The Devil’s Neutralization Program (Part 1)
Pastor Dominic Cardamone
Just as sure as God has a salvation program for the Christian’s life (justification, sanctification, and one day glorification), the Devil has a counteraction plan as well. He wants to render you ineffective for the cause of Christ. His goal is to diminish the exercise of your faith in the Lord and prevent it from being demonstrated to others. The Devil works to block the light of Christ that God desires to emanate from your life of faith (Matthew 5:13-16).
Paul encouraged the Ephesian believers to “be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.” He further instructed them to put on the whole armor of God, and in Ephesians 6:12 he gives them good reason for doing so,
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
The Scriptures are clear, we wage spiritual warfare against the Devil and his minions. Peter also warned us in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”
Thankfully, we are not “ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11). God’s Word gives us insight into what the Devil’s tactics are for accomplishing his plan and how we can guard against it. Over the next several articles, we will examine this more fully.
The Devil Seeks to Isolate Us
The Devil works to isolate us from the Word of God. Consider Luke 8:12 as Jesus explains the Parable of the Soils (also known as the Parable of the Sower) to His disciples,
Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
Why does the Devil want to do this? He does so because he understands the effect of God’s Word. It’s powerful (Hebrews 4:12). It’s life (John 6:63). And, it’s our guide (Psalms 119:130). If the Devil can come between us and our exposure to the Word of God, he can gain tremendous ground in neutralizing us.
The Devil works also to isolate us from the people of God. This is very evident when we reflect upon what Jesus said to Peter in Luke 22:31-32,
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
Jesus said to Peter that the Devil was desiring to have the disciple band (the word you is plural here and represents Peter and the other apostles that were present with him), but Jesus was praying specifically for Peter to strengthen his brethren. Why would the Devil want to sift (conveys the idea of separating) the disciple band? He would desire this because he knows the benefits of unity and fellowship. When God’s people come together there is love, encouragement, help, correction, etc. The Devil wants to neutralize us by way of a divide-and-conquer strategy so we are not helped and fortified by godly relationships and influences around us. However, God calls us to each other in unity and fellowship for strength and protection. We need each other for our individual and collective betterment (See Hebrews 10:25). There is strength and safety in numbers.
Ecclesiastes 4:7-12, And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him, and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Isolation has been a reality for us these past couple of months. However, we would be wise to not allow ourselves to be isolated from the Word of God and the people of God. Give time and attention to the Scriptures. Read it, study it, and meditate upon it. Take time to read blogs, listen to podcasts and music, and watch livestream services that feed you God’s Word. Our in-person interaction has certainly been limited due to restrictions with the virus, but don’t allow that to isolate you from engaging with God’s people. Stay engaged on social media platforms, write letters, send text messages, or make phone calls. There are many ways by which to combat the Devil’s desire to separate us from each other. We must be intentional and proactive in our unity and fellowship, even if it is only virtual for the time being. It can be easy to allow these things to fall by the wayside. When we do, we are playing right into the Devil’s plan to neutralize us in the cause of Christ. Beware.