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Snared By the Schemer

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
February 11, 2022 12:00 am

Snared By the Schemer

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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February 11, 2022 12:00 am

Dr. Stanley walks through how Satan deceives us and how to remain safe from his schemes.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Friday, February 11th. Satan is the enemy of every child of God. Learn to recognize his tactics and avoid being snared by the schemer. Temptation is a fact of life and it's not going away.

It doesn't make a difference how young you are, how old you are. Temptation is always going to be with us, so you can't run from it. That doesn't mean that you're not to flee in the midst of temptation, but you can't run and escape from temptation in life. And the reason is, is because Satan, who is the great tempter, is always going to be there attempting to accomplish his purpose. If someone should ask you, what is Satan's ultimate bottom line purpose, this is it. Satan's bottom line purpose in your life and mine and everyone else's is to alienate us from God. That is, he wants to alienate us in this life and our fellowship with him or to a person who's lost. It is to alienate that person from God for all eternity. But alienation to interfere with our fellowship and to divide us and separate us from God is always his ultimate goal. Now though temptation is not going to go away, it may vary in its manifestations in your life, in the intensity with which it comes.

It may diminish in some areas and intensify in others. Temptation is not always going to come the same way. And I think all of us would agree there's some things Satan wouldn't even tempt us with. That is, Satan knows better than to tempt some of us to drink. But he knows some other things that are far more subtle and far more effective in our lives than that. On the other hand, someone else may be tempted in that area.

Whatever the temptation is, you and I know that when Satan comes to us with that temptation, he has found, he already knows that there is an area of weakness there. And so what does he do? In his scheming plotting to defeat us, he uses what he knows will always at least get our attention.

So I want to title this message Snared by the Schemer. And I want to talk about in this message what I believe is his choicest method of defeating us. If you just think about all the words by which Satan is described and he's called, you know, the evil one, the murderer, the liar, the prince of the powers of the air. He has many, many names. But it's interesting how he's described and what is alluded to him in 2 Corinthians chapter 2 and verse 11.

I want you to turn there for a moment, if you will. 2 Corinthians chapter 2 verse 11. And Paul is writing to the Corinthians here and talking about their conduct and so forth.

And he comes to the tenth verse, and it's interesting how he links these two things together. When he says, But whom you forgive anything, I forgive also. For indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ in order that no advantage be taken of us by Satan, but we're not ignorant of his schemes.

And so he says forgiveness is a very important part in our Christian life in protecting ourselves from Satan's schemes. But notice that last phrase that I want us to deal with, we are not ignorant of his schemes. The truth is many people are defeated in their life every day because they are ignorant of the schemes of the devil. Now what is a scheme?

A scheme is an underhanded plot or plan with a very specific objective in mind, which is to defeat or undermine in some fashion. And when we talk about the snare, a snare is simply a trap. And that is Satan is attempting to trap us, to catch us, to capture us by his scheming, underhanded plotting way of getting our attention off of our Lord Jesus Christ and onto something else. So what I would like for us to do is to look at the scheme that Satan uses and to think about it in terms of maybe how you and I have been tempted in things and how he uses this idea. And the best way for me to describe this is to use some characters to illustrate with some characters of the Old Testament.

But first of all let me state it. Satan's choice is way to cause us to be snared in temptation is to do this. His choice method is to get our focus off the big picture of life and narrow it down to the one single thing he's going to use to snare us. And what he does is he simply alters our focus. Get it off the big picture down to the single thing.

Now you think about this for a moment. When you're tempted by anything, the intensity of the temptation increases to the proportion or to the degree you focus on the object of temptation. That is to the degree to which your focus is geared and is directed to that object of temptation to that degree is the intensity of that temptation. And so what does he do? He simply attempts to get our focus narrowed down. Well let's start if you will in Genesis chapter three with Eve. And notice what the object here is. You'll notice that in verse three the serpent was more crafty.

He was a schemer. And that's why Paul says in Ephesians chapter six, we're to put on the whole armor of God to protect ourselves from us against the schemes, the trickery, those underhanded scheming tactics of Satan. So he says to her, indeed has God said you shall not eat from any tree of the garden and then they carry on. The woman said to the serpent from the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat. But from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden God has said you shall not eat from it or touch it lest you die. The serpent said to the woman you surely shall not die for God knows that in the day that you eat from it your eyes will be open and you will be like God knowing good and evil.

