The devil is the enemy of all. However, while one is in sin, whether he is morally good or bad, the devil does not have to use much effort on him, for he is already his servant. But when one becomes a Christian, the devil is a roaring lion, walking about seeking to devour him (1 Peter 5:8).

I believe the devil has three objectives relative to accountable people. One objective is regarding the sinner and two are in regard to those who have left Satan.

His first objective is to keep people out of the church. He knows that the Lord, without fail, adds the saved to the church (Acts 2:47). Man may tell you the church is not important, but the devil knows it is. He knows that Christ’s blood purchased the church (Acts 20:28). He knows that which is purchased (the church) is as important as the price paid (the blood). Just as the only way to get benefit from $80 one pays for a pair of shoes is to utilize the shoes, the devil knows the only way for one to benefit from the blood (the price paid) is to utilize the purchased item (the church). To throw the shoes away is tantamount to throwing away the $80 and to disregard the church is to equally disregard the blood. One may as well ask “by what blood are you saved?” as to ask, “of what church are you a member?” The one saving blood purchased the one saved relationship.

The devil has many ways (devices, see 2 Corinthians 2:11) to keep people out of the church. He has great success at keeping people out of the church by convincing them the church is non-essential. He persuades people to think any church is as good an as any other and even that no church is necessary if one is filled with “love.”

He keeps many out of the church by ridicule and misrepresentation. He, through his servants, ridicules truth and misrepresents those who teach and practice it. The chief of the Jews could not answer Jesus yet, would not obey Him; so, they said He cast devils by the prince of devils (Mark 3:22). The devil is still having success with this device.

Church trouble is one of his favorite devices for keeping people out of the church. If Satan can get members of a local church to biting and devouring one another, he has effectively accomplished his purpose. People of the world are not converted by brethren devouring one another. Such things are repulsive to them.

Jesus said He would build His church and that the devil could not stop Him (Matt.16:18). The devil had Him killed, but He arose and built His church anyway. Since the devil could not prevent it, he did the next best thing for his purpose; he built his many churches (see Revelation 2:9) and convinced men that his were as good as the one Jesus built. This device is the doom of many today.

If the devil fails to keep one out of the church, he then does all he can to get that one back into his domain. This is his second device. To this one he is now the roaring lion seeking to devour. Peter tells of some who fell to this objective (2 Peter 2:20-21).

The devil tries to weaken one’s faith through worldly enterprise. Many are the ones who have let a business or job cause them to go back to Satan’s service.

He has also used church trouble very effectively here. Many weak members have let the ungodliness of some they had thought to be strong to cause them to cease serving God.

He has also had great success in getting people back into his service by means of evil companions (1 Corinthians 15:33). Peers are one of the strongest influences on people - especially young people.

Brethren, let us be aware of his devices and resist him and submit ourselves to God, and he will flee (James 4:7).

If the devil fails to get one to denounce Christ, he pursues his third objective – he tries to render one useless to the Lord. Ask yourself: “What am I worth in His service?” Do I just occupy a pew? Am I really serving the Lord?

The devil renders one worthless by keeping him ignorant. He will not study at home. He will miss Bible class for any trivial excuse. And he is interested in only part of the sermon – the end. He may sing “O how I love Jesus” and “I will work and pray” but the devil has him in his service. And there he will remain until he begins to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.

He renders many useless to the Master’s cause by keeping them interested in pleasure. Far more members of local churches are serving the goddess of pleasure than we may realize. Some are always up late Saturday night, sleep late Sunday morning, and arrive late at the assembly – if at all. Some go to the lake for the weekend, stay until midafternoon Sunday, then pacify their conscience by “taking the supper” Sunday evening. But the truth is that Satan has accomplished his objective of rendering them useless to the Lord.

Satan renders many useless by keeping them stingy. They spend so much of their money on pleasure and things that they cannot give bountifully of what they have prospered to the Lord.

He renders some useless by making them chronic grouches. They are always there, but they keep friction going too, and the devil dances with glee.

He renders some useless by making them adept at excuses. What they need to realize is that as they excuse themselves from the Lord’s work, they are excusing themselves into hell.

The devil renders some useless by hypocrisy. On Sunday morning they sing “I love thy kingdom Lord” and “I will work and pray and labor every day in the vineyard of the Lord” and then will not even come back for the Wednesday night service, or they may attend every service, but on the job talk and act like the world.

Let us not, Gentle reader, be a victim of any of his devices. There is no need to be. God has provided a way of escape (2 Corinthians 10:13) And man can use that way of escape. He can pray for strength to resist the devil and do God’s will. If we do these things when we are tempted, it will not be that we can, but that we will escape the devil’s devices. Brethren, let us not be ignorant of his devices – not only in knowledge, but also in practice.

Jesse Jenkins