“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Ephesians 6:10-12 (NIV)
A few years ago, a friend of mine spent several weeks in Africa visiting some of the most remote villages; places that have only begun to hear the Gospel. His stories were filled with examples of how Satan’s grip on the people of that land was apparent… not because of the depravity that he witnessed, but because he saw, first hand, Satan’s power and how he uses it. Satan is very much alive and these stories proved it. A few days later, my daughter asked a very interesting question: Why doesn’t Satan do those things here? My first response was to say that just because we haven’t personally witnessed such atrocities doesn’t mean they don’t occur. But, after contemplating it a little further, the unsettling truth burdened my heart: Satan doesn’t wield that kind of power in our society because he doesn’t have to… and why waste that energy when he can so easily achieve his goal by much simpler means.
Satan is subtle and we know from Scripture that he’s the father of lies (John 8:44). His arsenal is massive and his deceits are endless. He distracts us with technology. We waste our time using it. We waste our money buying it. We see the fabric of our families deteriorating because of it. Our time together is no longer punctuated with meaningful conversations, time spent sharing life. Instead, we see example after example of people sitting together… each lost in their own gadget. We watch television shows and read magazines that glorify the depravity of man; that set up a false idea of beauty and worth for our children. We read books that demoralize women and promote unhealthy relationships. We find every way possible to escape from our reality… but the problem is that our escapes are leading to the destruction of our society. Satan wants our eyes off Jesus… and he’s getting his heart’s desire without very much effort at all.
I’ve come to believe there’s another reason for Satan’s subtlety in our society. He knows that any blatant display of his power would drive every last one of us into our churches, into our Bibles. And this is the last thing he wants. If you really think about it, he has us exactly where he wants us. Many of us go to church. We even serve our churches and communities. We also pray and read our Bibles. But, we also watch, and engage in, countless hours of things that pollute our minds and cloud our judgment. We spend way too much time “friending” at the expense of damaging, and even losing, true relationships. We fill our minds with fantasy stories that lead us down a mental and spiritual path that is neither healthy, nor glorifying to our Creator. Because we do the former, we forget how damning the latter is. Satan is subtle and his subtlety will lead to our destruction..
Do you find yourself involved in one of Satan’s subtle distractions? If so, spend time asking God for His help. Sometimes we try to do things on our own, relying on the false security of will power… forgetting the strength of Satan. But, God can always overcome.