September 7, 2020

– 2 Cor 2:11
“…in order that Satan might not outwit us.  For we are not unaware of his schemes.” 

The believers in Corinth underwent a number of deep struggles for a sustained period of time.  Paul had one of the longest stays of his ministry in Corinth (18 months, Acts 18:11; second to 3 years in Ephesus, Acts 20:31).

The problems in the church in Corinth included divisions, factions, poor leadership, drunkenness during worship, sexual immorality and on and on. Paul visited and wrote to the Corinthians many times, and sometimes all he could say was that the whole thing was just “painful” (2 Cor 2:1).

Yet, amidst it all, Paul knew that God is always quick to embrace the humble and repentant heart.  Much quicker than we are.  And so Paul urges unity (2:5-11): Nurture relationships.  Realize that attacks on our fellowship are of the Enemy.  They are part of his “schemes.”

* * *

Today, we do not have the depths of disorder that Corinth did.  But the Enemy’s strategies remain largely unchanged.  Today, the Enemy would love to use every ounce of weariness you have with the virus to discourage you.  He wants to wear you down; to encourage you to be irritable and to become frustrated with others; to hold on to the irritations – to break fellowship.  He wants relationships to deteriorate.  God is a Triune God – unity in community; therefore, the Devil schemes against such loving bonds.

This is what I had on my heart this week: be on guard that the Devil encourage you to be frustrated, tired, think and speak badly of others – because his goal is to weaken friendships.  Be on guard: “For we are not unaware of his schemes.”  I believe that is one of his schemes now: to divide us in any way possible.  To divide us by encouraging us to hold on to our critique of another.  

What shall we do?  In Paul’s context in 2 Corinthians 2, it called for forgiveness.  We could add the rejoicing and celebrating of Philippians. So go ahead and name out loud things that you are thankful for.  Do it while on a walk.  Do it with others.  Do it at the dinner table.  Find something to thank God for – even in that person you have been harping on their perceived faults.

Be aware of the Devil’s schemes.  Of spiritual attacks on the church.

It makes all the difference.

* * *
Father, forgive me of my critical thoughts and speech towards others.  Of things that do not help relationships. Help me rejoice in You.  Thank You for this beautiful weather this Labor Day Weekend in Jesus’ Name.  Amen.