“When I forgive … I do it in Christ’s presence because of you, in order to keep Satan from getting the upper hand of us; for we know what his plans are”.
2 Cor 2:10, 11 GNB
Churches are notorious for the conflicts that often rage. Different people have conflicting ideas about “what should be done”, the raising of funds, the development of buildings, the work (and pay) of ministers, and music. Trouble seems to be endemic. And those with a sense of pain at these developments often observe that “Satan is at it again”.
Paul was very conscious of the constant need to bring home to the members of the churches he served that Christ had to be made central. But frequently things went wrong because of the trouble-making activities of Satan. He was always at work, trying to get in, causing dissension and strife, spreading false teaching, fomenting jealousy, back-biting, unbelief and prayerlessness. It is amazing that the Christian church survived those early decades as all manner of different faiths competed for allegiance, and human frailty was ever evident. Paul was adamant – he had to be emphasizing Christ continuously in order to outwit Satan. It could be said that on a human level, Paul’s towering faith in Jesus and his tireless efforts to build up the congregations in Christ are what ensured the church made progress. Eventually it became the official religion of the Roman Empire.
Always be afraid of Satan and his plans. He will worm his way in by a multitude of strategies. And he never tires. Only uplifting Christ will thwart this master-wrecker of churches. He is just as determined to throw you personally off-balance spiritually. Be sensitive and wide awake. Don’t let him start. He plans and never sleeps.
Lord, keep me ever watchful for the influence of Satan.