What comes to mind when you think about the meaning of “diabolical”? By definition, diabolical means “anything that is extremely wicked, cruel and evil.” If we were thinking about it on a global scale, most of us would probably view diabolical in terms of genocide, murder, child abuse, or any of the horrible and pervasive tragedies that happen in the world. And most – if not all – of us would agree that Satan is involved in all of these evil acts.
But I’d like to challenge a common perception about what is — and what isn’t — diabolical. Often we view demonic activity in terms of obvious evil or spiritual attack, so we’re not always aware of is how subtle Satan’s activity can be. As Christians, it’s important that we recognize that the enemy’s main method of attack is not through the obvious, atrocious acts of evil. It is actually more sinister than this.
Satan’s agenda comes packaged so deceptively that we may never know we’re coming under demonic attack.
To shed some light on how the enemy works to destroy our lives, we first need to understand God’s view of what’s diabolical. According to Proverbs 3, God considers evil to be arrogance and pride, as well as when people plot to harm others, oppress the poor, and stir up dissention. It also says that God hates all forms of evil. This means God detests even the deception that happens in the small areas of our hearts.
And here’s why: God is opposed to anything that is contrary to Him and His agenda to give us an abundant life full of love, grace, forgiveness, healing and peace.
In contrast, Satan’s agenda is to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10:10) The Bible describes Satan as our enemy who “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet 5:8). Although he was defeated at the cross, the enemy still wreaks havoc on our lives by lying and deceiving, corrupting everything that is wholesome and good, and by bringing shame on our hearts.
He also loves to divide families and churches by creating disunity. In fact, one of the most subtle and lethal ways the devil attacks us is by dividing and conquering our relationships. He wants to ruin all of our relationships — with friends, spouses, small groups, parents, and kids. And he knows that the quickest and easiest way to do this is by getting us to divide over our differences.
So how do we recognize Satan’s subtle schemes to divide us?
- Learn how to recognize the danger of division when you find yourself moving from seeing others as merely “different” to forming an attitude of “I’m right and they’re wrong.”
- Be sensitive to seasons when you’re especially at risk for falling prey to the enemy’s schemes, like times of rapid change and growth. As things change, grow and multiply, your unmet needs – either real or perceived — begin surface in your relationships. During this time, there’s a greater tendency to see each other’s differences as the cause and place blame. This is the start of division that can end relationships.
- Instead of placing blame, choose to remember God’s will and agenda for your life. You may need to apologize or recognize the need to “agree to disagree.” Sometimes that even requires forgiveness in situations you may not understand. This takes power and strength, but be encouraged because “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
This week, we’ll begin a new series called Diabolical: Satan’s Agenda for Planet Earth. In it, you will learn how to recognize Satan’s hidden agenda in your life, and how to apply Biblical principles that protect you from falling prey to his schemes and becoming part of a greater diabolical plan. It is my prayer that this series will heighten your awareness of the ongoing battle that rages around you and safeguard your soul with truth and tools the Lord.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip