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Chapter 12 - Knowing the enemy
It is not unusual for churches to avoid the subject of Satan. However, it can be beneficial to be aware of what Satan has done and is doing in setting the course of this world so that many of his traps can be avoided.
I was traveling in Europe once and on the train to Rome, I read a travel book that specifically described how some Gypsy thieves worked. A woman would hold a cardboard sign and a child would be with her to pick your pocket while you were distracted. I was in the Rome train station not even ten minutes when I encountered this exact scenario. One would think that Christians (with access to truth and wisdom) would also be so able to avoid worldly traps.
Paul writes Timothy to be patient with those that oppose him so that they might repent and come to a knowledge of truth and thus escape the snare of the devil. That truth is a way out of a snare is an interesting concept because Satan’s biggest weapon is the lie. In a lie he can get people to act against their own best interests.
The historical development of big corporations and big government could be the result of his maneuvering the world to increasing collectivism such that he might be able to control the whole world. Since he is unable to be everywhere at once, he needs to leverage his influence through hierarchical systems. Seeing these organizational systems not in the positive light of efficiency, but in the light of truth as to how they harm people, can help the Christian with wisdom avoid being ensnared.
Christians are “sealed” with the Holy Spirit and are thus unable to be possessed by Satan or one of his demons. However, this does not mean that Christians cannot be deceived and even used to advance the plans of Satan. Therefore truth is the best defense against Satan. When presented with any proposition, it is best to subject it to an evaluative process to see if there is any deception that might be hidden in it.
What is known as prosperity Christianity or health and wealth Christianity would be reflective of Christians being deceived into advancing a plan of Satan. The appeal to greed, materialism, and a desire to acquire feeds the flesh, quenches the Spirit, and brings the name of Christ into disrepute.
There are many existing practices that can benefit from the scrutiny of one looking for error. Consider the frequently cited advocacy of tithing. There is a huge financial reason to promote this idea in churches. However, this practice was meant to provide agricultural support for the tribe of Levi in Israel because they had no land allotment. To brandish it as a manipulative tool to Christians today is cruel and also of the flesh.
Those things done in the flesh follows after the world and makes the cross of Christ of none effect. Consider two big lies of Satan, evolution (there is no God) and relativism (there is no right or wrong). Satan has been particularly effective in divorcing Western Civilization from God.
In the 1950s people might get into a fistfight over politics or religion. This was not so admirable in itself but was reflective of a time when what people thought was right or true was important enough to stand up for. Today one of the biggest social crimes that can be committed is to make someone feel bad. This is reflective of the degree to which truth has been replaced by feelings as what has the highest value.
Now what is emerging is a new kind of “truth” in that any opposition to lies is often considered to be anti-diversity and not to be tolerated. One might consider that Satan needed the United States to be at least superficially Christian for a period of time so that he could achieve the cohesiveness a degree of sublimated selfishness could produce so that a stable society could provide the technological tools he needed to try to enslave the world. Having achieved this he now has those voices that were allowed to be proclaimed as free speech archive a majority so that the can silence the voices of those that let them in in the first place.
Since parents and churches have no clear idea of what Satan is actually doing, they are not able to instruct their children as to how to avoid the lies of Satan that are embedded in the larger world. An awareness of what Satan is doing should be basic for any church that claims to stand for truth.
2Co 2:11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
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