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by Jacob Ninan
Sometimes Satan approaches believers as an angel of light (2Co.11:14). Then he speaks about the things of light, such as standing for righteousness, not being slaves to men, bearing reproach and shame for the name of Christ, being willing to stand alone, being bold as a lion, doing something extraordinary to bring glory to God, etc. His intention however is far removed from the light. It is to cause them to become arrogant, careless of other people's advice, to go beyond their boundaries, to exalt themselves above the others, etc.
But since he is a master at deception, he keeps his intentions hidden away from their sight, and quotes scripture verses. gives visions, dreams and prophecies about their 'special calling', etc. But the end of all who listen to him is misery, shame and loss. We can think of people who would rather die (or let others die) than take medicines, who imagine they are glorifying God. But they cause shame and dishonour to His name. Jesus said that a time would come when even those who killed others would think they were serving God (Jn.16:2). Some wax eloquent in the meetings hitting out at people and religious systems as if they are mouthpieces of God. But it becomes evident that they are speaking from themselves. All these people may appear to have good motives. But they still become instruments of Satan, who uses such people to dishonour God's name, cause confusion among other believers, sow discord among brothers and turn away those who would turn to God.
Peter once became such an instrument of Satan, without even realising it, when he tried to turn away the Lord from the cross (Mt.16:21-23). His intention was to help. He had no desire at all to turn Jesus away from the will of the Father, but only to protect Him from harm.
Thus good intentions and a so-called (human) love are not sufficient protection against Satan's wiles. A lesser man than Jesus would have listened to Peter and rejoiced over Peter's concern. If such a man had then followed that advice, he would have gone totally astray into misery. Peter could have then consoled himself, when he saw the misery that he caused, by saying that his conscience was clear.
We should not think that instruments of Satan are only the false prophets and false teachers. We can all become instruments of Satan, if we are hasty with our tongue. Careless words, some passing remarks, or the expressing of some opinions, can all light fires that produce much destruction (Jas.3:5,6). We can interfere in things that do not concern us, give advice in areas where we have no responsibility, pass opinions about things that we do not really understand fully, make marriage proposals to others without understanding the people involved, etc.
There will always be those who stumble, even when we have done only good. Jesus Himself became a stumbling block to many who misunderstood Him and His actions. But we must ensure that Satan is not able to use us to stumble others or cause them misery or confusion (Mt.18:7). Our words and actions should not be such that Satan can use them to tempt others.
What is it that makes us open to becoming instruments of Satan?
The simple answer is - high thoughts about ourselves. If we do not have a sober estimate of ourselves, in relation to God and other men, and in relation to our spiritual gifts and abilities, and the sphere of responsibility that God has allotted to us, we shall, like many fools do, rush into areas where even angels fear to tread.
It is in connection with offering our bodies as spiritual sacrifices that we are warned to keep a sober estimate of ourselves (Ro.12:1,3).
We are also exhorted to have our minds renewed (this means that we have to think about and understand these things) so as to find out the will of God (v.2). Satan comes around constantly looking for people whom he can deceive (1Pe.5:8). Should we not then be on the alert?
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