“Satan is no fool. In fact, the Bible, from this perspective, chronicles a savvy enemy, lying in wait specifically for men, capitalizing on their ignorance of his proximity and presence to take them down.”
—Kenny Luck, Sleeping Giant
The enemy, Satan, kills off many good things, not by mortal wounding, but by inflicting blows to effectiveness. He is depicted as a sniper, cunningly identifying the target and shooting in such a way as to create maximum organ damage without actually making the kill. As a result, he disarms and disables many otherwise willing servants of God.
But the reality is even starker.
Satan often wounds his enemy—potentially passionate and otherwise devoted Christian followers of Christ—before they even begin ministry in the kingdom of God. And the thesis for men, here, regarding specifically the church, is even grimmer.
Seeing men as leaders—which is what they are—Satan goes even harder in his hunt to discourage, discredit, and disable them, especially within each man’s own mind. Women in ministry are targeted also. But in reality, Satan seems more content that the Church has thriving women’s ministries than men’s ministries. This is because Satan knows that men can mobilise and form into evangelistic armies that can make big differences in our world, culturally, for God.
Satan knows that if the Church gets the man it also gets his family.
The truth we are brought to here is the fact: women-in-ministry, and there are many powerful women’s ministries, is only part of the power of the kingdom of God. The church desperately needs men to stand up, to speak up, to be energised to enact a vision God has already given them.
But men and women alike need to be aware of the wiles of Satan.
The Many Colours and Shades of the Enemy
Satan’s power to steal, kill and destroy is largely invisible. The mode of Satan’s ministry is stealth. We never expect it unless we are deliberately wary. This enemy works in the fashion of lies—by garments of deception that we tell ourselves, by negative and isolating self-talk, and that we propagate through gossip because of pride and envy. The enemy works masterfully, like a chameleon, by distorting and counterfeiting otherwise good things.
The actual threat is a comprehensive wardrobe filled with all colours and styles of camouflage; replete with every shade of the seven deadly sins. Whenever we least expect it, there Satan may strike, coming in the appearance of something innocuous or, possibly worse, something attractive.
We may be more interested in how Satan can wreak havoc in our personal lives. Well, the truth is, wherever he attacks us in ministry there is always a spill-over into our personal lives. Satan aims to make no friendly kill. His interest is in overwhelming us.
But, and this is encouraging, Satan’s presence among us as individuals, small groups, and fellowships is fuel for the firing of faith:
“Faith must be tested, because it can only be turned into a personal possession through conflict.”
—Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
The wise Christian is aware of the wiles of Satan and is aware of the enemy’s presence. But they are just as aware that God is infinitely more powerful. If there was ever a need to pray we would pray for protection from Satan, whilst praising God that The Battle has already been won at the cross and in our Saviour’s resurrection.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.