Author: Ron Graham
Satan employs various strategies to attack our faith and assurance in God. However, God always helps us to survive these attacks with our faith strengthened rather than destroyed. In this lesson we consider three of Satan’s strategies.
"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed." (1Peter 4:12-13, ESV).
Sorrow, pain, loss, and much injustice, are part of life. The Christian experiences these ordeals like everyone else, perhaps even more. These trials are an attack by Satan. Paul called one of his trials, "A messenger of Satan to buffet me" (2Corinthians 12:7).
God thwarted Satan by turning this trial to Paul’s advantage (to keep Paul from exalting himself). But please notice that God did not inflict this trial on Paul. It was Satan who was attacking Paul. God was giving Paul sufficient grace (2Corinthians 12:9).
"No temptation [trial] has overtaken you that isn't common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability to withstand, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." (1Corinthians 10:13).
"But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed." (2Peter 2:1-2, ESV).
Unfortunately not every person who comes into your fellowship is genuine. There are a few who wish to lead you astray from the truth and your faith in it. These people don't wear a badge saying, "False prophet". So we have to be on guard and strengthen ourselves with knowledge of the truth.
"You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen." (2Peter 3:17-18, ESV).
"Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls." (1Peter 1:8-9).
Our faith in Jesus is deeply personal. We not only believe in him, but we also love him. Satan does his best to weaken this deep personal relationship with Jesus. Satan knows that he needs to break down our personal love for Jesus and the self confidence we gain from our Lord. Satan tries to make us feel that there's some barrier between us and Jesus. This is all the easier for Satan to do because we can't see Jesus.
If we could see Jesus and say to him, "Lord, is everything all right between you and me?" and we could see him smile, and feel his hand on our shoulder, and hear his voice saying, "Sure, of course it is my child" —that would give us all the confidence we need. But that doesn't happen, and one of our trials is that we must love him, believe in him, and serve him, without the benefit of sight. We have to be always of good courage.
"Be always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord; for we walk by faith and not by sight" (2Corinthians 5:6-7).
1. Share Christ’s sufferings,
2. Know his word thoroughly,
3. Love him though you don't see him.