A Guidebook to Satan’s Strategies: part 3

I suppose if Satan can’t get you to listen to a false teacher, he’ll try to stop people from hearing a good one. 

Sometimes he uses people to distract others from hearing the gospel.  We find an instance of that in Acts 13.  In Acts 13, Paul and Barnabas are in a place called Cyprus and they are going around preaching the gospel. And Luke tells us in verse 6, “When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. He was with the proconsul Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, ‘You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?”

Now, what was Elymas doing that reminded Paul of the devil? 

He was attempting to confuse someone who was hearing the gospel and that’s one of Satan’s strategies when the gospel is proclaimed. He tries to try to snatch up the word out of someone’s heart as quickly as possible and sometimes he uses argumentative individuals to do that. 

Sometimes he appears to use circumstances to do that as well. I am not completely sure how this one works out but Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 2:17 and 18 that Paul was wanting to see the young believers in Thessalonica because he was concerned about their spiritual good and that Satan “hindered them time and time again.”  The word hindered is a strong word.  It’s taken from the military where an enemy might block your path from getting somewhere by taking out a bridge or something and so Paul is saying that he had made plans and Satan somehow repeatedly got in the way of him accomplishing those plans and why did Satan not want Paul to get there, well Paul tells us what he thought about that in 1 Thessalonians 3:5 where he says, “For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would have been in vain.”  Satan wanted to keep these people away from their spiritual mentor so he would have a better opportunity to attack their faith. 

Now, the good news is that we don’t have to get all scared and freaked out because we serve a God who is in control and can he even use these hindrances from Satan to accomplish exactly what he wants to accomplish, but at the very least this reality should make us pray more to God that He would open the door for us to spread the gospel quickly and like Paul, it should create in us an even greater earnestness about the spiritual good of the people we are ministering to.

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