Scripture warns us that Satan literally has a “strategy” for our defeat. Sadly, many times we reduce the person and reality of the devil to a caricature. A cartoonish character replete with pitchfork and horns who is one-dimensional and predictable. But Satan is far more intelligent and creative than we could ever imagine. We should never forget that we, as the sons and daughters of God, are squarely in his crosshairs on a daily basis. He wants to make us impotent. He can’t have our souls, but he sure wants us ineffective.
Here are some quick thoughts that might remind you how diabolical his subtle plans for us can be.
ü If Satan can’t make you bad, he’ll try to make you busy. Charles Stanley shared that statement with me at breakfast one morning and I’ve never forgotten it. Busyness and business can be great threats to our personal time with the Lord and that daily communication with Him we need and which we should crave.
ü If he cannot make you fail, he’ll try to make you frustrated. So much of ministry can be frustrating. We want faster results. Circumstances slow us down. Frustration wears on an individual until eventually we feel like we’re about to explode. In causing frustration, Satan feeds everything from pride (I don’t deserve this) to anger (this is not fair!). Satan couldn’t stop Elijah on Mount Carmel, but he certainly turned him into a depressed messed through the attacks of Jezebel.
ü If he can’t impact your actions, he’ll go after your attitude. So many times I’ve watch ministers of Christ simply “going through the motions” of ministry because their attitude has been soiled. They do the right actions, but their spirit is inconsistent with the character and nature of Christ. It becomes a begrudging form of services that blesses neither the recipient or the servant. Remember the last time we see Jonah in Scripture? He’s just been used of God to spark the greatest revival in civilization to that time and yet, he’s sitting in the hot desert sun whining, complaining and joyless. Sometimes, we miss the blessing of what God is doing because we are demanding things of God that are not ours to demand and then we let it impact our attitude. (It is no small irony to note that we never hear of Jonah again from that point.) ü If he can’t steal your job, he’ll try to steal your joy.
There is a difference between joy and happiness. Happiness relies on circumstances and things. Joy is internal and relies on relationships and truths. What a pity to go through life doing a perfunctory job without knowing spiritual joy. Paul reminds us that he found it possible to have joy and to rejoice and to be contented in ALL circumstances as God rules everywhere and at all times.
Let’s not give Satan any victories at all in our life. Beware! He’s got a plan for all of us and it isn’t good.