Creating confusion is the most effective attack Satan launches on those who profess their faith and trust in God’s promises.
“Did God really say…..?” is whispered in the ears of a believer, thereby creating doubt and confusion for those who may not be anchored firmly to the mooring of truth found in God’s Word.
Like a helpless seed surrounded by thorns, the worries and anxieties of life overpower and consumes a faith — until it’s no more.
That is the ultimate strategy of a scoffer.
“First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.” (2 Peter 3:3)
A “scoffer” is a deceiver. They are false teachers who have a spirit that is contrary to God. Many scoffers proclaim to be Christian, but really are vessels of an evil spirit intent on instilling doubt in God’s promises. They proclaim a different truth apart from the gospel that tickles the ears of human reason. For this reason, believers need to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)
Here are seven ways a spirit of the devil attempts to create confusion in a believer’s faith:
1. Begin to doubt God’s love
When God allows difficult circumstances in our life to mold and shape us to bear even greater fruit, we have the natural tendency to doubt His care and concern for our lives. We are more prone to question, “Did God really promise that?” Desperate for evidence, we begin to question and even rebel against God’s love when it is in the form of discipline.
2. Minimize sin
When we observe people enjoying worldly pleasures, we think we are all alone. We begin to think that we are missing something better. Little sins of desire add up to the bigger sins of action. The excuses to sin begin to pile up to be so large, that we forget to make excuses anymore. So, what are you reading right now? What are you watching?
3. Drift into smugness, despair, or apathy
The seeds of frustration, hurt, or disappointment can prompt apathy or despair. Sometimes we compare our lives to others or redefine success that is contrary to God’s will. We are tempted to give up, so we give in. The devil plants the thought, “What’s the use?”, so we drift toward losing trust in God’s promises.
4. Grow careless and worldly in our daily lives
There is a reason why the Bible states, “Watch out!” and “Be on your guard!” Like a prowling lion hiding in the weeds, the devil is ready to pounce on the careless. Be mindful of the spiritual battle that exists in every believer’s life. To be worldly in our thoughts and actions invites the enemy into our camp.
5. Love trash and ignore treasure
We all have the tendency to pursue earthly treasures thinking that the rewards of contentment, comfort, and security are worth the pursuit. Who has not dreamed of winning the lottery — perhaps even bartering with God that we would give most of it away to the church? I think Solomon would have called most earthly treasures as trash — expendable, short-term, and never enough. Heavenly treasures are far more valuable and far more accessible.
6. Neglect important relationships
Relationships are anchor points. As bad company corrupts good character, good company promotes godly character. So often, we choose to be the Lone Ranger. We attempt to wear a mask to hide our identity while we dabble in sinful thoughts, actions, or attitudes. Important relationships can be a form of great encouragement to hold on or to remain in Christ.
7. Stay embarrassed and quiet about our witness
The Bible says that perfect love drives out fear. Christ in us declares that we are not ashamed of the gospel. Then why do we stay embarrassed when God presents opportunities to share His Word? What prompts us to be quiet? Who plants the fear in our lives? Perfect love comes from Christ and is the fruit of Christ dwelling in us. By remaining in Christ, we are not ashamed of Christ. Opportunities to share our faith no longer become something to fear, but are embraced. For this is what God desires.
Can you think of any other ways “a scoffer” attempts to create confusion in a believer’s life?