The Apostle Paul wrote to the Church in Corinth, “…in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes” (II Corinthians 2:11).
Paul, as a spiritual leader, acknowledges to this troubled church that he knows the plans, thoughts and cunning of the evil one. In the context of this verse he reveals that one of the tactics of the enemy is an unforgiving spirit which provides an entry point for the enemy's influence in the church's life. I also would suggest that in this statement he is presuming that we can know them (the enemy’s tactics) and not be outwitted by them for they are well documented throughout the pages of Scripture. Scripture reveals to us the reasons for Satan’s fall (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:12-19); the tactics he used in his temptation of Adam & Eve (Genesis 3:1-10) and his devices to tempted our Savior (Matthew 4). We see throughout the pages of Scripture Satan’s defeat (Hebrews 2:12-14) and his ultimate demise (Revelation 20:10). Serious spiritual leaders should be fully aware of these counter-attacks on His leaders and His church. Ignorance of the enemy's tactics is one of the downfalls that many leaders face and ultimately leads to ones disengagement in God’s redemptive work in the world.
In Robert Clinton’s Commentary on 1 & 2 Corinthians: Problematic Apostolic Leadership, he writes several excellent articles on spiritual warfare. In one article entitled, “Spiritual Warfare—Satan’s Tactics” he offers a simple listing of times when Paul refers to Satan or the Devil and or demonic work. I have found these references very instructive and illuminating and they serve as the foundation of 14 devotional thoughts I am writing for spiritual leaders to increase our awareness of spiritual warfare. Clinton states that, “There are over 89 passages in scripture that deal with or mention the Devil or Satan, along with others that discuss demonic influence.” Through these simple lessons our focus will be on the 14 Pauline passages, but they all must be taken in context of the whole of Scripture.
Here are the 14 passages and issues we will be examining:
- Romans 16:17-20 - Relational Viruses
- I Corinthians 5:5; I Corinthians 6:12-20 - Sexual Temptation & Substance Abuse
- I Corinthians 7:3-5 - Unmet Sexual Needs in a Marriage Relationship
- II Corinthians 2:7-11 - An Unforgiving Spirit
- II Corinthians 11:14-15 - Deceptive Leaders with Slick Teaching
- Ephesians 4:25-27 - Unchecked Anger
- II Corinthians 12:7 - Sickness & Disabilities
- Ephesians 6:10-20 - Lies, Half Truths & Unreliable Perspectives
- I Thessalonians 2:17-19 - Closed Doors
- II Thessalonians 2:9-12 - False Signs and Wonders
- I Timothy 1:18-20 - Severed Conscience
- I Timothy 3:6 - Immaturity and Pride
- I Timothy 4:1-4 - False Teachers
- II Timothy 2:24-26 - Blinding People
My prayer is that we as a missional leaders will start will use these lessons in building up our spiritual muscles; refocusing our spiritual dependence and receiving God's spiritual discernment.
Remember all missional advancement always engages missional resistance (Matthew 16:18-19).