Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start #3379

Jump Start # 3379

2 Corinthians 2:11 “so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.”

  I don’t know if I remember any period in my life when I have seen so many congregations under attack. Troubles about leadership, misunderstandings, hurt feelings, accusations, slander, marriage issues—the list is long and the pain is great. Brethren are hurting. Satan seems to be running free among God’s people. And, in the course of these things, some are becoming discouraged. Some are confused. Some are leaving. Some are quitting for good. The war is definitely on.

  Paul recognized the great power of Satan. He understood that Satan could easily get the upper hand. He wanted Satan to have no advantage over God’s people. Paul knew that Satan had many weapons and plans. We are not ignorant of his schemes, the apostle told the Corinthians.

  Like a batter facing a Major League pitcher, he knows what he is capable of throwing. He has watched films. He has studied him. Slider. Fastball. Sinker. He knows. He’s ready. And, so it must be for the people of God today, especially shepherds.

  If Satan gets the upper hand, if Satan takes an advantage, there will be destruction that follows. Getting a foothold in a congregation is what Satan would love. Having someone do this dirty work. Find a puppet which Satan can pull the strings. He’ll use slander and malice to splinter our fellowship. He’ll introduce false ideas through the pulpit. When he gets the church fighting each other, the lost will have an excuse to remain lost. God will not be glorified and Satan will smile.

  Some lessons for us:

  First, times change and so do the tactics of Satan. Those who are stuck in the past will not even notice Satan walking right past them. The “isms” of long ago, Calvinism, Premillennialism, Atheism, Deism, Humanism—the stuff of great lectureships are not the tools of the devil today. No one stays awake thinking about those things. Satan has moved on to other attacks. Have we noticed?

  Second, getting a church stuck on autopilot is a sure way to grab them without anyone noticing. Little alertness. No watching. No steadfastness. Asleep at the wheel, complacent, going through the motions, and Satan can have a hay day. We need to be challenged. We need to be busy in the Lord’s work. We need to be involved in each other’s lives. We need to remember our purpose and our mission.

  Third, thinking more of self than the Lord is another way Satan can have his way with us. What do I get out of this? What’s in it for me? Why should I? Me. Me. Me. When that is the focus of our lives, Satan has already hung curtains in our heart. It’s not about me. It’s not about what I feel. It’s not about what I think. It’s all about the Lord. It’s always about the Lord. Here’s what I think, doesn’t count. Here’s what the Bible says ought to be the words from our lips.

  Fourth, resisting the Devil still works. Satan will run if we put up a fight through the Lord. Satan only gets an advantage when we allow that. When we drink deeply from worldliness and the culture of today, Satan gains a foothold. But when we draw a line, stand with Christ with conviction, courage and faith, Satan doesn’t have a chance.

  Yes, churches have troubles. They have troubles, because people have troubles. As long as we keep seeking the will of God, Satan will be kept outside where he belongs. Patience. Love. Communication. Open Bibles. Those are the tools that will get us through tough times.

  In the end, God wins. We know how this will turn out. Will we be with God? That’s the question.