Something original please!
Okay, so I’m not the creator of this undertaking nor do I presume I could ever top some of the essays that have been written along these lines, primarily C.S. Lewis’ classic, Screwtape Letters. However, after seventeen years in full-time pastoral ministry and the last fourteen in the same location as a lead pastor, I have increasingly gained a greater understanding for the working of God within His church. I have also become more intuitive to the diabolical schemes of the Enemy. I very rarely experience Satan’s often-assumed overt attacks accompanied with a raised pitchfork and the smell of sulfur. Yet, I have witnessed his subtle covert operations to thwart the work of God.
Forgive me for being a bit biased and I do not wish to appear overconfident, but I do not believe Satan will pull our church down through his conventional and often expected means. The people at Grace Bible Church enjoy serving. They uphold moral living and strong marriages. They believe all glory should be directed toward our risen Savior. They want to depend on God’s strength for ministry success. They esteem pure doctrine. They champion Scripture as the final authority. And they know false teaches from the pulpit down to the nursery must not be tolerated. By God’s grace, these are solid convictions to affirm and uphold. They do not make us impenetrable to assault, but they are heavily fortified defenses to keep the Enemy at bay.
Every good wrestler is taught to use his opponent’s strengths against him. He might not be able to go toe-to-toe with the moves of his challenger, but he can take those moves and find a way to use them to his own advantage. The Enemy is no different. Therefore if I were Satan, I wouldn’t attack these aforementioned strengths of the church head-on. I would find a way to let the church continue these strengths, but perform them in such a way whereby they think they are accomplishing the purposes of God, but in reality are doing nothing to infringe upon my kingdom.
Therefore if I were Satan, this is how I would attack Grace Bible Church:
- I’d let them keep their corporate prayer meetings, despite that being the greatest threat to my kingdom. Rather than having the leaders remove it from the church calendar or convince the church that it’s not important, I’ve found much easier and effective to simply allow people to come up with their own myriad of excuses to justify why their participation is unnecessary.
- I’d let them continue in their spiritual disciplines. They can teach the Bible and hold fellowships and sing all the songs they want. They can even quote Scripture like the Son of Man. But what I will do is instill a setting that fosters Christianity in a comfortable package. Then anything to do with persecution, risk, effort, accountability, change, repentance and discipleship will then be resisted.
- I’d let them give financially, but I keep it from being too extravagant. First, I’ll let them hold to a degree of transparency and accountability with each other in all areas other than how they spend our money. Then I’ll teach them because the tithe is no longer in effect, that giving at or over ten percent is legalistic. If I can keep these two parameters in check, money can still be their god and no one’s conscience will ever squirm.
- I’d let them keep their high standard for truth and passionate zeal in defense of the Gospel. But what I’ll do is teach them that all doctrine must never be compromised. I’ll have them write all their convictions in concrete and dare each other to cross the line. And then when there is a disagreement on anything, the debates will be hostile and the division will be inevitable.
- I’d let them have a great youth group. I can let a fraction of a percent of the teens in their region leave my sway as long as I can maintain control over the masses. Provided they keep their faith in their church and among their Christian families, my kingdom of future warriors stands undaunted.
- I’d let them keep their meetings and planning sessions and committees. They can do all the work they want as long as it doesn’t translate into spiritual productivity. They can talk about the places and plans and procedures for evangelism, just as long as they don’t evangelize! I’ll get them to micromanage church planning. I get them to think people need to give their opinion on everything. I’ll get them to do a whole lot of stuff and get worked-up over a whole lot of stuff that seems important. Yet despite their feelings of service and fulfillment, nothing of spiritual value will ever be accomplished.
- I’d let them believe that they are doing a great job in changing the world. I can overlook the occasional distribution of a tract or an invitation to the church, but I need them to stay out of the digital world where I am doing my finest work in changing worldviews and building up unchallenged young stars for my kingdom.
- I’d let them grow in biblical knowledge. I’m even willing to lose a few battles on the sanctification front as well. All I need to do is get them to turn their focus off Jesus and upon one another. If I can succeed in that area, I’ll produce some of my favorite dispositions such as pride, self-righteousness, judgmentalism and legalism. If I can get a church trending in that direction and I’ll be sure to win the war.
- I’d let them emphasize their efforts on the Lord’s Day. If God is only a few hours in the church on Sunday morning, it’s a mere fraction in comparison of the time they’ll have with me. I can live with a great family committed to a great church service as long as personal and family worship stays out of the picture.
- I’d let them have leaders and concerned members of the church help the downcast. However, I will send them people that either need to repent, but never plan to do so or people very dependent that simply will not depend upon Jesus. The counselors in the church will believe they are doing their spiritual service, all the while they will be discouraged, depleted and decommissioned from more important matters.
Yep, if I were Satan, this is how I would attack Grace Bible Church.
So what do you think? Am I missing anything?
“No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14). “So that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes” (2 Cor. 2:11). Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Eph. 6:11).