Let me get right to the point: the devil wants to hinder your worship of God this weekend, so he will work to distract and deceive you. The Apostle Paul, though, reminded us that we are not ignorant of the devil’s devices (2 Cor. 2:11); in fact, we wrestle against Satan and his forces (Eph. 6:12). Peter also told us that the enemy seeks to devour us (1 Pet. 5:8).
Below is a simple way to remember what the enemy does – and to evaluate where he might be working in your life. Review this list, confess your weak areas, and turn again to Christ as you prepare for worship this weekend.
He wants us to:
- Mess up in sin. If he can deceive us and then lead us to hide like Adam and Eve did (Gen. 3:8), he’s at least temporarily won. Sin harms our relationship with God, blocks our prayer, and robs us of joy. The enemy delights in the sinful secrets of our lives.
- Give up the fight. Perhaps you hear his voice today: “Why should you keep following a God who’s letting these things happen to you? Why not just give up?” Job heard similar words from his own grieving wife when their world fell apart (Job 2:9), but still he worshiped God (Job 1:20, 2:10).
- Get puffed up with pride. This problem is at the core of the rest of these problems (Prov. 16:18). We make ourselves our own God, set our own rules, and walk our own path. Then, we also think we can handle our spiritual battles. All of these are nothing less than idolatry of the self.
- Muck up the gospel. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16), so the enemy plants false teachers in the church (2 Cor. 11:13-15). He often does so slyly, subtly invading the church rather than blatantly elevating his own teachers. They may look and sound good, but they are “deceitful workers” among the people of God.
- Split up our relationships. This strategy is hardly new. The enemy enticed Adam to turn on Eve in the Garden of Eden (blaming her for their sin in Gen. 3:12), and he then turned brother against brother in Genesis 4:1-16. It’s no wonder Jesus prayed so many times that His followers would be one (John 17).
- Shut up rather than tell the gospel. God has given us one plan to reach our neighbors and the nations: believers are to tell the gospel and make disciples (Matt. 28:18-20, Rom. 10:9-17). If we never get around to proclaiming the good news, a lost world remains in the enemy’s kingdom.
Where is the enemy winning in your life? In the life of your church? Let us know in the comments section how we might pray for you and your church family as you prepare for worship this weekend.