The Work of satan in the Believer
Among all of satan’s activities, than his combat with Christians. His aim is to hinder Christians from making advancements and rendering service. Satan has a number of devices to do this, therefore negatively affecting church growth, in numbers as well as maturity. But - satan fears you, especially if you know the Scriptures - so grow spiritually and take up your inheritance!
It is vital to remember that the Kingdom of God is established on the principle of confrontation. Jesus confronted demons, the religious and His enemies. “I will build My church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” Matt 16:18.
You must resist the devil. It is your will you must activate to do this, knowing that greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. We, as Christians, must know our enemy, “lest satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices” 2 Cor 2:11. The following are some of satan’s devices that he uses against the believer:
1. IGNORANCE OF SCRIPTURE
Satan wants to keep the believer away from God’s Word so that the believer cannot grow. Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of God’s promises and Truth. Jesus said: “You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free” John 8:31-32.
Unless we study and fill our hearts with Truth, we will remain in spiritual darkness and the deception of the devil. “And these are the ones by the wayside where the Word is sown. When they hear, satan comes immediately and takes away the Word that was sown in their hearts.” Mark 4:15.
2. DISTORTION OF SCRIPTURES
Satan will try to interest you in a distortion of Scripture or a distortion of Truth with a subtle twist. His motive is to pervert every good and beautiful gift of God. (Gen 3:1)
The devil can quote Scriptures, but it will always have a subtle twist to alienate you from God’s Truth and Will. It does not bring any joy or abundance of life.
Today, thousands of professing Christians denounce the accuracy of the Scriptures saying that it is not wholly inspired. These people advocate that the Bible only contains the Word of God but is not literally the Word of God. This is called liberal theology. Many theological seminaries where the bulk of denominational pastors go, teach that the Bible is not the final authority for doctrine and for conduct. Be careful of what you read! Deception is often subtle.
3. MARITAL PROBLEMS/SEX
A nation is as strong as its most basic building block, the family. Marriage is the oldest God-given institution; if a family is divided, a nation will be divided. The home has become a primary concern for the Church in recent years. And today, where divorce rates are shockingly high, marriage counselling forms a large percentage of the Christian counsellor’s work load.
Many of these problems stem from sexual difficulties within marriage. It is an almost certain fact that if husband and wife cannot enjoy their sexual partnership, their whole marriage is in danger. This statement is not an over-simplification. The sexual relationship forms the core of the marriage. God is aware of this – He gave each person a sexual attraction for their mate. It is important to recognise this aspect of our creation-design in accordance with God’s plan. Your marriage can be the closest thing to Heaven or to hell on earth. Satan will try and drive a sexual wedge between couples. “...Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to the husband...Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control” 1 Cor 7:2-5.
The devil is going all out to break down marriage. Guard yourselves against this, if you need assistance, ask your pastors – they have dealt with this before. You can also be enriched by numerous excellent Christian books on the subject.
“Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, lest satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices” 2 Cor 2:10-11.
5. YOUR THOUGHT LIFE
Your thought life (your mind) is satan’s primary target. If satan can conquer your thoughts, he will have defeated you. You are as spiritual as your thoughts (Rom 8:5-7).“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life”. Prov 4:23;
You must learn to combat thoughts as they can become strongholds in your life. “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Prov 23:7. Don’t commit mental adultery through what you watch, listen to, think of or engage in. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” 2 Cor 10:4-5.
There is nothing that satisfies the devil quite like lukewarm fellowship between a believer and Christ. Satan knows that the person who feels okay and thinks he is doing more than he actually is, cannot really hinder his work. You can’t tell a lukewarm Christian anything new because he thinks he already knows it all: You cannot tell a lukewarm Christian to change as he sees no advantage in changing his established traditions.
Different denominations can be likened to the same picture of Jesus placed in different frames. People get so caught up in arguing about the frames around the picture (the theology and doctrine), that they forget that it’s actually the same picture inside the frame. Jesus is real and personal, so let’s concentrate on Him.
Jesus is knocking at the door of the Church; He wants to come in (Rev 3:15-16). If you’re in a church that doesn’t love Jesus passionately, ‘get out’. John Wesley said “Only fire kindles fire”. Hell is real. Heaven is real. Jesus is real. We have been called to be daily worshippers, not weekly worshippers. We are not to be ‘submarine’ Christians (up on Sundays, down in the week).
7. UNCONFESSED SIN
Unconfessed sin is the devil’s opportunity. The longer you put off repentance, the harder it becomes to deal with. Don’t delay your repentance. The moment you sin, repent and receive forgiveness. Be quick to believe, quick to repent and quick to forgive.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! ... Humble yourselves in the sight of Lord, and He will lift you up” James 4:7-10.
8. TEMPTATION TO SIN
Sin is the property of the devil and his constant weapon to draw God’s people away in rebellion and disobedience. Satan uses our flesh and the world to attempt us to sin (1 John 2:15-17; Gal 5:19-21).
“Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” James 4:4.
Remember that it is not a sin to be tempted. “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is away by his own desires and enticed” James 1:13-14. Even Jesus was tempted by the devil. However, it is sin to yield and give in to the temptation. God promises us that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond anything we can endure (1 Cor 10:13). Resist the devil and he will flee (Jam 4:7).
Strife is rooted in pride (Prov 28:25). (1 Cor 3:1-3) “These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren” Prov 6:16-19.
God hates strife! Church leaders should be quick in dealing with strife and confronting the person(s) responsible. Strife must be dealt with very severely as it can tear a church apart (Gal 5:15). Your ears are not garbage cans. They were made to hear the Good News.
Beware of the tasty morsels of gossip and strife (Prov 26:21-25). Do not allow the guile of gossip and strife to defile your love and respect for others. Beware of gossip, especially when it denigrates the person and character of your spiritual leaders (Rom 16:17-18, Prov 1:8-15).
Implement the Word of God in your life and you need not fear the devil.