Pretend for a moment that you believe both God and Satan are real beings. And that God is omnipresent, while Satan is a fallen angel who can only be in one place at one time. God of course being the Creator, and Satan being the created being.
Next. Pretend that man, like Satan, has fallen from a place of safety in God's kingdom. And that man needs the blood which the Son of God comes to shed on a cross for the sins of the world. Pretend it's the only way for man to be forgiven and brought into a right relationship with God. Got it? Great.
Now in that scenario, what strategies might an intelligent evil angel devise to assail God's purposes and oppose His kingdom? Imagine Satan coming up with a worldwide plot, and utilizing other fallen angels who now serve him and his diabolical purposes. Imagine each of them being assigned a particular geographical territory in which to carry out their master's orders.
Can you picture it? Well then, just imagine Satan giving the following instructions to his army of fallen angels.
Strategy #1 - Convince man he is his own god. Trick man into believing he is not accountable to a Creator. In other words, get man to think the world revolves around him. Make man think others are either extremely impressed with him; or they think he is a loser. But either way, it must be all about man. We must turn his eyes inward rather than upward.
Strategy #2 - Raise up a bevy of false prophets who propose a variety of alternative religions. Any religion is OK, as long as it isn't Christianity. Any religious practices are fine, as long as they don't involve trusting Jesus and following Him as Lord of all. In fact, use false religion as a weapon against Christianity by convincing man that as long as the religion box is checked in his life, it will all turn out fine in the end.
Strategy #3 - Fan into flame man's sinful desires. Tempt him to give into those desires so that these habits become addictions driving man further from God. Place things in man's path which prompt him to compromise any allegiance to God's Word, and any commitment to holy living. Get man to hate others, hold grudges, and live with bitterness and resentment. Use lust, greed, jealousy, and every weapon at your disposal. Hold nothing back. And realize that your greatest opportunities will occur the moment man steps across any one of God's boundary lines.
Strategy #4 - Speaking of God's Word, do whatever it takes to convince man that Scripture is nothing but a bunch of myths. It is not to be taken literally. Convince man that only "fundamentalists" are naive enough to believe such a thing. Since pride is our specialty, use it to incite man to think highly of his knowledge, as long as it doesn't involve true knowledge of Christ, and a reliance upon God's Word. We must undermine any confidence man places in the Word of God.
Strategy #5 - Use science against man. Lead man to think science provides all the answers he needs in life, and to reject any belief in the supernatural. This includes rejecting the notion of Satan, angels, miracles, and even God Himself.
Strategy #6 - Convince man that no one can really know whether or not there is life after death. Keep man so busy with activities in this world that he barely has time to think about deeper issues, such as eternity, and the immortality of the soul. Get man to view himself the way he views animals. He lives, and dies, and that's it.
Strategy #7 - Realize that many human beings will choose to believe heaven and hell exist. For those people, do anything necessary to convince them they must earn their way into heaven. Above all else, distract man from considering the message of salvation by grace through faith in Christ. No matter what, man must not hear that message. Do anything which distracts believers from spreading the message of salvation in your territory.
Well there you have it. Can you imagine Satan devising such a plan? That is, if he is real, and God is real, and the cross is man's only hope for salvation. It seems like it would be an effective plan. Many human beings would become ensnared by such enticing distractions.
If such strategies were actually being carried out, there would be plenty of evidence right before our eyes, right? Well, look carefully in the world today. What does the evidence suggest to you? Are these 7 strategies for distraction just an imaginative myth, or reality?
If you are too blind to see the Savior today, you probably don't even recognize the very things which are being used to confuse and distract you. Such is the nature of spiritual warfare.
Or did you think the devil was going to show up in a red suit with a pitchfork?
Dan Delzell is the pastor of Wellspring Lutheran Church in Papillion, Neb. He is a regular contributor to The Christian Post.