1. DISCOURAGEMENT. You have been serving God so diligently, yet there are still so many trials and difficulties in your life. The devil would love to see you throw up your hands and say, “I give up!” You have been trying to faithfully serve the Lord, but it seems that you are all alone at times. The devil would love to see you start asking “Where is God now?”
The great prophet Elijah experienced discouragement when he was fleeing for his life from wicked Jezebel. He asked God to take his life (1 Kgs. 19:4); he felt that he was the only faithful servant on earth–“I alone am left, and they seek to take my life” (1 Kgs. 19:10). The Lord told him to go to work on some jobs He had for him (1 Kgs. 19:11-17). Furthermore, he was not alone. God had “reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, every mouth that has not kissed him” (1 Kgs. 19:18). Thus, the faithful Christian must remember that there are setbacks in life, but they are temporary and common to all of God’s faithful servants.
2. DISCONTENTMENT. The devil wants us to look at our neighbors, our co-workers, those who do not fear God and think, “Oh look how much better they are doing than I am.” This is exactly what happened to Asaph, the chief musician in the temple. He stated: “But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (Psa. 73:2-3). He further became envious and very discontented when he considered their wealth, strength, pride, and arrogance. He felt that way, as he stated, “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end” (Psa. 73:17).
Discontentment can lead to discouragement, and keep us from moving forward. Let us all seek to develop the attitude of the Apostle Paul: “And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content….Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (1 Tim. 6:8; Phil. 4:11). Jesus came that we might be joyful—”These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (Jn. 15:11; see also Phil. 4:4).
3. DOUBT. The devil is a murderer and a liar from the beginning (Jn. 8:44). He would love to have us to start questioning God. He wants us to say, “Did the Lord really say or mean that?” He did that with the first couple, Adam and Eve.
The Lord instructs that if we lack wisdom, to ask for it, and He will provide it for us (Jas. 1:5). However, we must keep in mind what James has told us regarding this matter: “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord” (Jas. 1:6-7). Doubt is truly an indicator of a lack of faith. When Peter started walking on the water toward Jesus, he saw the boisterous wind, became afraid and began to sink. Jesus then stretched out His hand, caught him and said, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matt. 14:31).
4. DISREGARD FOR HIS WORD. The devil would love for us to think we can do it our way and not according to what God has commanded. Moses made this mistake in the wilderness. God told him to speak to the rock in front of the grumbling Israelites, but he angrily struck the rock twice, totally disregarding God’s word (Num. 20:7-11). This one act of disobedience kept Moses out of the land of promise—”Because you did not believe Me to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them” (Num. 20:13).
The devil leads man away from God’s word by false teachers. The Apostle Paul warned: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:13-14; see also 11:1-4).
May we ever seek to do exactly as God has commanded in His word. “Now by this we know that we know Him if we keep His commandments….For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome….Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son” (1 Jn. 2:3; 5:3; 2 Jn. 9).
Have you noticed these four tactics against you and your family? Jesus has won the victory over the devil and death (Heb. 2:14-15; 1 Cor. 15:57). Therefore, we need to follow in His steps (1 Pet. 2:21-25). Let us not be deceived and led astray by the devices of the devil. We close with these words of encouragement: “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life….Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen” (Jude 21, 24-25).— Via the bulletin of the Southside church of Christ, Gonzales, Louisiana, December 30, 2018
In Malachi 3:6, we read: “For I am the Lord, I change not. . . .” Although man is subject to change, we are assured that God Is unchangeable. This does not mean that God’s will for man is the same today that it was under the Mosaic age. In fact, we learn from Hebrews 7:12 that the priesthood was changed, and “there is made also of necessity a change of the law.” We are now under the New Testament. (See 1 Cor. 9:21; Heb. 9:16-17; 10:9-10; Jno. 12:48).
God is unchangeable in Character. He cannot be tempted with evil. He is holy. The Psalmist said: “Exalt ye the Lord our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the Lord our God is holy.”— Via The Elon Challenger, December 2018, Volume 16, Number 4