READING: 2 Corinthians 1-4
The enemy we face is a schemer (Eph 6:11), and today’s reading reminds us of that truth. In fact, Paul reminded us that “we are not ignorant of his designs” (2 Cor 2:11). On one hand, he strives to keep non-believers in darkness: "And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor 4:3-4). Primarily, he convinces non-believers of lies that keep them from turning to God’s grace. “You’re good enough to go to heaven.” “You’re so bad that God will never forgive you.” “There are many ways to God.” “You can always wait until tomorrow to follow Christ.” “A loving God won’t let anyone go to hell.” I could keep listing the lies, for the father of lies (John 8:44) is a master at propagating them.
On the other hand, the enemy seeks to promote division in the church. In 2 Corinthians 2, Paul spoke of a member that the church had excommunicated via church discipline, but who had returned in repentance. Paul warned the church that they must grant him forgiveness and “reaffirm [their] love for him” (2 Cor 2:8). Should they choose not to forgive the repentant brother, he would be overtaken by sorrow, and the church would be “outwitted by Satan” (2 Cor 2:11). The fallen but returning brother would be left to fight further battles alone — precisely the opposite of the way we’re to fight. When we don’t forgive others and refuse to foster unity in the church, we thus play into the devil’s hand.
Do you hear the strategy in these attacks? The enemy seeks to keep unbelievers in darkness while he strives to keep believers from being the light. Fighting, unforgiving, judgmental believers are hardly likely to tell the lost world about Jesus. And even if they did, the world would wonder why they should listen to people whose own lives apparently haven’t been changed by the gospel. The world then stays in the darkness, and the enemy delights in that reality.
- Pray for God to open the blinded mind of a non-believer you know.
- If you need to forgive someone who has repented of his or her wrong, do it. In God’s power, break the enemy’s hold on your life.
PRAYER: “God, I praise You for allowing me to see the truth. Use me to proclaim that truth to others caught in the darkness.”
TOMORROW’S READING: 2 Corinthians 5-9