There is a habit common among humans that many of us practice from time to time. This practice is called “ignoring things we don’t like and hoping they will go away”.
With minor aches and pains—that method often works. With leaks, debt, and mechanical problems it almost never works.
When we ignore problems with our health, with our homes, and with our cars—those problems usually worsen. People that bother us that we ignore and hope they go away works sometimes, and sometimes it doesn’t.
But when we enter into the realm of our spiritual life, spiritual health, and spiritual safety—ignoring the Devil is the worst choice we can make!
Paul warns Christ’s church, more than any other New Testament writer, of the dangers of the Devil. Paul goes on to command every believer in the name and the authority of the Lord—to be aware of, ready for, and armed against the Devil.
If I could summarize all of Paul’s extensive teachings on Satan it would come down to one phrase: “Don’t Ignore the Devil”.
Please open with me to II Corinthians 2.1-11.
Several weeks ago, as we started in this Spiritual Warfare series, I urged you to re-examine what you are doing each day in life and why. Hold up all of your habits, desires, hobbies, spare time, recreation, sports, pursuits, collections, appetites, and all else to the scrutiny of God’s Word.
Today I remind you that we live on an active battlefield every minute of our earthly lives. Not only is there a cosmic war swirling around us…
There Is a War
Swirling Within Us
Satan and his army of demons are the ultimate terrorist insurgency. They are able to always creep around us unnoticed because they are absolutely silent and completely invisible.
Yet they are more deadly to our spiritual lives than any truck bomber or suicide vest. Yet their invisibility and silence make them often ignored. That is why Paul tells us “Don’t Ignore the Devil”!
Don’t yield any ground in your life to the Devil by ignoring him.
Nothing in life is neutral, nothing in life is harmless. Everything in life is either for God or against Him. Everything is either promoting God’s Glory or opposing it. Nothing is neutral when it comes to God; never forget that as you assess the daily patterns and habits of your life.
Right in the middle of dealing with the person who was disciplined by the Corinthian Church for sin, that needed to be forgiven and taken back into fellowship, Paul adds a powerful warning—don’t ignore the devil. H e will use any avenue we leave unguarded to attack and neutralize our lives. Please open to 2 Corinthians 2:11
Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices. (NKJV)
2 Corinthians 2:11 in order that no advantage be taken of us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes. (NAS)
2 Corinthians 2:11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes. (NIV)
Don’t ignore the Devil!
To help all of us not ignore the Devil, think through how God has revealed Satan and what that implies as to his attacks upon us. We studied in-depth the top dozen or so ways that Satan is at work against us as believers this morning. Do you remember them?
- 1. Don’t ignore the father of lies (as he is revealed in John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.) wants to snatch the Word of God from your mind.
- 2. Don’t ignore the evil one (as he is revealed in Matthew 6:13 NASB ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil. one [For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.]’) wants you to think little-by-little that sin is not so bad.
- 3. Don’t ignore the unholy one (as he is revealed in I John 2:13 ‘wicked one’ I write to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, Because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children, Because you have known the Father.) wants you to slowly learn to laugh at sin on television and in the movies.
- 4. Don’t ignore the deceiver (as he is revealed in II Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.) wants to destroy your conscience bit-by-bit so it will no longer warn you.
- Don’t ignore the tempter (as he is revealed in I Thessalonians 3:5 For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain.) wants to entertain you so often with sin so that you won’t think sin is as evil as sin really is.
- Don’t ignore the adversary of God (as he is revealed in Revelation 12:9 so the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.) wants to drown you in a sea of sin so that you become very tolerant of it.
- 7. Don’t ignore the one who shoots flaming darts (as he is revealed in Ephesians 6:16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.) wants to fill your mind with doubts, lies, immorality, and false doctrine.
- 8. Don’t ignore the murderer from the beginning (as he is revealed in John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.) wants to addict you to violence, condition you to enjoying killing and bloodshed through games and movies.
- 9. Don’t ignore the devouring lion (as he is revealed in I Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.) wants to debilitate your will and get you to do things you shouldn’t do.
- 10. Don’t ignore the fallen, warped, and twisted one (as he is revealed in Isaiah 14:12 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations!) wants to twist your thinking by putting sinful ideas to appealing music.
- 11. Don’t ignore the counterfeiter of truth (as he is revealed in II Corinthians 11:14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.) wants to confuse your emotions by corrupting your desires and drawing your affections to the wrong things.
