Corinthians 2:11 so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.
Satan is a ruthless enemy. When Christians fail to realize, that our enemy is real, and seeks to do us real harm, we give him even more opportunity. But make no mistake – if you belong to Jesus Christ, you are hated for that very reason. Hated by one who is more vicious, wicked and desirous of your destruction than you can ever imagine. There is not one drop of mercy within him. He is bent on destroying God’s name whatever the cost. Especially since he intends YOU to bear that cost. He has two chief ends in mind: a. To keep men bound in unbelief. And barring that, b. To keep the Believer bound and ineffective. Now our text is plain, but I fear that our understanding of it is shallow. We get it that Satan “can” outwit us and that he has “designs” against us – or as the KJV puts it – “devices. But all too often we really are ignorant of those devices. Let me list 5 of his most potent weapons against those who are in Christ.
Satan’s first device, is DECEPTION. He keeps the lost from thinking about Heaven, Hell, personal moral responsibility, and what it will mean to face God in the judgment. And for both the lost and the Redeemed, He tries to make sin easy, sweet, pleasing to the eye, with palpable benefits and the promise of no downside – at least nothing too painful. It is all a lie. But we are so prone to it. How we need to have the “belt of truth” on at all times.
Next, he specializes in DISTRACTION. Anything to get all of us so tied up with business, life, pleasure, self-pity, temptation, even “ministry” – so that we care less for finding our supreme pleasure in God Himself – and put ANYTHING else in front of it. If he can get us texting one another while driving on the Autobahn – disaster is sure to come. As one wag said: “Why use murder when a deck of cards will do?” However simple, however captivating, however seemingly harmless – just distraction from seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness.
DIVISION. Oh how the enemy of our souls – but even more of our Savior – loves to foment unnecessary arguments, hurt feelings, self-righteous stands and outright hostility between those who are also in Christ’s Body. If Jesus said the World would know us as His by how we love each other – how is it we find it so easy to malign, gossip, misrepresent, grieve and divide? How Satan laughs as we do his work for him.
DISILLUSIONMENT. Once we have put some other Christian upon a pedestal they fall from, or think God has failed us somehow, or engage in the battle this life is and feel we ought to have only peace and fruitfulness, or see how it is that Christians are not perfect yet and that ministry is often thankless, unglamorous, tiresome, tedious and hard – how easily we want to throw in the towel.
DISCOURAGEMENT. More fall to this device than virtually anything else in the Wicked One’s arsenal. Beloved, we must guard our hearts here with such tenacity and constant vigilance – for nothing will find us more quickly put off track and ruined for service than this hideous monster called discouragement. The tendency to let the other matters weigh upon us – especially our own failures – to make more of our own sin than of Christ’s imputed righteousness, more of our weakness than His strength, more of our guilt than His imputed righteousness and more of our set backs than Heaven’s promise of gain, cannot be fought too hard against. The JOY of the Lord is our strength. None other. If it is gone – fight until you get it back.
DO NOT RELENT! Beloved, this is war. The stakes are eternal. The battle is real. The wounds really hurt. And our God is really God. Our every trust and hope must be in Him. Our victory in Christ IS assured.