I’ve studied and written about spiritual warfare for many years. Occasionally, someone asks me about Satan’s primary ways of attacking God’s church. Here’s my answer, in no particular order:
- He promotes “powerless Christianity.” This one may be the most surprising one. He’s not alarmed by our activities, our experiences, or even our church growth – as long as we’re doing what we do in our own power more than God’s. In fact, he delights when we lead from our own ability rather than from our knees.
- He weakens the family. He first took this approach in the Garden of Eden, and his strategy hasn’t changed. When he works to destroy the family, the Ephesians 5 picture of gospel marriage is distorted – and children then pay the price. He’s pleased when he can affect multiple generations by the decisions of one.
- He encourages hidden sin. He, perhaps better than we, understands that unconfessed sin shuts down our prayer life, robs us of God’s blessings, and weakens the congregation of which we are a part. I dare not think about how many people in our churches every Sunday are following the devil in the secret compartments of their lives.
- He promotes division in the church. Again, his strategy isn’t new. Adam turned on Eve in the Garden. Cain killed Abel. Believers today turn against each other, striving to protect their turf, guard their power, or prove their “rightness.” The enemy knows we cannot threaten him when we’re shooting each other in the back.
- He infiltrates the church through false teaching. I use the word “infiltrate” intentionally, because seldom does Satan blatantly and forcefully move in through false teaching. He sneaks in through ways like a wayward small group leader or an unbiblical (and often unexamined) curriculum. We usually discover false teaching only after it’s taken root somewhere.
- He persecutes the church. We in the Western world may not yet feel his heat, but many of our Christian brothers and sisters around the world live under the shadow of the enemy’s wrath. I doubt we will forever escape this reality.
This battle is real, and the enemy’s attacks are continual, but here’s the good news: we need not live in defeat. God has already conquered our foe.
Which of these attacks is most evident in your church? Invite others to give their input as well, and let's pray for one another so the enemy does not even temporarily win.