- 12. Don’t ignore the original idolater and covetous one (as he is revealed in Isaiah 14:13-14 For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ [He coveted what wasn’t his but God’s.]) wants to get you drooling over stuff, to the neglect of your family life, church life, and spiritual life—in order to get it; and then he wants darken you with discouragement once you get it because you will only want more.
So those are the elements of the war swirling within us we must not ignore.
Satan never sleeps, never stops stalking each of God’s children.
But, as we turn onward to II Corinthians 10:4, Paul uses a Greek word that defines Satan’s strategy we must not ignore.
2 Corinthians 10:4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.
The word warfare in 2 Corinthians 10:4 means “campaign.” Paul explains that he was not simply involved in some little skirmish while ministering in Corinth; he defines Satan’s attack on him as just one little piece of a highly organized and relentless campaign.
Satan and his demons are alive, awake, and at work relentlessly, tirelessly, and devastatingly 24/7 as the ultimate spiritual terrorists. When you think about the safety of your life, home, and loved ones never ignore the reality of the powers of hell always trying to destroy the work of God (Matt. 16:18). Don’t ignore the devil, and don’t yield any ground to the enemy, not even one inch!
There are seven targets that God’s Word describes as Satan’s prime focus. These are the places in our lives where he is most at work. As we look at these seven areas, we will find that they parallel the seven pieces of armor that Paul commanded all of us to wear as believers.
So first, let’s walk through the target list of Satan, laid down in the New Testament; and then we can match up and see how to wear and use our armor designed by God, and issued for constant use to every believer.
Guard the Targets of
- We don’t ignore the Devil when we remember that Satan uses his mind to overpower our minds and has a great advantage if our minds are not protected by captivity to Christ. Satan can trick believers who listen to his lies into losing their focus upon Christ.[That is why Paul says, “I command you to wear your helmet]
2 Corinthians 2:11 “Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices [noema ‘devices, schemes, mind’ 3540) .”
“Devices”, along with the words for “take advantage” and “ignorant” in this verse, strongly implies that Satan targets the believer’s mind; but God has provided protection by unmasking Satan’s schemes in Scripture, along with providing the counteracting truth.
The word translated devices is actually the word usually translated “mind” everywhere else in the New Testament. Paul says don’t be ignorant, don’t IGNORE the devil. What part of the Devil are we to watch out for? Guard against his powerful mind.
This and similar passages of the Word of God teach that Satan is a personal being; that the great systematic theologian Charles Hodge once said “he exerts great influence over people’s minds; that although he is finite (and therefore not everywhere present), he nevertheless works on people’s minds generally and not merely on those in any one place. His powers of intelligence and agency must, therefore, be unimaginable. No individual and no community can ever be sure that he is not plotting their destruction”.
Satan had the greatest created mind in the universe. His mental powers are so great that even the Apostle Paul says, “Don’t ignore what he has the capability to do”. Satan has such a high-powered mind he is capable of jamming our signals, distorting our minds, and basically using any means to distract and distance us from God.
v What is the lesson for us from II Corinthians 2:11?
In the context of the entire chapter it is, beware of Satan’s powerful, mental influence in the realm of his “accusations” that makes us believers feel our case is hopeless when we have sinned.
The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin so that we will confess it and turn to Christ for cleansing; but Satan accuses us of sin so that we will despair and give up. Solution: thank Jesus right now for becoming sin for you, bearing your sin away forever. Tell Him you believe and thank Him for your salvation He purchased. That is how we tighten the strap of our helmet of salvation!
Now, turn to II Corinthians 11:3 where we see Paul using the same word “noema” as he enlarges upon our need as believers to keep our heads (our minds) protected from the work of Satan. Here we see that we must not ignore the Devil’s attempts to “corrupt” our minds as believers. We are to walk with Christ in “simplicity” which means single minded obedience; but that desire can get corrupted by Satan’s influence upon us.
2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness [panourgia (3834) 5x craftiness, trickery], so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
Paul here compared the church in Corinth to Eve. Instead of resisting the devil’s inducement to disobedience (as James 4:7 and 1 Peter 5:9 command us as believers to do) Eve listened and succumbed (as we saw last week in Gen. 3:1-6). The serpent enticed her by his craftiness (panourgia, “trickery”; as in 2 Cor. 4:2). Each time we, like Eve, listen to Satan’s lies, we become guilty of disobedience to God and disloyalty to Christ; and are no longer single mindedly loving and obeying Him.
Satan’s focus is on the mind, he is a liar and tries to get us to listen to his lies, ponder them, and then believe them. Remember what he did with Eve in Genesis 3:1-5. First, he questioned God’s word (“Yea, hath God said?”), then he denied God’s word (“Ye shall not surely die!”), and then he substituted his own lie (“Ye shall be as gods”).
