Lest Satan should take advantage of us;

For we are not ignorant of his devices.”

II Corinthians 2:11

We have all heard of the “divide and conquer” strategy. No one has mastered it like the devil. In fact, he wrote the playbook on it. Every dictator and gossiper just follows his lead.

In recent months many have exposed how this tactic unfolds when communists take over a country. This scheme involves four crucial stages:

  • Demoralize. Crush the spirit of people. Destroy their hope. Fill their minds with disillusionment. Create an air of fear, anger, and depression.
  • Destabilize. Isolate people. Make them suspicious and distrustful. Undermine basic institutions by destroying confidence in leaders and encouraging rebellion and anarchy. Stir hatred.
  • Crisis. Exaggerate a problem or manufacture a crisis to cause panic. Warn citizens that they cannot save themselves and that the only solution is radical change.
  • Normalize. Create the illusion that the new culture, no matter how absurd and evil it may be, is the new normal. The next generation will not even notice that good has become evil and evil has become good.

Let’s look at this devilish plot in a more personal and spiritual way. Isn’t the devil manipulating us in the same way in our families, our congregations, and our individual lives?

  • Satan wants to break our spirits. He wants us to think the church is nothing but a bunch of hypocrites, the Bible is confusing and useless today, and the idea of mom, dad, and the kids is obsolete. He tries to discourage us to the point that we say, “It is useless to serve God” (Mal. 3:14).
  • Satan divides and unsettles us. God hates “one who sows discord among brethren” (Prov. 6:19). Satan’s purpose is to turn people against each other. He gets into a family and turns the children against their parents and the parents against one another. He rises up in a church and divides Christians with false teaching and personal quarrels. We must heed Paul’s warning and not be naïve about his tricks. The word devil means “a false accuser” or “slanderer.”
  • The devil uses a crisis to persuade us to give up. It may be a health problem, an emotional issue, a financial disaster, a stressful relationship, a church scandal or split, or the death of someone close. It may be two or more of these at the same time for a long while. He used every pain and heartache imaginable to try to crush Job. What Jesus said to Peter is a warning for us: “Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat” (Luke 22:31).
  • When he is successful, the devil convinces fallen Christians that their life has returned to normal. No more getting up on Sunday morning to go to church. Enjoy the day like everyone else. No more feeling uncomfortable around people because you disagree with how they live or what they believe. Live and let live, leave hard questions to the experts, and forget about “the” truth.

 

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (I Pet. 5:8).

-Kerry Duke