Summary: How can a Christian be a pawn of Satan? It’s easier than you may think. Learn about the schemes of the enemy and how not to fall prey to Satan’s devices.
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Nobody wants to be used by the enemy, especially not a Christian. Satan is a despicable character – the father of lies, the accuser of the brethren, the guy who comes but to kill, steal, and destroy. Before you became a Christian, Satan had you – sin separated you from God and you were destined to go where Satan will go one day: into the Lake of Fire for eternal torment.
In a sense you were his friend – although he certainly would never help you, unless it meant taking you farther away from God. But once you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior he became a true enemy. He now sets out to make you ineffective for God, burdened down with sin, guilt, worry, or calamity so that your ability to further raid his kingdom will be mitigated.
But far from a frontal assault – Satan rarely shows up in a red suit with a pitch fork. Most of the time he shows up disguised – as an “angel of light” Paul tells us in chapter 11 of this letter. Jesus told us about Satan’s character (here speaking to the Jews who’d rejected Him):
John 8:44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. 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.
So Satan comes not telling the truth, and not looking like his real self. In fact, he comes sounding like a believer, and looking like a believer. But the results are murder and death. Well meaning Christians have for centuries been mere pawns in Satan’s plan to ruin the church, the Bride of Christ, and to keep as many as possible from entering that relationship.
How does it happen? In a number of ways – but mostly I would say because
1. We look for things to make sense to us, rather than look for confirmation of them in the Word. How would Jesus act in this situation; am I acting in accordance with what I know of godly character or am I taking on the world’s values?
2. And we look for how things affect us, instead of what’s really going on around us in the spirit world.
Someone says “hey that person is a no good louse and we ought to get rid of them.” In reality the person’s pride was hurt and they were looking for a way to strike back – and by the time it ends the church is in ruins along with many lives.
Paul said in Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Yet we act like our struggle is against one another, so we argue and fight and get hurt – and do the desire of our enemy.
Now we could go into great detail on this subject – but for the purposes of today’s study in chapter 2 of 2nd Corinthians, I want to talk about four ways in which we can be used by Satan or be used by God. The first is contained in verses 1-4.
Bring down the hammer vs. seek unity through love
2:1 So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you. 2 For if I grieve you, who is left to make me glad but you whom I have grieved? 3 I wrote as I did so that when I came I should not be distressed by those who ought to make me rejoice. I had confidence in all of you, that you would all share my joy. 4 For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.
As we mentioned last week, Paul became very concerned over the situation in Corinth after his first letter. While some responded, others put their backs up and rallied even more around false apostles who challenged Paul’s authority as an Apostle.
Paul would have been within his rights to come down hard on the Corinthian church – actually a series of small home fellowships rather than one large congregation – but he didn’t. Instead he wrote another letter, an attempt to reach out before it was too late.
Instead of a tyrant, Paul says he had “great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears.” This truly reflects the heart of God. I remember Jesus standing before Jerusalem desiring for them to come under his wings for protection – but they would not – so Jesus wept.