Now look at this. When the woman saw, now that just doesn't mean she sort of glanced up because he brought her attention to that anyway already. When she saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes, that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit, ate and she gave to her husband with her and he ate. The eyes of them both were open.

Now what did he do? He didn't say Eve look at this fantastic garden. It's a wonderful garden. He said Eve look at the fruit. And he said if you'll take a bite of the fruit, don't look at the garden, it's not the garden, it's the fruit. If you'll take a bite of the fruit you'll be like God, you'll be smart.

So what he did is he took Eve's focus and he got it off all the garden, all the other trees, brought it down not just the one tree but the fruit and said if you will eat of the fruit of this tree you'll be like God knowing the difference between good and evil. The second thing I want you to notice, let's go to Joshua chapter 7. Look if you will in verse 20. And you'll recall this is when Joshua confronts Achan about stealing the gold and silver.

And look if you will in verse 20. So Achan answered Joshua and said, Truly I have sinned against the Lord the God of Israel and this is what I did. When I saw among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar and two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold fifty shekels in weight and I coveted them and took them and behold they're concealing the earth inside my tent with the silver underneath it.

You know what he did? Here's what he did, he took his eyes off the big picture because they were taking a city, they were being obedient to God and all that was involved in that tremendous victory. Satan got his eyes off the victory, off of what God was up to in his life the nation of Israel and got it on one thing and all of a sudden he was glued and magnetized by gold, silver, and those clothings that he wanted. He got his focus down to the one thing and he worked on him with the gold and the silver just like he worked on Eve with the fruit. With Eve it'll make you like God.

You'll have position. With Achan it'll make you rich, it'll make you wealthy. He got his eyes off the big picture. I want you to turn if you will to 2 Samuel and you recall in 2 Samuel this is the account in the 11th chapter if you'll turn there for a moment. The 11th chapter of 2 Samuel what's happening now that there is peace in David's kingdom the scripture says in chapter 11 verse 1. Then it happened in the spring at the time when kings go out to battle that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Reba but David stayed at Jerusalem. Now when the evening came David arose from his bed and walked right on the roof of king's house and from the roof he saw a woman bathing and the woman was very beautiful in appearance.

You know what happened? Walking around looking over the city and off of his balcony seeing all that God had done all of a sudden here's what Satan did. He narrowed his focus down to one household and one woman taking a bath and Satan just narrowed his focus down. He forgot all about being a king for a moment. He forgot all about the battles he'd won that he was the king of Israel all that God had done for him. He took his eyes off the big picture got it narrowed down to one woman taking a bath and it was the disaster for his life.

Well let's keep going. I want you to turn to 1 Kings chapter 19 for a moment. In 1 Kings chapter 19 you'll recall that God had told Elijah told him to announce there's not going to be any rain in all of Israel and so there wasn't any and then of course you know he told him that there would be and so this is the thing that's going on but I want you to notice what happens in chapter 19. Now Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah saying so may the gods do to me and even more if I do not make your life is the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time. She said I'm going to kill you that's what she sent and he was afraid and rose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba which belongs to Judah and left his servant there but he himself went a day's journey to the wilderness and came and sat down under a juniper tree and he requested for himself that he might die and said it is enough now oh Lord take my life for I'm not better than my fathers. What in the world happened to this giant of a prophet?

Here's what happened to him. He had watched God did this amazing work. He'd watched God defeat the prophets of Baal but all of a sudden guess what Satan did? He got his focus off of all the victories that God had brought about in his life and narrowed it down to one woman and her name was Jezebel and the only thing he could think about was Jezebel and her power to kill him her vengeance her hatred her animosity her hostility toward him.

She says you send him a message tomorrow I'm going to kill him and you know what happened? He got his focus off of this mighty omnipotent God who'd worked a miracle in his life before the nation of Israel and got it on one woman and on her position and her professed power and what happens? He backslides out there thinking about the wrong thing. Now here's what I want to say with those four illustrations. Every time you and I get defeated we get defeat the same way.

Every single time we get defeated ultimately that's it. Satan you see this is what temptation does. Temptation by its very nature is magnetic.

That is Satan whether it's a thing or somebody or whatever it might be Satan gets our focus narrowed down to the one thing that he wants us to think about and once he gets your focus on that then he begins to send you all of these messages. You've got to have it. You want it.

It'll satisfy your need. You ever have to work again or whatever it might be he starts pumping you with all of his lies because he is the father of lies. It is the narrowed focus that is his ultimate tactic his ultimate scheme. If he can get you to get your focus narrowed enough he knows you're not going to keep the big picture in mind and if you don't here's what's going to happen.