Note the following “mind war” Satan is capable of. This is the New Testament usage of the Greek work in v. 11 ‘noema’.
Satan blinds minds: 2 Corinthians 4:4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
Satan corrupts minds: 2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
Jesus wants to captivate your mind: 2 Corinthians 10:5 casting down arguments (NKJV) [speculations (NASB); arguments (NIV); imaginations (KJV)] and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, (NKJV)
Jesus wants to guard your mind: Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your mindsin Christ Jesus.
Beware of allowing Satan to corrupt your mind. You have if you are not single-minded for Christ. Satan can corrupt your mind, his mind is super-powerful yours apart from Christ is no match.
Solution: repent of any corruption as in any double-mindedness (living one way here, another way there, and so on—invites Satan’s corruption); and then ask for Christ’s ‘simplicity’ which means “single-mindedness”. Christ’s desires for our minds is that we avoid that dangerous tendency we all have of compartmentalizing our lives; God wants to fill all of life; Christ’s gracious Lordship wants to permeate every room of our life.
- We don’t ignore the Devil when we remember that Satan can appear to be a messenger from God (angel of light) when he and his servants masquerade themselves. metaschematizo (3345) 5x “transform, masquerade, changing the outward form” [That is why Paul says, “I command you to keep on your belt of truth]
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
Don’t ignore the reality that Satan has always is peddling a counterfeit gospel (Gal. 1:6–12) that involves a different savior and a different spirit. The preachers of this false gospel (and they are with us yet today) are described in 2 Corinthians 11:13–15. Instead of being empowered by the Spirit, these ministers are energized by Satan. Three times, Paul used the word transformin referring to their work (see 2 Cor. 11:13–15). This Greek word simply means “to disguise, to masquerade.” There is a change on the outside, but there is no change on the inside. Satan’s workers, like Satan himself, never appear in their true character; they always wear a disguise and hide behind a mask.
If we carefully study the various religions and cults of the world, we soon discover that each are founded on some variety of human effort and works righteousness. All religions and cults that have any supernatural elements, also trace their origins to angels, extraterrestrial creatures, or other spirit beings.
For example, the angel Moroni is said to have presented the Book of Mormon on golden plates to Joseph Smith; the angel Gabriel supposedly dictated the Koran to Mohammad; and it was on supposed angelic revelations to Mrs. Herbert Armstrong that Armstrongism (the Worldwide Church of God) was founded.
In addition to that, every human religion and cult denies the Deity of Christ, denies the tri-unity of Father, Son, and Spirit; and denies Christ’s substitutionary and complete sacrificial atonement for man’s sin.
The only protection is wearing the ‘belt of truth’ as Paul tells us is our armor. Study God’s Word the source of truth, then know the truth, remind yourself of the truth, teach others the truth and defend the truth.
- We don’t ignore the Devil when we remember that Satan looks for and uses landing places like anger, lying, pride, and lust. (5117) topos “any spot, place, or position” [ That is why Paul says, “I command you to keep your sword always ready]
Ephesians 4:27 nor give place to the devil.
Anger can give Satan great power over us, as it furnishes a motive to yield to his evil suggestions. With the article (the devil) this always means Satan, the great accuser, the prince of the demons or fallen angels, who is the great opposer of God and seducer of men, against whose schemes we are commanded to be constantly on our guard.
When anger begins to control the believer, rather than the believer being under Christ’s control, the devil gets a foothold (lit., “a place”) an opportunity for leading that Christian into further sin.
According to Jesus, anger is the first step toward murder (Matt. 5:21–26), because anger gives the devil a foothold in our lives, and Satan is a murderer (John 8:44). Satan hates God and God’s people, and when he finds a believer with the sparks of anger in his heart, he fans those sparks, adds fuel to the fire.
What are some of the
Footholds or Landing Places
for the Devil?
Yesterday at Family Camp it was fascinating to watch the rock wall climbers conquer that wall—one small foothold and handhold at a time. They could never make it rapidly, but feeling along for a spot to place a foot and then stretching out and feeling for a firm handhold—they clambered and conquered that wall. So any hand and foot holds let unguarded in our lives become Satan’s spots to slowly overwhelm us.
When Paul taught the Ephesian believers about the strategies of Satan in Acts 19:19-20, they collected and burned all of the objects associated with demonic and satanic contact. Do you remember how Paul taught them to rid their lives of these dangerous areas that invite Satan’s influence over our lives?
