Not Ignorant Of Satan’s Schemes?

Not Ignorant Of Satan’s Schemes?

by Pastor William Shobe

Dodge Center SDB Church, MN

The Apostle Paul was concerned about the life and health of the believers and churches that he had been privileged to help birth into God’s Kingdom. As issues arose in these lives and fellowships, he acted decisively to address them in order to restore health and life. The unrepentant sexual sin in the church of Corinth merited serious response — the man was removed from the church fellowship. Equally appropriate was Paul’s response when repentance occurred — “forgive and comfort him.” He concludes with the comment, “for we are not ignorant of his (Satan’s) schemes” (2 Corinthians 2:6-11).

I have to admit that I found those words confusing for much of my Christian life and role as church pastor. I was saved when in college, called into training two years later, and into pastoral leadership after three years of seminary. While seminary provided many resources I needed for my calling, there was no training in spiritual warfare nor discussion of the schemes of the enemy. As a pastor I found myself struggling to help people with significant brokenness in their lives and lacking answers. Praise God He did not leave me helpless.

One of the key insights that was shared with me highlighted the reality of the enemy’s character and kingdom. Satan is characterized by darkness, as is his realm. In fact, he and his fallen servants are “kept in bonds of darkness” and are referred to as “world forces of darkness” (Jude 6, Ephesians 6:12). Paul teaches that believers who were “formerly in darkness,” were rescued from the domain of darkness” and should “lay aside the deeds of darkness” (Ephesians 5:8, Colossians 1:13, Romans 13:12). Darkness is the native soil of Satan’s work. And I have discovered that when believers allow darkness to remain in their lives it provides a platform for the enemy’s attack and influence in their lives.

Few Christians would knowingly or willingly give Satan a foothold in their lives — but he is master at discovering those dark things that remain hidden in our lives. From my experience in 35 years of seeking to help family and friends find peace, health, and freedom in Jesus, I have recognized three specific areas of darkness that the enemy manipulates.

The first area is hidden sin. By nature sin is darkness, as it is rebellion against God, Who is light. Furthermore, anything hidden in our lives is dark in character, because we are unwilling to bring it into the light, into the place where it can be seen, confessed and abandoned. Since it remains in darkness, it is freely accessed by the enemy and grants him freedom to bring mental and emotional torment, guilt, shame, and a host of harm against the unrepentant. If it remains unresolved it becomes a stronghold for the enemy’s manipulation of behavior and lifestyle. Demonic oppression diminishes the peace, joy, and freedom which Jesus died for us to experience.

The second area of darkness manipulated by the enemy is personal brokenness. By brokenness I am referring to episodes of mental, emotional or physical wounding that remain hidden or unresolved in an individual’s memory. These are episodes of pain that we are unwilling to acknowledge as real or are unaware of how to resolve. As a result, we tend to “stuff” them away and try to forget about them. Again, anything we hide away becomes by nature darkness and an environment for Satan’s influence. A young woman was brought into my office suffering from agoraphobia. She was unable to go out into the community without being overcome with fear. Even as she came through my door, I could see her physically trembling. She hid her face in the shadow of a hoody. As we talked with her she reluctantly began to tell us of an event when she and some cousins had disobeyed their parents, which resulted in a cousin’s death. She had assumed personal accountability for this tragic event and was unaware of the forgiveness available to her. Her 18 years of life since the accident were characterized by broken relationships and depression. As we prayed with her she accepted Jesus as her Savior and Lord and confessed her sin, asking for forgiveness. We proclaimed her forgiven in Jesus’ name as the tears flowed down her face. Then she began to shake again and threw back her hood, this time revealing a glowing smile. I see her regularly around town, living normally, free from the oppression of darkness. The enemy seeks to “devour” God’s beloved

creation, seeking to “kill, steal and destroy” wherever he

can find access (1 Peter 5:8, John 10:10).

 

The third area of darkness which I have observed is that of generational sin and curse. The scriptures instruct us that God “visits” “the iniquity of fathers on the children and the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations…”(Exodus 34:7). My observation confirms that various characteristics of parents are passed on through following generations. “Like Father, like son,” “the fruit does not fall far from the tree,” and “a chip off the ol’ block” reveal that this tendency is evident to many in our culture. I understand that to be a pre-disposition to a particular sin that is transmitted to future generations, opening a “back door” for the enemy’s influence. Abram’s sin of deception was transmitted to his sons — Isaac, Jacob and his sons, even to Joseph.

In a camp setting, a young woman sought me out, desperate to get free from a sin pattern with which she struggled. She confessed to a problem with lying. She had repented, sought forgiveness and counsel, and had others pray for her. She had even been to a deliverance counselor, and believed she had been freed from demonic control. Yet the pattern was back. I felt prompted to ask if anyone else in the family dealt with this issue and she quickly acknowledged it was rampant in the family, who were prominent in her home church. As she again repented and sought freedom, we asked God to break the generational transmission of this sin into her life, to close any “ancestral gateways” used by darkness to gain access to her life. We commanded any demonic presence to leave her, and asked the Holy Spirit

to cleanse and fill any areas of her being that had been defiled by demonic activity.

The strategy of the enemy is to gain access to any darkness resident in a believer’s life and to use it as a means of keeping him from a full and fruitful life in Christ. The remedy we are given is to expose the darkness, bringing it to the light of truth. We must repent of denying or hiding past experiences, however painful or humiliating they may seem. Repent also of any sin attached to them, inviting God to bring His healing and freedom to all that is broken or in bondage, and His truth to any lies or deception.

Jesus came to free the captives from darkness, and we must not be ignorant of the devil’s schemes to use darkness as his tool to keep God’s people from fullness of life in Christ. “If we walk in the light as He is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7). Light always overcomes darkness. Let us walk as children of light, free from the manipulation of darkness.

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