SATAN’S MAJOR SCHEME
The Bible says that Satan has schemes that he tries to use against believers:
2 Corinthians 2:11 “so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes”
I’ve learned it helps me to look at context of a verse (what’s before and what’s after it), to get the full meaning of what the Bible says. If you look at the context of this passage (the verse/s before it), Paul is talking to the Corinthians specifically about one of Satan’s major schemes:
2 Corinthians 2:10 “But one whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ”
The major scheme of Satan that Paul was warning the Corinthians against was unforgiveness. If you put verse 10 and 11 together then we can make this conclusion: if the Corinthians did not forgive each other, then Satan would be able to take advantage of them. His goal was to bring unforgiveness into the church and once that happened, he figured he could have a nice opportunity to take advantage of them and attempt to divide and tear apart the church of Corinth.
Satan is always using schemes to try to tear apart churches and families. Divisions in the church, divorces, parents forsaking children, children not talking to parents, family members hating each other, even abusing each other – Satan surely must have been quietly working his schemes in the background to cause these things – whispering lies to people to sow roots of unforgiveness, bitterness, judgment and hatred into the hearts of as many people as he could.
FEAR THE EVIL INSIDE, NOT THE EVIL OUTSIDE
There are some churches and Christians in these last days that are being persecuted around the world – threatened, thrown in jail, even killed. But I don’t believe this is Satan’s first choice. Those churches, if faithful are actually giving glory to God and laying up treasure in Heaven! Satan surely hates when churches are faithful in the midst of persecution. He is much happier with the multitudes of other churches which instead of being torn apart from the outside, are tearing themselves apart from the inside with things like unforgiveness, judgment, bitterness, strife and jealousy toward each other. He must be much happier to see a church fall into that than fall into persecution!
Jesus said, "there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man" (Mark 7:15). Here, Jesus was teaching us that we are defiled only by that which is inside us (that is, our sins). So no amount of outside pressure can force us to sin. Similarly, it is not what happens outside of a church or a family that affects its purity, but what happens inside. God’s name is profaned not when His people are persecuted or surrounded by evil, but when His people are the source of the evil itself.
We are in the last days, and are promised persecution (2 Tim 3:12). But I see that my concern needs to be keeping from falling into evil rather than keeping myself from being persecuted by evil.
The next time I feel little whispers in my head of things like “look what this person did, that's terrible", “look how ignorant this person is to not see your point of view”, etc. I will recognize that this is Satan using one of his main schemes to try to use me to tear my family or my church apart from the inside out. I can reject it as a lie and ask God to bind Satan’s hands so he cannot accomplish his work of division. If I recognize Satan attacking in the context of my church, I can unite in prayer with other brothers and sisters to bind Satan’s hands, and if in the context of my family, I can unite in prayer with my wife to bind Satan’s hands in my home (Matthew 18:18-20). I can pour out my heart to God asking Him to preserve all unity in my family and in my church.
When we recognize Satan trying to work, we must resist him - by watching, praying and asking God to deal with him and also to strengthen us. If we do this, not only will he surely flee (James 4:7), but we can also turn his works around on him so that he can’t accomplish anything, and instead of weakening our family or church, it will actually be stronger than before!
“When Satan comes knocking, send Jesus to answer the door.”