19 And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of all; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.20 So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing.
Have you carefully avoided any of these snares of the devil?
Here is a brief list of the places believers can actually contact and get defiled by exposure to Satan and his army.
- IMAGES: Worshiping any image is a place for demon snares or contact. That is the most literal and obvious kind of a place for demon intrusion, the kind so frequently denounced in the Old Testament. It is the kind in which a person makes an image with his own hands and then “falls down before it and worships; he also prays to it and says, ‘Deliver me, for thou art my god”’ (Isaiah 44:17). Even statues or other images of Christ are not to be revered or worshiped. Only Christ is to be worshiper, not likenesses of Him. They do not represent Jesus Christ, no matter what our claims and intentions are. “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). Even non-liturgical Christians should be on guard, whether in public worship or private devotions, about associating any place, picture, or pattern of worship too closely with God. It is easy for such a thing to come between us and Him, though we may think it helps draw us closer.
- ANGELS: Worshiping angels is a place for demon snares or contact. Paul warns, “Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self–abasement and the worship of the angels” (Col. 2:18). When, overcome with awe, John fell at the feet of the angel who was speaking to him, the angel said, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God” (Rev. 19:10). Angels are created beings and, whether holy or fallen, are not to be venerated or worshiped.
- DEMONS: Worshiping demons is a place for demon snares or contact, and is closely associated with worshiping images, behind which are often demons. In Satan cults demons are worshiped directly. Speaking of the Tribulation, John foretells that “The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood” (Rev. 9:20).
- DEAD PEOPLE: Worshiping dead people is a place for demon snares or contact. Referring to a place for demon intrusion that Israel learned from Moab, the psalmist wrote, “They joined themselves also to Baal–peor, and ate sacrifices offered to the dead. Thus they provoked Him to anger with their deeds; and the plague broke out among them” (Ps. 106:28–29). We do not worship human beings, whether they are alive or dead, saintly or otherwise. Even the great heroes of Scripture—such as Abraham, Moses, David, the prophets, Mary, or the apostles—are never to be worshiped. That is a place for demon intrusion.
- SELFISHNESS: Supreme loyalty in our heart to anything other than God is a place for demon snares or contact. Every person is tempted with ambitions, desires, possessions, recognition, and a host of other such things that easily can become idols. “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also,” Jesus said (Matt. 6:21). The greatest heart treasure, or heart idol, is self.
- GREED: Covetousness is a place for demon snares or contact. Those who covet or are greedy worship at the shrine of materialism, one of the most popular and powerful idols of our day But Paul says, “For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (Eph. 5:5; cf. Col. 3:5). Acts 5:3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? (NKJV)
- LUST: Inordinate desire, or lust, is a place for demon snares or contact. Paul speaks of “enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things” (Phil. 3:18–19). The person whose mind, desires, longings, and appetites are set on fleshly things is an idolater. The feeding of one’s mind on the lewd information and photographs so widely and easily available gives a ground of entrance for the demons of sensuality.
- AMUSEMENTS: Intentionally exposing your mind to satanic ideas and stories must be constantly avoided as a place of demonic snares or contact. Some examples are:
- Movies that follow the theme of Satan and his demons.
- Science fiction that portrays superhuman powers available from cosmic sources leave unguarded minds open to endless fantasies about what if this may be true, and thus a conflict with the authority of God’s Word.
- Television programs dealing with the occult directly or indirectly.
- Music that popularizes demonic activities, through satanic words and occultic mantras.
- Plays promoting contact with demons.
- Games which encourage contact with demons and their related activities should be avoided and burned! (This is the scriptural method of dealing with all such things that offend God, grieve His Spirit, and defile and ensnare us as believers.)
- Actual Occult Practices (these are things which bring with them demonic contact): black magic, astrology, fetishes and talismans, fortune-telling, séance meetings, witchcraft, palmistry, spiritism, ESP (extra-sensory perception), pictures of witches and occult propaganda, voodoo dolls, candles with occult significance, incense, excessive superstition, religious practices that highlight the emotional, cults, Satan worship, tarot cards, Ouija boards, crystal balls, black cubes and related occult practices.
When Paul taught the Ephesian believers about the strategies of Satan in Acts 19:19-20, they collected and burned all of the objects associated with demonic and satanic contact.
Acts 19:19-20 Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver.20 So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.
Have you carefully avoided any of these landing places of the devil?
