Many people who by the grace of God have never been "had" by the devil wrongly assume that all departures from godliness are nothing but rebellion and proofs of inauthenticity. They have no idea of the suffering involved when someone with a genuine heart for God slips from the path.
I don't know how many times I've repeated the statement I'm about to make, but I'll keep saying it until at least one skeptic hears, "Not everyone in a stronghold of sin is having a good time."
The times in my life when the powers of darkness seemed to rage most violently against me were seasons when I had never loved God more. I was not walking in sin prior to either of the times I fought my hardest battles with the kingdom of darkness.
In 2 Corinthians 11:3, the apostle Paul wrote: "But [now] I am fearful, lest that even as the serpent beguiled Eve by his cunning, so your minds may be corrupted and seduced from wholehearted and sincere and pure devotion to Christ" (The Amplified Bible).
How does a wholeheartedly, sincerely, and purely devoted servant of Jesus Christ become vulnerable to demonic seduction? If you're thinking, Surely there is something that the enemy is latching onto, you are absolutely right. At the same time I will tell you that the thing Satan latches onto often is not sin.
How the Godly are Beguiled None of us is ever sinless, but where this kind of victim is concerned, the enemy more often latches onto weakness--a hidden spot of vulnerability. Satan knows that weakness can turn to sin in a heartbeat when exposed to the right amount of pressure.
I have become more and more convinced that victims of seduction share certain vulnerabilities at the time of their attacks. Please consider carefully this list of the weaknesses that many Christians carry in their hearts, minds and souls.
1. Ignorance. Without exception, the No. 1 element that sets believers up for seduction is ignorance. Throughout the remainder of the list, you will see signs of ignorance--things the seduced did not know.
Speaking of the high priest who served in the Old Testament tabernacle, the writer of Hebrews said, "He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness" (Heb. 5:2, NIV). We are at great risk of going astray over ignorance and weakness.
In The Amplified Bible, 2 Corinthians 2:11 tells us to forgive, "to keep Satan from getting the advantage over us; for we are not ignorant of his wiles and intentions." The apostle Paul and his well-educated crew may not have been ignorant of Satan's schemes, but most of us are.
How many times have I looked at some of the ways I allowed Satan to defeat me in the past and cried to myself: "How could you be so stupid! You idiot! Haven't you learned anything?"
Long after I was set free, I was still punishing myself unmercifully. So much so, the self-condemnation became its own form of bondage.
The last thing I want to do is give the enemy another moment's satisfaction. That's exactly what self-condemnation does. Let's be delivered from it.
2. Spiritual passion that exceeds biblical knowledge. The Scriptures talk about the serpent getting to our hearts through our minds (see 2 Cor. 11:3). The person described in this verse has wholehearted devotion to Christ, but his mind still is vulnerable.
Most of our minds are, too--until we have a horrible scare that teaches us to love God with our whole mind and not just our whole heart. The church in Corinth was passionate but lacked the knowledge to provide a firm foundation.
Paul's thesis on tearing down strongholds is this: "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God" (2 Cor. 10:5, KJV). If we don't have the knowledge of God, we are ill-equipped to recognize imaginations that are exalting themselves over God
- Continue reading >>
For a limited time, we are extending our celebration of the 40th anniversary of Charisma. As a special offer, you can get 40 issues of Charisma magazine for only $40!