What are some things that Christians ought to think about every day?
Last night Shawn Jefferies concluded our Fall Focus Series at Hickman Mills where I worship in Kansas City. Our theme has been BECOMING HOLY LIKE JESUS. He ended the series by sharing three things we ought to think about every day. He said, “The first one will surprise you.” It did!
Shawn suggested we ought to think about our greatest enemy, the Devil, every day.
Of course, our enemy is the devil. We all know that. We’re familiar with the Biblical metaphors. Roaring lion. Old serpent. Prince of Darkness. But think about him every day? Shawn said, “The devil thinks about you every day!”
If you are a Christian, he’s after you. He wants to entice you to sin. To fall away. To become unfaithful to the Lord. Or be unfruitful in His work. The Bible warns “so that Satan will not outsmart us. (We need to be) familiar with his evil schemes.” (2 Cor 2:11)
But what are his schemes to ensnare us? His tactics to tempt us? His devices to deceive us? When I think about Satan, I think about these three schemes he uses.
#1 HE AMUSES. Satan has always been the master of amusement, entertainment and pleasure. He deceived Eve into disobeying God by eating the forbidden fruit. It was good to eat and pleasant to the eyes.
The great deceiver says, “There’s no harm in looking!” Enjoying. Nibbling! He amuses us today through TV shows that glorifies immorality and carnality. He presents them as pleasurable and certainly preferable to abstinence, self-discipline and sobriety.
He piques our curiosity for carnal pleasures through the internet. Through movies he titillates the senses. Through romance novels he feeds the lurid imagination. Through music he mocks our morals.
#2 HE EXCUSES. Satan will allure you to find alibis for disobeying God’s Word, for neglecting his work, and for seeking the secular instead of the spiritual. “I’m too busy.” “I don’t have any talent” “Someone else could do a better job.” “I’m too young…too old.” “We’ve got other obligations.” “I’ll do more when the kids are grown” “I have more time, more money, when work slows down, when the economy gets better, when I retire..”
And the list of excuses goes on. And Satan smiles gleefully!
#3 HE INFUSES. Really? Can the devil do that? John 13:2 says the devil had entered the heart of Judas. He filled it with greed. Corruption. Betrayal, Of course, he can’t do it without your permission. But when our hearts are unprotected from his devices, and susceptible to sin, we are vulnerable to his sly schemes.
He infuses our minds with doubt. Doubting God. Doubting His Word. Doubting His promises
Discouragement is another scheme of the Satan. He loves to infuse our hearts with emotions that drain us. Wear us down. Cause us to give up. Or give out. Discouragement erodes our self-esteem, weakens our resolve, and diminishes our defenses.
This spiritual predator may fill our hearts with pride that leads to over confidence. Selfishness. Reliance of our own abilities rather than God’s. Pride precedes our fall. And is predictive of our failure.
How do we defeat the devil? Be aware of his schemes. Be alert to his tactics. Be conscious of his devices And then follow the advice of James.
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:7-8).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman