Paul warns us to be aware of the devil’s schemes against us (2 Corinthians 2:11). Peter describes Satan as a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour (1 Peter 5:8). Sometimes Satan tries to overpower us as a lion would to its prey. Other times he sets traps and lures us into them. Both ways are deadly. He doesn’t care which one works, so long as one of them defeats us.
Direct attacks are pretty easy to discern and we are motivated to fight against them. Hidden, subtle attacks are often more successful. These ways are not as violent and oppressive as direct attacks, but they are more dangerous because we are often unaware of what he is doing. Here are some lesser known but very effective tricks Satan or his demons use to try to defeat us.
Satan put doubts in Eve’s mind about God’s goodness and care (Genesis 3:4-5). He does that today as well. He plants doubts in our mind concerning God’s goodness to us, His fairness in His dealings with us, or perhaps His lack of providing something we thought we needed. When we entertain those thoughts our faith weakens and our trust shrinks. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Faith is our shield of faith (Ephesians 6:16). Undermining our faith weakens us in all our defenses and, like Eve, opens us up to attack and defeat. Be very careful what thoughts you allow into your mind, especially negative or critical ones about God.
We know pride was at the root of Satan’s fall (Isaiah 14; Ezekiel 28). Satan is characterized by pride (John 8:44). He knows it is a very effective weapon against us as well. He has an unlimited number of subtle ways of getting us to entertain prideful thoughts. What makes pride so extra dangerous is that it is a sin we can see in everyone else but we are blind to it in ourselves! Satan’s demons subtly sow thoughts into us to cause us to do or say things that will impress others so they think we are more spiritual (John 8:44). That’s what happened to Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:3). Even the slightest deception to have others think more of us can and will open the door to more and more pride and deception.
Deception of any form is something to watch out for, but something that is hard to see. Satan tried to discourage Paul and have him question God’s goodness to him by inflicting him with some kind of painful ailment that was demonic in origin, a “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7). Perhaps there is some form of physical or emotional pain you are carrying that God isn’t removing. Don’t become discouraged but persevere. God used this to teach Paul humility and trust (2 Corinthians 12:7-10) and He will use it to make you more like Jesus if you keep your eyes on Jesus and not the affliction. Trust Him with it.
It is very important to us to be able to share God’s love with relatives and friends. It can be quite discouraging when it seems God doesn’t answer our prayers because those we witness to don’t come to the Lord. Satan does this to frustrate and discourage us by blinding the eyes of those we are speaking to about Jesus and salvation (2 Corinthians 4:4). He seeks to keep them in bondage to sins that hinder their coming to God (Galatians 4:8). When we do get to share the gospel, demons have a way of stealing the truth from the minds of those we spoke to so they wouldn’t remember what was said (Matthew 13:19). So don’t be discouraged or give up. Persevere! God is still in control. Keep fighting your battle for their souls. Perhaps God is teaching you how to battle for others and how to persevere in faithfulness. Keep praying for them. Don’t let the enemy defeat you and those to whom you are witnessing. Pray to have his work against them bound and their eyes open to the truth of the gospel.
This week be alert to these subtle traps of the enemy. Ask God to open your eyes to any and all ways he is working against you. (continued in next blog)
2 Corinthians 2:11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.
John 8:44 4You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Ask God to show you if any of these tricks and traps are being used against you. If so, confess any sin you may have because of them and ask God to show you how to have victory over them.
Christian Training Organization