- We don’t ignore the Devil when we remember that Satan can buffet God’s servants. kolaphidzo “with fist” (2852) [That is why Paul says, “I command you to keep your feet shod]
2 Corinthians 12:7 And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me—to keep me from exalting myself!
In the Bible the idea is often presented that bodily diseases are at times produced by the direct agency of Satan, so that they may be regarded as his messengers, sent by him.
“Thorn in the flesh” (lit. “a stake for the flesh”) was a demon or a physical illness. Of the 188 uses of the Gr. word, angellos, in the NT, at least 180 are in reference to angels. This angel was from Satan, and may even have been a demon afflicting Paul.
We need to endure the struggles and afflictions of life in the grace that our God of all comfort can give to us. The way we resist this attack is to affirm with Paul in
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
- We don’t ignore the Devil when we remember that Satan uses a variety of hindrances to disrupt our ministry for God. egkopto “interrupts, cut into” (1465); [That is why Paul says, “I command you to always pray]
1 Thessalonians 2:18 For we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, more than once—and yet Satan thwarted us.
Here Paul says that Satan was ‘thwarting’ him like one army hindering the advance of their enemies. The literal meaning of ‘hindered’ here that Paul used was for Satan “breaking up the road and putting up obstacles”.
Satan is always at work seeking to tear down the church that Christ promised to build (cf. Matt. 16:18). Throughout the Scriptures we find Satan present at the churches of Jerusalem (Acts 5:1–10), Smyrna (Rev. 2:9,10), Pergamum (Rev. 2:13), Thyatira (Rev. 2:24), Philadelphia (Rev. 3:9), Ephesus (1 Tim. 3:6,7), and Corinth (2 Cor. 2:1–11). And so you can be assured that he and his evil influences are presently arrayed against each of us in Christ’s church this morning!
- We don’t ignore the Devil when we remember that Satan is a master hunter and very skilled at using snares (3803) pagis 5x “snare, trap, noose” from pegnumai ‘to get stuck or fastened’ [That is why Paul says, “I command you to wear your armor of righteousness over your heart]
1 Timothy 3:7 And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he may not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
1 Timothy 6:9 But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snareand many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.
2 Timothy 2:26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
Paul uses a word translated come to their senses (2 Tim. 2:26) that describes a person snared by Satan as needing to come out of a drunken stupor. Satan snares people by getting them drunk with his lies, and then without the restraint of God’s Word–they disobey the Lord. Serving God means we use the Bible to instruct them ‘sober them up’, for this is the only way they are rescued from Satan’s captivity. Satan is a liar (John 8:44); and he captures people by his lying promises, as he did Eve (see Gen. 3; 2 Cor. 11:3).
- 7. We don’t ignore the Devil when we remember that Satan has the capability to swallow up believers who do not resist his constant . The word Peter uses is to drink down (katapino) and not eat down (kataphago) as we would equate with the lion metaphor. [That is why Paul says, “I command you to wear your sword]
1 Peter 5:8-9 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
Our confidence in God’s sovereign care does not mean that we can live carelessly. Satan’s evil forces which come against us demand that we stay alert. Satan and his forces are always active, looking for opportunities to overwhelm the believer with temptation, persecution, and discouragement (cf. Pss. 22:13; 104:21; Ezek. 22:25). Satan does everything he can to drag the Christian out of fellowship with Christ and out of Christian service (cf. Job 1; Luke 22:3; John 13:27; 2 Cor. 4:3,4; Rev. 12). And he constantly accuses believers before God’s throne, attempting to convince God to abandon them (Job 1:6–12; Rev. 12:10).
Resist him, steadfast in the faith. Just as we saw in James 4:7 we are to “resist” which means “to stand up against.” The way to resist the devil is not with special formulas, or words directed at him and his demons, but by using the truth of God’s Word to defeat his lies in our mind. When believers know sound doctrine and obey God’s truth, Satan is withstood by the sword of God’s Word (cf. Eph. 6:17). The same sufferings. Believers around the world are always going through similar trials brought on by the roaring lion who never stops trying to devour believers.
 John F. MacArthur, Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible, (Dallas: Word Publishing) 1997.
 Hodge, Charles, 2 Corinthians: The Crossway Classic Commentaries, (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books) 1997.
 John F. MacArthur, Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible, (Dallas: Word Publishing) 1997.
 Wiersbe, Warren W., The Bible Exposition Commentary, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1997.
 Wiersbe, Warren W., The Bible Exposition Commentary, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1997.
 Hodge, Charles, 2 Corinthians: The Crossway Classic Commentaries, (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books) 1997.
 Adapted from John F. MacArthur, Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible, (Dallas: Word Publishing) 1997.