First of all by you're not backing off and you get tunnel vision telescopic sight this thing that that suddenly begins to magnetize you and draw you you get blotted out and blacked out of questions like these. Is this the will of God for my life? How is this going to affect my life? Will this hinder my success in my walk?

Will this get me where I'm going? What are the consequences of such an act or if I get this or receive that I go there? What are the consequences? How is it going to affect me in the future? Am I going to have guilt? Am I going to feel pain? Am I going to hurt other people? Who around me is going to suffer as a result of this? Will it hurt my relationship to Christ? Will I be glad I did or sorry I did? You see how many times have you said God I knew better? You sure did but your focus got narrowed. And friend let me tell you something that's exactly the scheme of the devil. He's always used it because it's always worked.

Why should he do anything else? Narrows our focus. Now think about people who read pornography.

Here's a good example. People who read pornography for example they get their focus and Satan narrows their focus down and says this is what you want or wouldn't you like to have this or whatever it might be. And all of a sudden they forget to ask the question how does this fit in the will of God for my life? What is this going to contribute to my life? Will this hinder God's purpose and plan for my life?

Who else is it going to affect? And the only thing that matters is in those moments a narrowed, penetrating, intense focus, this, this and nothing else. Now what happens? There's defeat. Satan's always done that.

That's the way he operates. But I want you to go back if you will to another character in the scripture and there are many things we could say about that. I want you to go back to Genesis 39. In Genesis chapter 39 here's a young man who had the same kind of temptation.

It was an intense one. And you see with Eve it was a temptation for power. With Achan it was a temptation for material possessions, money. With David it was a temptation, it was a moral temptation, a sexual temptation. And with Elijah it was fear to forget all that God had done and get concentrated on one woman's threat.

But I want you to look in the 39th chapter of Genesis. You remember this is the story of Joseph. And you recall how Potiphar's wife had attempted to seduce him and verse 7 says, it came about after these events that his master's wife looked with desire at Joseph. Now she's the one who got her focus all narrowed down. And she was the one who was coming on saying, lie with me, lie with me, lie with me.

Joseph could have let his focus get all narrowed down on this woman. But here's what he did. He backed off and he said, God has put me in this place. God has entrusted to me and your husband has entrusted to me all that I'm responsible for. You're his wife.

He's entrusted everything to me but you. You see, he's keeping the big focus. And then here's his big line.

Listen to what he says. He says, how can I do this great evil and sin against God? You know what he was thinking about? He was thinking about how it would affect him, how it would affect his master, how it would affect God's plan for his life, whatever that is. And listen, Joseph not even knowing this awesome, fantastic, unbelievable, historical plan that God had for his life to save the nation of Egypt, to make him the prime minister and make him a man who would be written up in scriptures and thousands of years later we're still talking about him.

He didn't know that. But he kept the big picture that whatever God wanted to do with his life, he didn't want it messed up. And my friend, the only thing that'll save us in temptation is keeping the big picture.

Those are wise enough to back off and ask the good questions, the best questions, the real questions. God, what is the wise thing to do? God, how's this going to affect my life? God, how's this going to affect what your will is for my life?

How's this going to affect those around me? When you start asking those questions, it's amazing what happens. I want you to turn, if you will, to Colossians chapter 3.

Listen to what he says. Since you've been raised up with Christ, let it be your lifestyle to keep on seeking the things above. That is spiritual things, the knowledge and wisdom and gifts of God. Where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God, set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

For you've died of these things. Your life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, whose life is revealed, then you'll also be revealed with him. Set your mind on the things above. Go back, if you will, to Philippians chapter 4 for a moment.

Philippians chapter 4, Paul says in verse 8, finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. The mind of man is Satan's battlefield. That's where all the battles go on. The battles don't go on with your hands and your feet or even your eyes or your ears or your lips.

The battle is in your mind. Will you allow Satan to snare you by narrowing your focus down to what he wants you to have in order to destroy you or will you back off and get the big picture and ask yourself the question, is this pure? Is this lovely? Is this good? Is this right? Is this godly? Is this a part of God's perfect plan for my life? Set your mind on the things above and to say it a little bit more narrower, set your mind on Christ.

And my friend, listen, Satan will have a hard time defeating you in temptation when you keep the big picture. Thank you for listening to today's podcast, Snared by the Schemer. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by intouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-06 13:12:21 / 2023-06-06 13:20:07 / 8

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