As sure as there is a Heaven, there is a Hell. As sure as there is a God, there is a devil. The devil is not as powerful as God. He is not an equal and opposite force. God is far superior and can easily defeat the devil. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take the devil seriously. Peter warns, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5: 8). Satan will try to keep you from becoming a Christian. If you become a Christian, he will try to keep you from growing. If you grow and develop in your faith, he will try to distract and tempt you to fall. He will do any-thing to keep you from being fruitful.

To prove this, I would like to update a classic fable as an illustration. It’s called “The Convention” and describes some of the ways the devil works to destroy us spiritually.

Satan called a worldwide convention. In his opening address to his evil angels, he said, “We can’t keep the Christians from going to church. We can’t keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth. We can’t even keep them from conservative values. But we can do something else. We can keep them from forming an intimate, growing relationship experience with Christ. If they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken. So let them go to church, let them have their conservative lifestyles, but steal their time, so they can’t gain that relationship with Jesus. This is what I want you to do, angels. Distract them from gaining hold of their Savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!”

“How shall we do this?” shouted his angels. “Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life and invent un-numbered schemes to occupy their minds,” he answered. “Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, then, borrow, borrow, borrow. Convince the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6 or 7 days a week, 10 to 12 hours a day, so they can afford their lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their children. As their family fragments, soon, their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work.”

“Overstimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still small voice. Entice them to play the radio or podcasts as they drive, to keep the TV, Netflix, video games, and their cell phones going constantly in their homes. See to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays music or has the TV on constantly. This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ. Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day. Invade their driving moments with billboards. Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, and their inboxes with ads, free products, unnecessary services, and false hopes.”

“Even in their recreation, let them be excessive. Have them return from their recreation exhausted and unprepared for the coming week. Don’t let them go out in nature to reflect on God’s wonders. Send them to sporting events, concerts, and movies instead.”

“And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences and unsettled emotions. Let them be involved in soul-winning. But crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Christ. Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family unity for the good of the cause.”

It was quite a convention in the end. And the evil angels went eagerly to their assignments causing Christians everywhere to get busy, busy, busy and rush here and there.

That little fable reminds me a lot of life in today’s society. It can even describe life in an active church. If we are not careful, we will let all that busyness distract us from our relationship with our God. It can keep us from noticing the people in our path that need our help. The devil is an expert at making us unfruitful.

Jesus, in His first parable, warns about the devil’s schemes to make us unfruitful. Remember His explanation of the parable:

Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience. (Mark 8:11-15)

If he can, Satan will take the Word right out of our hearts. He will distract us so that we will never believe the truth. If we do believe, he will use persecution to discourage us. If that doesn’t work, the tried and true methods of the cares of this world and the desire for the pleasures of this life are often enough to lead us astray. But if we love God and understand how the devil works, we can avoid his attempts to cause us to fail and form the intimate growing relationship with Jesus that He died to offer us. As surely as there is a Heaven, God wants us to be there with Him.

~ Mike