Dealing with the Devil

This is from J.C. Ryle’s Thoughts For Young Men, Chapter 1: Reasons for Exhorting Young Men: Dealing with the Devil


For another thing, the devil uses special diligence to destroy the souls of young men, and they seem not to know it. Satan knows well that you will make up the next generation, and therefore he employs every art betimes (he uses every trick) to make you his own. I would not have you ignorant of his devices.


You are those on whom he plays off all his choicest temptations. He spreads his net with the most watchful carefulness to entangle your hearts. He baits his traps with the sweetest morsels to get you into his power. He displays his wares before your eyes with his utmost ingenuity in order to make you buy his sugared poisons and eat his accursed dainties. You are the grand object of his attack. May the Lord rebuke him, and deliver you out of his hands.

Young men, beware of being taken by his snares. He will try to throw dust in your eyes and prevent you seeing anything in its true colors. He would fain make you think evil good, and good evil (Isa 5:20). He will paint, and gild (give a false brilliance to), and dress up sin, in order to make you fall in love with it (2 Co 11:15). He will deform, misrepresent, and caricature true religion in order to make you take a dislike to it. He will exalt the pleasures of wickedness, but he will hide from you the sting. He will lift up before your eyes the cross and its painfulness, but he will keep out of sight the eternal crown. He will promise you everything, as he did to Christ, if you will only serve him (Mat 4:8). He will even help you to wear a form of religion, if you will only neglect the power (2Ti 3:5). He will tell you at the beginning of your lives, it is too soon to serve God; he will tell you at the end, it is too late. Oh, be not deceived!

You little know the danger you are in from this enemy, and it is this very ignorance that makes me afraid. You are like blind men, walking amidst holes and pitfalls: you do not see the perils that are around you on every side (Luk 6:39).


Your enemy is mighty. He is called “The Prince of this world” (Joh 14:30). He opposed our Lord Jesus Christ all through His ministry. He tempted Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, and so brought sin and death into the world (Gen 3). He tempted even David, the man after God’s own heart, and caused his latter days to be full of sorrow (2Sa 11:2). He tempted even Peter, the chosen apostle, and made him deny his Lord (Mat 26:69). Surely, his enmity is not to be despised?

Your enemy is restless. He never sleeps. He is always going about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1Pe 5:8). He is ever going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it (Job 1:7). You may be careless about your souls; he is not. He wants them to make them miserable, like himself, and will have them if he can. Surely, his enmity is not to be despised?

And your enemy is cunning. For nearly six thousand years he has been reading one book, and that book is the heart of man. He ought to know it well, and he does know it: all its weakness, all its deceitfulness, all its folly. And he has a store of temptations such as are most likely to do it harm. Never will you go to the place where he will not find you. Go into towns: he will be there. Go into a wilderness: he will be there also. Sit among drunkards and revelers, and he will be there to help you. Listen to preaching, and he will be there to distract you. Surely, such enmity is not to be despised?


Young men, this enemy is working hard for your destruction, however little you may think it. You are the prize for which he is especially contending. He foresees you must either be the blessings or the curses of your day, and he is trying hard to effect a lodgmenta in your hearts thus early in order that you may help forward his kingdom by and by. Well does he understand that to spoil the bud is the surest way to mar the flower. Oh that your eyes were opened, like those of Elisha’s servant in Dothan (2Ki 6:13-17)! Oh, that you did but see what Satan is scheming against your peace! Whether you will hear or not, I cannot, dare not, leave you alone. I must warn you; I must exhort you.


a lodgment– an obstruction; an accumulated deposit of material.

Study Questions (from Chapel Libary) :

Very Important Note: We ask you to always get your answer from the text, but use your own words in your answer. Please do not merely quote the text for your answer. Rather, read what the text says, think about the meaning of what it says, and summarize the meaning of the text in your own words for your answer. In this way, you will learn much more than simply a “search/find/quote” method for answering the questions.

Read: First, please read the reading text. Please answer the questions below from the information in this chapter. 
Read the Scriptures: The author will refer to Bible verses, it is to your utmost benefit to read the verses.
Read Slowly: Please read slowly enough so you understand what you read. 
Read Prayerfully: Please also pray before each lesson asking the LORD for wisdom to apply what you learn to your life, and to enable you to love Him with all your mind, heart, soul, and strength, for this is the greatest commandment (Mar 12:30).

Briefly, summarize the strategy that Satan uses to lead young men astray.

Satan is portrayed as mighty, restless, and cunning. Briefly describe what is meant by each of these and why the characteristic is dangerous to young men. Include the Scripture references of the verses that are especially helpful to you.
a. mighty
b. restless
c. cunning

Making it personal:

  • How is the fact that the Devil is reading your heart in order to make you fall affects your view of sanctification?
  • What are the benefits of knowing the tactics, portrayal, and goal of the Enemy of your soul?

To God be the glory!


Ryle, J. C., & Davis, M. (2018). Thoughts for young Men: An exhortation directed to those in the prime of life. Ep Books.

Published by Jeff Chavez

Sinner saved by grace

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