The Devil’s Devices

July 15, 2014


The Devil’s Devices

Maybe you don’t know it, but you have a terrible enemy.  II Corinthians 2:11 warns us about him. “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” His devices are sent to encourage us to do wrong and discourage us from doing right.  They are subtle, or unknown to us.  He is a highly intelligent being, fully capable of deceiving us.  If you don’t believe that Satan exists, that makes it even easier for him to deceive you.

The name “Satan” means adversary.  He is our opponent.  If you aren’t a child of God, he will do all he can to convince you that there is no God.  Many people unknowingly serve this adversary.  He uses them to sow seeds of doubt and unbelief in the minds of men.  They are the evil men and seducers mentioned in II Timothy 3:13.  “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”  Just because you don’t believe something doesn’t mean it isn’t true.  For the first 18 years of my life I didn’t believe in God.  My eyes were blinded as it says in II Corinthians 4:3-4.  “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:    In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

After we become a child of God we must still struggle with Satan.  Peter, speaking to believers, said in I Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” James, in James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

The prophet Elijah is an example of how we are to resist the Devil.  He stood before 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the groves and asked them “How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.” He proved that they were wrong when fire fell from God and consumed his sacrifice.  Joshua  Is another example of resisting the Devil.  He did something similar when, in Joshua 24:15 he said, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”  Many times in the Old Testament Satan deceived people by means of pagan gods.  In our day Satan uses other devices

In Matthew 6:24 Jesus tells us that we can’t serve two masters.  “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Men keep trying to serve two masters.  Most often they don’t realize they are doing it.  Satan prefers that it be that way.  Even many believers are double minded as it says in James 1:8.  “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”  Some think they are saved when they aren’t.  Many are saved, but they refuse to surrender to God like Romans 12:1 says we should.  “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”  If we aren’t completely sold out to God, we keep part of our life to do as we please.

There are some things that we find it difficult to surrender to God.  Among them are the following:

Our pride:  I don’t want to humble myself to do God’s will

Human comforts:  In countries outside the United States I have seen Christians walk in the cold and rain to go to  church.  When they get there they have to sit on hard wooden benches with no back rests.  Would you go to church under those conditions?  

     Our opinion:  If, through reading the Bible, we learn that what we always thought was acceptable is wrong, we have a hard time changing our opinion about it.

Our material possessions:  When the offering plate comes around at church it’s hard to give to the point that it becomes a sacrifice.

Our time:  Do you find it hard to give up doing what you want to do and take time to do what you know God wants you to do?  Many do.

Some like to think that the Devil’s devices are just big sins like committing a crime or committing the scarlet sin.  They reserve for themselves the right to commit what they call “little sins.” They don’t take seriously what are called the sins of omission.  That means they don’t do what they should.  The work God wants to do in this world is greatly hindered by sins of omission.  They are sins like those of refusing to sacrifice our time and money.  Satan wins when our churches are limited in what they can and should do because few church members are willing to sacrifice their time and money.

Satan does all he can to keep believers from becoming mature Christians.  In I Corinthians 3:1-2  the Apostle Paul lamented the fact that there were so many immature Christians in the Corinthian church.  “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.    I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.” In Hebrews 5:12-14 we read the following about immature Christians.  “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.    For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.    But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”  The immature Christian is lacking in Bible knowledge.  He has little self-discipline.  He can’t be counted on to take responsibility in the church.  They are what the Bible calls “carnal.” “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” (I Corinthians 3:1,3).

Satan often hinders and defeats us in the matter of pride.  We can serve Satan with our pride, but not God.  A proud believer doesn’t want to make a full surrender to God for fear of being criticized.   Satan often defeats a proud Christians by prompting someone to say to him, “Ah you think you are better than we are.” I have never known a genuine Christian to think that way, much less say it.  The guilty party is always the accuser.  The proud Christian isn’t willing to accept correction.  Many have left a church because some sincere believer tried to help them see that they were doing something wrong.

We are often quick to recognize it if someone tries to take advantage of us.  We say “It isn’t fair.” Satan, on the other hand, is so subtle that he can often take advantage of us and get away with it.  In our text, II Corinthians 2:11, we read “for we are not ignorant of his devices.” It appears as though Paul was saying that he was not ignorant of the Devil’s devices.  He was lamenting that that wasn’t true of many in the Corinthian church.  We need not be ignorant of the Devil’s devices.  Through study of the Bible we can learn about them.  By observing what happens to those who are overcome by Satan we can learn to be aware of his devices.  Don’t let Satan rob you of your testimony and of the joy of the Lord.

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