Satan’s Strategy #11: Stay in the Dark

Satan encourages spiritual ignorance.

Unbiblical thinking frequently results in unbiblical living. "Gross errors make the heart foolish, and render the life loose," writes Thomas Brooks. “Error spreads and frets like a gangrene, and renders the soul a leper in the sight of God." We are more likely to indulge our desires when the enemy has obscured God's truths and filled and our minds with wrong ideas. The Holy Spirit transforms believers by renewing their minds (Romans 12:2); the devil employs his craftiness to lead minds astray (2 Corinthians 11:3). 

For example, Satan tempts us to think we don't need the public means of grace. He encourages us to think that the public worship of God, pastors' sermons, the Lord's Supper, accountability to a local church, and Christian fellowship are unnecessary. Our flesh is all too eager to agree with these temptations. Something in us cries, “Church attendance is legalistic!" and “I can know God's truth on my own!" By tempting us to have a low opinion of the public means of grace, Satan encourages us to neglect them. 

Satan also tempts us to think that we don't need private means of grace. He encourages us to scoff at things like prayer, Bible reading, and personal devotion times. Sometimes he tells us, “Too hard!" Sometimes he tells us, “Too time consuming!" Sometimes he tells us, “Too boring!” The remnants of sin in us cry out, "I don't think these spiritual disciplines are necessary," to which Satan answers, “Then don't do them." 

Satan tempts us to embrace all sorts of doctrine, undermining our confidence in the Bible as God sufficient Word:

  • He applauds us when we think that we need only follow our ideas of right and wrong, regardless of whether or not those ideas agree with the Bible. 
  • He encourages us to think that we no longer need God's laws—especially the Ten Commandments—and that merely following the Spirit's leading is sufficient. 
  • He suggests to us that Lord Jesus Christ is not really the resurrected Son of God, and therefore is not worthy of being followed in a self-sacrificial manner. 
  • He assures us that it is acceptable for sin to touch our lives; grace will simply much more abound. 

These and “a hundred other horrid opinions,” to use Brooks's phrase, “hath caused wickedness to break in as a flood among us.” God's recipe for right living begins with right thinking. We are better equipped to thwart the Adversary when we are nourished by sound doctrine. 

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Robert Spinney (PhD, Vanderbilt) is professor of History at Patrick Henry College, where he teaches American history and historiography. He is the author of City of Big Shoulders: A History of Chicago and World War II in Nashville: Transformation of the Homefront, as well as an American history textbook and numerous ministry-related booklets. Dr. Spinney formerly served as a pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Hartsville, TN, and at Winchester Baptist Church in Winchester, VA.

Related Links

Podcast: "A Place to Belong"

"Frequent Feeding" by Ken Golden

"The Labyrinth of Temptation": Calvin on Genesis 22 by Aaron Denlinger

"Lead Us Not Into Temptation" by Mark Johnston

Overcoming Temptation by James Boice ( Audio CD | MP3 Disc | MP3 Download )

PCRT '89: Whatever Happened to Sin ( Audio CD | MP3 Disc | MP3 Download )

Robert Spinney