Summary: A sermon describing five things Satan uses to influence Christians.
"The Devil's Design"
2Co 2:11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
Introduction: We are always talking about the plan that God has for our lives but would it surprise you to know that the Devil also has a plan for your life? The word that Paul uses in our text is translated "design" in the ESV. Now make no mistake, Satan can't make you do anything you don't want to do. There is no such thing as "...the Devil made me do it..." But what he can and does do is seek to use all his wiles, his ingenuity, his intelligence and his wit to influence our thinking and our emotions. I have a 5 point outline of the things that Satan has in mind for you and I. His plan for us includes these five things.
I. Doubt - To make you question God's word and His goodness;
This is the tactic that Satan used against Eve. He implied that if God was really good He would not have prohibited Adam and Eve from using all the trees of the garden.
Have you ever asked yourself what the book of Job is really all about? Can I tell what I think that it's all about? It's about doubt! Satan spends all of his time trying to get Job to doubt God's goodness. Pure and simple! Satan wants to get all of us to do the very same things. It is also the strategy that he used on Eve and so many others.
II. Discouragement - To make you look at your problems rather than at God;
ILL - There is a legend that the devil was having a yard sale. People were buying articles such as lying, cheating. etc. An article was on the end of the table that had a sign not for sale. What is this item that is not for sale, people ask. The devil said I use this a lot of times and found it to be very effective. It is called discouragement. If I can get people discouraged, then I can do almost what I want with them.
ILL -- Someone said, "Discouragement is dissatisfaction with the past, distaste for the present, and distrust of the future. It is ingratitude for the blessings of yesterday, indifference to the opportunities of today, and insecurity regarding strength for tomorrow. It is unawareness of the presence of beauty, unconcern for the needs of our fellowman, and unbelief in the promises of old. It is impatience with time, immaturity of thought, and impoliteness to God."
SOURCE: William Ward. Today in the Word, April, 1989, p. 18.
Do you know how to recognize discouraged people? Listen to their conversation for just a few minutes and it won't be long before you will hear them complain and criticize. These are sure signs of discouragement.
What is the key towards guarding our hearts against discouragement?
HOPE AND A GRATEFUL HEART
There is an old legend of a man who found the barn where Satan kept his seeds ready to be sown in the human heart. On finding the seeds of discouragement more numerous than others, he learned that those seeds could be made to grow almost anywhere. When questioned, Satan reluctantly admitted that there was one place in which he could never get them to thrive. "And where is that?" asked the man. He replied sadly, "In the heart of a grateful person."
(From a sermon by Stephen Sheane, "Remembering the Blessings" 1/19/2009)
III. Distraction - To make us focus on the wrong things, to divert our attention, to ultimately take our eyes off the Lord
ILL - Human Distraction: Humans specialize in distraction, especially when the task at hand requires intellectual heavy lifting. But in the era of e-mail, instant messaging, Googling, e-commerce and iTunes, potential distractions while seated at a computer are not only ever-present but very enticing. Distracting oneself used to consist of sharpening a half-dozen pencils or sipping coffee. Today, there is a universe of diversions to buy, hear, watch and forward, which makes focusing on a task all the more challenging. A growing number of computer scientists and psychologists are studying the problem of diminished attention. And some are beginning to work on solutions. Microsoft is developing software that can learn to gauge where and how a computer user is directing attention. One piece of software in development learns to assign a level of urgency to incoming e-mail messages while shielding people from messages they can see later - based on an assessment of how busy they are. (NY Times 2/10/05)
A man bought a new hunting dog. Eager to see how he would perform, he took him out to track a bear. No sooner had they gotten into the woods than the dog picked up the trail. Suddenly he stopped, sniffed the ground, and headed in a new direction. He had caught the scent of a deer that had crossed the bear's path.