The devil is very sneaky. He wants to control you and destroy your life forever along with those you know and love. And the way he goes about this is most often not by overpowering you but by seducing you to buy what he's selling.
The Bible says that he appears to us as an angel of light trying to hide his real intentions. He will offer you things that appeal to your sinful and selfish nature and tell you that giving in to them won't harm you in the least. He tries to wear you down with endless promises of self-actualization, self-fulfillment and self-advancement that will satisfy the longings of our hearts.
We know that Satan tempted Adam and Eve, the first human couple, as well as Jesus, the Son of God. Adam and Eve took the bait and paid the price with repercussions that still affect every human being today. Jesus, on the other hand, didn't give in to the devil's temptations and completed his earthly mission to save lost sinners. How did Jesus handle Satan so effectively? With God's Word (see Matthew 4:1-11).
You and I will constantly be seduced by Satan. He wants our hearts to be surrendered to him and his worldly ways. However, the devil can't just barge in and take over if we are followers of Christ because we have the Holy Spirit in us. So how does Satan gain control of our hearts? When we give him access through the gateways of our minds.
This usually happens gradually. A thought, a glance, an idea, an offer of success - any number of things that seem harmless enough but in reality have strings attached. Giving into them opens the gate of your mind into your heart and the real trouble begins. I read an article in a leadership journal a number of years ago that described the stages of falling away from God and becoming ensnared by the enemy. It starts with temptation to do what God forbids. The doorway is opened by giving in to encountering the enticement. Once experienced, the craving for more grows into an addiction that is difficult to break. Then escalation of the habit happens because the level of stimulation of doing the same thing isn't enough. After a while what once would have seemed shocking and inconceivable behaviour becomes tolerable through desensitization. Very sad....
And all of this started with giving the enemy access to our hearts by opening the gates of our minds. We weren't prepared to see through the devil's schemes and we paid the price. And further to that, we are then in no position to protect others we are responsible for looking after from falling into the same traps.
This Sunday I will be speaking to you about the importance of being gatekeepers. I'll show how important gatekeepers were for the city of Jerusalem and how that relates to us now. Read through the lists in Nehemiah 11:1-12:26 in preparation. It will give you some background to the necessity of guarding the gates.