Satan’s Tactics—and How the Savior Can Help Us Overcome Them
April 2024

Digital Only: Young Adults

Satan’s Tactics—and How the Savior Can Help Us Overcome Them

Learning about the adversary’s tactics and turning to the Savior will help us avoid Satan’s traps.

a woman bowing her head and praying

Some people are fascinated by the villains in stories. They can be well-written, they can be intriguing, or they can make a story more interesting.

But the main villain in our lives is definitely not fictional. This is no made-up overlord in a movie or book. Satan—the adversary—is the villain of our stories. His evil is personal, hits close to home, and leads to consequences that are painfully real.

The good news is that we already know what happens to Satan in the end: “The devil and his armies shall be cast away into their own place, that they shall not have power over the saints any more at all” (see Doctrine and Covenants 88:114). Christ offers us “the light of life” (John 8:12), His light, to combat Satan’s darkness.

With the Savior’s help, we can fortify ourselves against the adversary. But what exactly are we up against here in mortality? What do we need to do to combat Satan’s tactics?

What Are the Adversary’s Weapons?

President Russell M. Nelson has said: “The battle with sin is real. The adversary is quadrupling his efforts to disrupt testimonies and impede the work of the Lord. He is arming his minions with potent weapons to keep us from partaking of the joy and love of the Lord.”1

So, what weapons does the adversary use against us? Is he a mind-reader? What is he capable of, and what is he not?

Satan’s arsenal includes worldly distractions, the influence of other people who have chosen to sin, half-truths, good things that have been twisted into bad, and more. Scriptures and prophets have warned of many of Satan’s tactics. For example, he tries to:

  • Put unrighteous ideas into our hearts (see John 13:2). Take comfort in knowing that only God knows the thoughts and intents of your heart (see Doctrine and Covenants 6:16). So no, Satan can’t read your mind. He can only guess, and it’s still up to you to choose what you do when faced with temptation.

  • Invite and entice us to sin (see Moroni 7:12). As Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles put it, Satan “has spent millennia calculating and practicing the ability to persuade God’s children to believe that good is evil and evil is good.”2

  • Provoke us to be angry and contentious (see 2 Nephi 28:19–20; Helaman 16:22).

  • Beguile us, pretend to be something he’s not, and persuade us to sin (see 2 Nephi 9:9).

  • Blind our minds when we don’t believe (see 2 Corinthians 4:4). President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency, taught: “Satan’s methods of deception are enticing. ... When Satan’s lies succeed in deceiving us, we become vulnerable to his power.”3

The adversary’s weapons are more effective when we make things easier for him by hardening our hearts (see Alma 12:11), sinning or rebelling against God (see Mosiah 16:5), or causing dissension (see Mosiah 27:9).

We Can Overcome Satan’s Power

If Satan’s tactics are starting to feel a little overwhelming, have no fear! Take comfort in knowing that because you have made covenants with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, you have access to Their power. They can help you use your agency to resist Satan.

One way to follow the Savior’s example and resist Satan is by putting on the whole armor of God (see Ephesians 6:11–18). What does this look like? Some ideas include:

  • Praying always (see Doctrine and Covenants 10:5).

  • Holding fast to the word of God—including the scriptures, words of prophets, patriarchal blessings, and personal revelation (see 1 Nephi 15:24).

  • Living worthy to have the Spirit. Unlike Satan, the Spirit “speaketh the truth and lieth not” (Jacob 4:13) and can help us see through the devil’s lies.

  • Wearing the temple garment faithfully and being true to your covenants. As President Nelson has taught, the garment is “part of the enduring armor of God.”4

  • Turning toward God and repenting. President Nelson has taught, “Repentance is the key to avoiding misery inflicted by traps of the adversary. … Daily repentance is the pathway to purity, and purity brings power.”5

Focus on the Savior

While it’s important to recognize the devil’s tactics and protect ourselves against them, we don’t need to be fearful or overthink Satan’s power. In the end, our focus can remain on Jesus Christ. Bishop W. Christopher Waddell recently testified that “the hero—our hero, now and always—is Jesus Christ.”6 It is through our relationship with Him that we can overcome the influence of the adversary in our lives.

As we build our foundations on Jesus Christ, “when all [the devil’s] hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon [us], it shall have no power over [us] to drag [us] down to the gulf of misery and endless wo” (Helaman 5:12). Our Savior will weather every storm with us and help us through every chapter of our lives.