I was recently caught off guard by Paul’s words to that church in Corinth when he writes in 2 Corinthians 2:11:
“so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.”
Paul and the Corinthians, (and therefore all Christians), are to know that Satan is real and is working. And not only is he at work, but he is witty and strategic at the work he does!
In John 10:10 Jesus tells us that Satan “comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” That is it! Satan is bad. He is continually working hard to ruin things. He is a thief. He is a killer. He is a destroyer. He has his sight set on us, and he is using wit and strategy to maximize his efforts. Peter says it like this “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
Satan is against God. He does not want people to know God’s love. He doesn’t want people to love God. And he doesn’t want people to love each other. Let that sink in for a moment, you have an opponent! Satan is against you. He is against us. He wants to mess you up. He wants to mess us up. Satan wants to mess our church up.
Satan would love for our church to have some dissension and division. He would love for some of us to take our eyes off Jesus and the cross. He would love for us to forget that all of this is about forgiveness. He would love for you and I to forget the eternal perspective. He would be so happy if you and I would forget that we are forgiven of all our sins and therefore able to forgive others. He would love for us to forget that He loves us with an everlasting love. He would love for us to forget that earth is not our home. He would love for us to get so distracted that we no longer have confidence that Jesus has “overcome the world.” He would love for us to doubt that “greater is he who is in us than he who is in the world.”
Satan wants our homes to be hostile instead of a place of refuge. He wants our marriages to be cold, distant, and weak instead of strong, united, and uplifting! He wants our church family to be hurting and with no healing. He wants us struggling with no community. He has evil and wrong plans to hurt us! Satan does.
But we have Jesus. “He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” (2 Cor. 5:5) He is able. He is stronger. He is greater. And we know that. We are not ignorant of what Satan is about. So, let’s love each other. Let’s forgive each other. Let’s be a real church strengthened by a real Savior!