Satan uses what I call “the Tare technique” constantly. I have seen it most often in relationships. A Christian will pray to God for a husband or a wife, and immediately someone who looks like a great candidate for the position will appear — but there will always be something a little wrong with that candidate.
One friend of mine that I’ll call John had this happen to him. He suddenly grew serious in his spirit about having a wife, and began to pray with unusual fervency — the kind that comes to pass. Lo and behold, a wonderful woman appeared immediately in his life. John said that his would-be wife was absolutely perfect for him — except that she wasn’t Christian!
He threw his heart into the relationship anyway, trusting that she was sent from God in answer to his prayer, and ended up absolutely wrecked. She took four years of John’s life, and totally destroyed him — he ended up without his career, his car, or even an apartment. He had to start over in life, but now he was in a place where his faith was shaken and he no longer trusted God.
I had something similar happen. I prayed fervently for a husband and knew that God had heard my prayer. Immediately (I mean like a day later or so) a good male friend of mine I’ll call Paul became suddenly enamored with me and just knocked the socks off of me with his courtship. He was very good at it. Too good.
As he wooed me, I learned about him. I learned about his family. I learned that Paul wasn’t a Christian, and that his family had some major trouble (notably, his dad was a serial womanizer and although Paul was disgusted by his behavior, I found out that my would-be-beloved himself had gone through countless girlfriends in his young life). These were two major red flags that I just could not ignore.
I wasn’t fooled. Although I was head over heels in love with him, I let him go. I knew that he couldn’t have been the right man because he wasn’t even Christian, and God would not break His own Word: and He said do not be yoked with an unbeliever!
Now don’t get me wrong; I’ve heard lovely stories where a Christian met a non-Christian, and after being reassured by God to go ahead with it, married their beloved and just a year or two into the marriage was rewarded when their spouse was saved and became a vibrant, excited believer. God knew that would happen. But this wasn’t the case with me, or with my friend John. I knew in my spirit that something was off with my beau; I knew that something was hidden that I could not see. I never found out what it was (except the obvious problem that Paul was a womanizer and probably would have cheated on me) because I didn’t give it that chance. I decided I didn’t feel like getting wrecked. I walked away.
At first I felt confused and disappointed. I’d asked God for a husband and instead this fake husband, this trick, this tare had shown up. Had God tricked me? Had God played a joke on me? I felt lonely and forlorn. I felt sure I’d never get a husband, that my one shot was spent.
A few weeks later, suddenly another male friend of mine became interested in me (to both of our surprise). He was a gentle, quiet, kind person. I had ignored him because he was very easygoing and respectful, almost to the point of being standoffish. Suddenly we became interested in one another out of nowhere. One night while talking we got into a deep conversation and to my amusement he started grilling ME on whether I was saved or not! I laughed and ended up marrying him. He was the second one to arrive — just a few weeks after the false one.
The Bible says that Satan comes and plants tares in the wheat field in the middle of the night, and that these tares are people. God tells His angels to let the tares grow alongside the wheat, because removing the tares would hurt the wheat. We often don’t realize that people we rely upon, members of our own family sometimes, are actually Satan-planted tares. We are blinded by our affection for these friends and family. But the wise in God know the Antichrist Principle: that when God prepares a place for a new person to step into our lives, Satan will always shove his false candidate in there first.
I have also seen this happen with business. God prepares someone’s heart and life for a business; He gives them the ideas, connects them with the right strategies, the right education, gets them ready to meet their partner — and boom, overnight a tare steps in. The tare looks like the right business partner, but there is always something very odd about this person — something we can easily see, but often choose to ignore (like the fact that they are not Christian, or they have a drinking problem, or something obvious like that). Being unwise, most of us just grab the first candidate that shows up because we just naively assume that God sent this person. But we must be wise.
God is not the only one who is capable of doing things in the Earth.
Satan is like God in only one way: he never changes. If he is known to use a certain strategy to get things done, he can be relied upon to always use that strategy whenever the opportunity for it presents itself. Jesus outlined his basic strategies for us in John 10:10 — “The thief comes not but that he may steal, and kill, and destroy…”
So Satan’s first attempt will always be to steal. If he can’t do that, he will kill. If he can’t do that, he will destroy; utter annihilation. But usually he doesn’t get that far because the stealing works.
It’s time for the Church to grow a little wisdom, and stop being taken for a ride. If the time is ripe for someone to step into your life and like a flash from heaven someone almost perfect appears — maybe too fast — step back and take a good look. Are there red flags? If so, decline. This is a tare. It may be excruciatingly hard to turn this person down because they will be tempting — but go with your gut. If something isn’t quite right, if something feels shifty or hidden or unsure, just wait. God rewards patience. The truly right person might be just around the next corner, and you don’t want to miss your Heaven connection because you were content with the imitation.