“I have done this so that we may not be taken advantage of by Satan. For we are not ignorant of his schemes.” -2 Corinthians 2:11
Satan is the great enemy of mankind, especially God’s people. In fact "Satan" means "adversary." The Bible refers to the devil by a number of names and descriptions. He is seen as "the anointed cherub" (Ezek. 28:14), "the ruler of demons" (Luke 11:15), "the ruler of this world" (John 16:11), "the god of this world" (2 Cor. 4:4), and "the prince of the power of the air" (Eph 2:2). He is identified as a great dragon, a roaring lion, the vile one, the tempter, and the accuser. He is formidable, cunning, and powerful. Paul writing to the Corinthian church realized that Satan was working overtime in the church and emphasizes that we are to be vigilant and alert to his subtlety. Satan’s advantage is based upon one being ignorant of his devices or his methods. The devil’s devices by which he seeks to deceive God’s children, defeat God’s church, destroy God’s work, and denigrate God’s Word.
The goal is simple get us to major on the minors and to minimize the majors. Satan seeks to distract us by getting us to focus our attention on the material instead of the spiritual, on methods rather than the message, on men rather than God. (1 John 2:15-16, 2 Timothy 2:4; Colossians 3:2)
One of Satan’s most potent weapons is trying to get you into a feeling of discouragement, so maybe you’ll give up. Discouragement is a lack of hope usually after a major victory. Many are confronted with it on Monday after a break through on Sunday. The Devil wants you to believe that things are worse than what they are and that you are the only one who cares. That is exactly how Elijah felt the day after his victory on Mt Carmel. (Deuteronomy 1:28, Numbers 21:4-5; Galatians 6:9)
Disillusionment is the state of being disenchanted or disappointed by unfulfilled expectations. (Proverbs 13:12, Philippians 1:21)
· “If you expect perfection from people, your whole life is a series of disappointments, grumblings, and complaints. If, on the contrary, you pitch your expectations low, taking folks as the inefficient creatures, which they are, you are frequently surprised by having them perform better than you had hoped.” - Bruce Fairfield Barton (1886-1967).
Perhaps this should be labeled as unholy discontentment, unholy discontentment is being angry with God for the hand you have been dealt. (Numbers 21:5-6, 1 Corinthians 10:10, Philippians 2:14, James 5:8-9, Colossians 3:17)
· “A godly man wonders at his cross that it is not more, a wicked man wonders why his cross is so much.” – Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment
V. Discord (division)
A very simple but effective tool used by the enemy to destroy churches. Usually this takes the form of pettiness and is accompanied with unholy discontentment. (1 Corinthians 1:10-11, Romans 12:3-5, Philippians 1:27)
· The problem with the church today is not corruption. It is not institutionalism. No, the problem is far more serious than something like the minister running away with the organist. The problem is pettiness. Blatant pettiness. – Mike Yaconelli in The Wittenburg Door
The devil loves when believers do not fellowship: he loves it when we distance ourselves from each other. (Hebrews 10:25, 1 Corinthians 12:18-21, 1 Corinthians 12:25, 1 Peter 5:8)
“Don’t give the Devil an opportunity.” –Ephesians 4:27