Know the enemy well brothers and sisters!  He prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone (Christians) to devour.  Virtually all the problems we have in this life have a spiritual element to them.  Satan is real and so are his demons.  They are behind all the relational problems we encounter… but God has given us a weapon to disarm and defeat them (I’ll show it to you in a moment).  He (Satan) uses our fallen nature to incite us to selfishness so as to cause divisions among God’s people (James 4:1-3).

Paul wrote something very interesting in 2 Corinthians 2:10-11…

What I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, 11 so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.

Satan is sly… deceptive… a liar… a destroyer… one who tries to divide God’s people… who is opposed to everything that is good… one who hates God and God’s people.  The weapon he uses the most is to divide and conquer.  He does everything he can to turn God’s people against one another.  He attempted to do this with Jesus by using Peter in Matthew 16:21-23…

From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

If Satan will use Peter to try to get at Jesus, he’ll use anyone to get at you.  This includes family… friends… fellow believers in Christ.  Satan plays dirty and cheats as much as he can.  So don’t be ignorant of Satan’s schemes.  However…

What has God given us to defeat Satan’s attempts to divide us?  What has God given us to be aware of Satan’s schemes?

Forgiveness (2 Cor 2:10).  Whenever there is a rift between you and someone else, the tool God has given us is something Satan can’t overcome… FORGIVENESS.  He can’t deal with that.  He doesn’t have a comeback.  So if/when we encounter his attempt to divide we immediately forgive the person… according to Paul… we defeat Him.

Attitude. When Christians refuse to be selfish and instead follow the Scripture, the result is that Satan is defeated.  Having a Godly attitude short-circuits Satan’s attempts.  Consider what is found in Philippians 2:14-16, “Do all things without grumbling or questioning, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…” 

Draw Near To Resist.  The best way to defeat Satan is to be near to God as is encouraged in James 4:6-8, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”  Submitting to God (verse seven) and drawing near to God (verse eight) renders Satan powerless!

Christians are in a war against Satan and spiritual forces of darkness.  So let’s not kid ourselves.  Fight the good fight by living in a manner that honors and glorifies God!  Do not let him drive a wedge between you and any of your brothers and sisters in Christ!