability.
  4. Spiritual Discernment: Asking God for the gift of discernment helps us recognize and address the tares in our lives."Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world." - 1 John 4:1

The Assurance of God’s Ultimate Victory

While Satan’s attacks are real and persistent, we must remember that God is sovereign and victorious. The parable of the wheat and the tares concludes with the assurance that at the harvest time, the tares will be separated and destroyed, and the wheat will be gathered into the barn. This imagery points to the final judgment, where God will ultimately deal with evil and reward the faithful.

"The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you." - Romans 16:20

This promise provides hope and encouragement for believers. Despite the challenges and spiritual warfare we face, we can trust in God's ultimate victory and His ability to protect and preserve us.


The parable of the wheat and the tares offers a powerful lesson on spiritual warfare. Satan targets those who are growing and fruitful, seeking to undermine their efforts and labor for God's kingdom. By planting tares among the wheat, he aims to cause confusion, division, and discouragement. However, by staying rooted in Scripture, maintaining a strong prayer life, engaging in fellowship, and seeking spiritual discernment, we can recognize and counteract his attacks. Ultimately, we can rest in the assurance of God's victory and His promise to gather His faithful into His eternal kingdom.

Further Reading

  1. "The Attributes of God" by A.W. Tozer
  2. "Knowing God" by J.I. Packer
  3. "The Holiness of God" by R.C. Sproul
  4. "The Pursuit of God" by A.W. Tozer
  5. "God's Passion for His Glory" by John Piper

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