by Tim Hall
We have the ability to make things more difficult for the devil.
When a football game is played in one team’s home city, it’s called the home field advantage. If given the choice, every coach would play every game under such conditions. The boost his team obtains from friendly crowds cheering in the bleachers is significant.
No wonder the hometown fans are often called the twelfth man. Their presence can make a real difference in the outcome of the game.
Satan can also enjoy advantages. That’s bad news for us.
Martin Luther once wrote, “For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe. His craft and power are great; and armed with cruel hate, on earth is not his equal.”
Like mighty Goliath on the battlefield, he doesn’t need any advantages. So why should he be given them?
It’s our own fault according to Paul. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul had warned the Christians to rebuke the one who was living in open immorality.
In the second letter Paul noted that the man had repented and Christians must now forgive him. But what if they didn’t want to forgive this man who had lived so shamefully?
Paul put it bluntly: “Lest Satan should take advantage of us, for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11, NKJV).
The specific “device” to which Paul referred was an unwillingness to forgive. Some call it righteous indignation. We are less than enthusiastic about embracing a person whose past has been shady.
But this judgmental attitude (refusing to forgive the one whom God has forgiven) is nothing less than Satan’s device to cause Christians to stumble. By refusing to extend fellowship to a recovering sinner, we ourselves commit sin.
Note what else Paul said in that verse: “We are not ignorant of his devices.”
If Satan enjoys an advantage, it is because we have not taken the time to learn about his methods. In the Bible, God exposes the devil. But those who rarely read God’s word don’t know all they should about their mortal enemy.
The element of surprise has decided great battles of the past. The massive invasion of Normandy Beach on D-Day would have ended in failure, if the Nazis had known what was about to happen.
But their attention was focused elsewhere and the streaming lines of troops invading France were a complete surprise. The terror that gripped our land eight years ago today came as a complete surprise.
Can we know how Satan might attack us? Absolutely. God reveals much about sin in the Bible. How sad, therefore, that we often hand the advantage to the devil because we have given priority to something other than our spiritual safety!