Tool of the Devil

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Tool of the Devil

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Can someone in God’s Church ever become a pawn in the hands of the devil? Have you ever allowed Satan to influence your decisions? We are warned to be careful—Satan is extremely subtle and can influence people much easier than we might think. How does Satan devour? The dictionary describes the word devour as to “prey upon,” “destroy,” “consume,” “bedevil,” “dispose of,” “make short work of,” “get caught up in” and “watch or listen with eager persistence.”

If someone wanted to devour and destroy God’s Church, how might they do it?

If someone wanted to devour and destroy God’s Church, how might they do it? During the time of Rome, the devil’s method was cruel persecution. Today with freedom of religion in most of the world, the devil uses a different set of rules—a method we call divide and conquer.

The destructiveness of division is illustrated by what Jesus said in Luke 11:17-18 Luke 11:17-18 [17] But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falls. [18] If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because you say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub.
American King James Version×
;any organization or effort that is divided will be so weakened that it will eventually fail.

The tool of gossip

One of the devil’s main tools, both outside the Church and especially inside the Church, is gossip. Any of us can so easily become guilty of gossip. Idle talk often degenerates into gossip. Furthermore, the information passed on does not have to be false to be gossip. Even truth, especially in a negative light, is gossip.

“Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story” seems to be the slogan for most tabloid publications, based on the premise that inquiring minds want to know. But those stories are often based on innuendo and half-truths. A tiny drop of poison in a glass of water makes it undrinkable. In the same way, a little distortion added to truth makes it poisonous gossip. Paul used the same analogy in his letter to the Corinthian church when he wrote, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump” (1 Corinthians 5:6 1 Corinthians 5:6Your glorying is not good. Know you not that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
American King James Version×
).

Remember the childhood saying, “Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me”? This simple children’s rhyme is untrue. Words can be more harmful. Physical bodies can heal, but wounds caused by gossip can last a lifetime. “He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends” (Proverbs 17:9 Proverbs 17:9He that covers a transgression seeks love; but he that repeats a matter separates very friends.
American King James Version×
). “A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates the best of friends” (Proverbs 16:28 Proverbs 16:28A fraudulent man sows strife: and a whisperer separates chief friends.
American King James Version×
).

God hates gossip. “These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren” (Proverbs 6:16-19 Proverbs 6:16-19 [16] These six things does the LORD hate: yes, seven are an abomination to him: [17] A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, [18] An heart that devises wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, [19] A false witness that speaks lies, and he that sows discord among brothers.
American King James Version×
).

“Here is a description of worthless and wicked people. They are constant liars, signaling their true intentions to their friends by making signs with their eyes and feet and fingers. Their perverted hearts plot evil. They stir up trouble constantly” (Proverbs 6:12-14 Proverbs 6:12-14 [12] A naughty person, a wicked man, walks with a fraudulent mouth. [13] He winks with his eyes, he speaks with his feet, he teaches with his fingers; [14] Frowardness is in his heart, he devises mischief continually; he sows discord.
American King James Version×
, New Living Translation).

In many ways gossip is like a time bomb. It can cause an explosion scattering fragments, bits and pieces of truth, mixed with exaggeration and lies.

God’s interpretation of a fool is not someone who is harmless, as we often think today, but rather one who is dangerous. “Whoever hides hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool” (Proverbs 10:18 Proverbs 10:18He that hides hatred with lying lips, and he that utters a slander, is a fool.
American King James Version×
). Gossiping lacks total discretion, and often involves meddling in someone else’s life “He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips” (Proverbs 20:19 Proverbs 20:19He that goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flatters with his lips.
American King James Version×
). An individual who continually gossips is someone who spends words like a fool spends time and money.

Hurt and division

Gossip causes contention, hurt and destruction of character, serving only self-interest. “A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul. The words of a talebearer [one who gossips] are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly” (Proverbs 18:7-8 Proverbs 18:7-8 [7] A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul. [8] The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
American King James Version×
, King James Version).

Gossip creates anger, causing strife and division. “Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; and where there is no talebearer, strife ceases” (Proverbs 26:20 Proverbs 26:20Where no wood is, there the fire goes out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceases.
American King James Version×
).

In many ways gossip is like a time bomb. It can cause an explosion, scattering fragments, bits and pieces of truth, mixed with exaggeration and lies. It will often cut people who were once the best of friends so deep that the wounds, at least in this lifetime, may never fully heal.

One of the most deadly weapons we can use is our tongue. The “tongue devises destruction, like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. You love evil more than good, lying rather than speaking righteousness” (Psalms 52:2-3 Psalms 52:2-3 [2] The tongue devises mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. [3] You love evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah.
American King James Version×
).

James issued this strong warning: “Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell…But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:5-6 James 3:5-6 [5] Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasts great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindles! [6] And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
American King James Version×
, 8).

Gossip is one of the worst curses we have in this world; and if we let it, it can be a terrible curse for God’s Church. The problem is simple, but solving it is extremely difficult. We know what gossip is. We know we should not get involved, yet how often do we pay attention?

Notice this poignant instruction: “Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil. Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; therefore let your words be few” (Ecclesiastes 5:1-3 Ecclesiastes 5:1-3 [1] Keep your foot when you go to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. [2] Be not rash with your mouth, and let not your heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and you on earth: therefore let your words be few. [3] For a dream comes through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.
American King James Version×
).

Our Savior made it abundantly clear. The words we utter could eventually come back to haunt us. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:35-37 Matthew 12:35-37 [35] A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. [36] But I say to you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. [37] For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.
American King James Version×
).

Before we repeat a story, let’s ask a few questions? Is it true? Do I really need to know this? Do other people need to know it? Is it fair? Is it necessary? “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:37 Matthew 12:37For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.
American King James Version×
). This is an important lesson, a lesson we can all work on, because the last thing any of us want to be is a tool of the devil.

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