Have you ever given much thought to the tactics of Satan? Surely you know that the Bible describes him as the “adversary” of God’s children. That description is found in First Peter 5:8 and begins with this admonition: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” But this adversary is much smarter than any other opponent you’ve ever faced.
His shrewdness lies in the fact that he rarely comes to God’s people with a straight forward attack. Are you curious about his strategies? Well, I think Satan himself, rarely does his bidding all by himself. I mean, don’t expect to receive a Monday afternoon text message from Satan himself telling you to “just give up.” Rather, he employs demons and fallen “spiritual agents from the very headquarters of evil” to cunningly and covertly come at us. So, I gave a little thought to how I would advise the headquarters of evil if I were employed by the adversary. Isn’t that just about the worst way ever of playing the devil’s advocate?!
If I were a demon working for Satan, I think I’d give up on trying to talk Christians out of Christ and salvation. Instead, I’d gently lure them into thinking that Christianity is only about attending a worship service once a week and that the other 167 hours in a week were theirs to do with as they please. I’d provide them with an abundance of good reasons why they should never attend those extra prayer meetings and Bible studies. I’d find a way to convince them that it’s not their responsibility to witness and talk with others about their spiritual condition. Instead, I’d try hard to turn their attention towards each other in their local churches. I’d get them so inwardly focused that disunity would be their prevailing characteristic. Yeah, If I were working for the devil I’d gladly devise a scheme to widely promote a half-hearted and mediocre form of Christianity. This would do more to harm than any straightforward and outward assault.
But wait, this is a glimpse of what’s already happening in the American Church! Many Christians believe they are okay, yet their lives are powerless and they have lost their effectiveness. Some act as if they’ve done God a favor by attending a Sunday morning worship service. Bible study and prayer happens so infrequently in their personal lives that they no longer hunger to experience them in group settings. Such non-sanctified living has easily led to the absence of personal witnessing. I mean, what is there to witness about if your life is no different than the rest of the world. It’s easily seen in some congregations that they actually think their struggle is with each other as they wrestle with personality conflicts that lead to disunity.
Did you notice that little word, may, in First Peter 5:8? That English word has to do with permission. From the observations, I’ve already made it does appear that with a slow form of indifference, permission has been granted to the adversary to devour. But it’s about time that his permission was revoked! God’s people should rise up and go back to God in the holiness of prayer. The Bible must be more than just the pastor’s sermon book. It should be our book of daily devotions to guide us in following Christ. Christians need to cull out the weekly worthless activity that makes one weakly. And make worship services, group prayer meetings, and Bible studies a priority. A return of good works for the One who saved us by grace is also our great need. I encourage you to revoke the adversary’s oppression in your life by taking some action to resist him.
I’ll end this devotional post with a few affirmative words for the Christian reader.
God does want to revive His Church in America, but it starts with you. You can live in victory over the adversary. Get started in the right direction by reading the Bible book of James a few times over the next week and listen for the Holy Spirit to speak to you. Then begin to speak with Him about the items that He brings to your attention. You will find that once you begin to draw near to Him, He will draw near to you. If I can do anything to help you in your quest to overcome the adversary and live in the victory that overcomes the world, be sure to let me know.