Life.Church Senior Pastor Craig Groeschel is warning Christians that Satan “doesn’t bother those who aren’t a threat” and he is determined to discourage, deceive and ultimately destroy those carrying out God’s will.
“When the work starts to go down, the opposition starts to show up,” Groeschel said in a recent sermon. “Don’t be surprised when you face opposition. Don’t ever be surprised when you take a step of faith and you see your enemy push back, because advancement invites opposition.”
An important thing to remember about Satan, the pastor contended, is that “he doesn’t bother those who are not a threat.”
“If you’re walking his way, doing his will, he’s going to leave you alone completely,” he said. “But the moment you step out and try to honor God, flags go up all over hell and demons are released to go and stop you from doing what you know God put on your heart.”
“Expect spiritual opposition when you do the will of God,” Groeschel asserted. “Satan tries to oppose the work of God.”
For those who wish to live an “easy” life free of any opposition, the pastor recommended, “just stay on the game, live a self-centered life, and you’re probably going to be left out of the trouble."
“Go to church if you want, but whatever you do, don’t engage, don’t you dare pray, don’t serve, don’t give, don’t care about the things of God,” he said. “You can do some spiritual things, enough to make you feel good, but not enough to make a real difference, because the moment you step out of your comfort zone and seek the God of Heaven and try to represent His love and do something significant, the Devil tries to step in to stop you from doing the work of God.”
But God is calling His people to step out and serve, give, and love others well, Groeschel said, adding: “The moment you do, you will have opposition, you will have critics and haters.”
The best way to respond to critics, haters, naysayers, and doubters is to ignore them, he advised.
“Your response isn’t going to convert your critic,” he explained. “The only thing a response does is it validates the critics. When you acknowledge your critics, you actually give them power. They’re not actually that important if you don’t respond."
“We’re going to the will of God,” he said. “We’re going to stay above what ‘they’ say.”
Ultimately, Christians need to be impacted by neither praise nor criticism, but by the Word of God alone, Groeschel said.
“I’m trying not to be moved by what people think; I’m trying to be moved by what God thinks,” he said.
According to a 2015 Gallup Poll, about nine-in-10 Americans say they believe in God (89%). However, the same poll shows that only about 61% believe Satan actually exists.
Francis Chan, former teaching pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, California, recently warned that Satan is “getting the victory” amid continued division with the Church.
“Unity is what God wants, it’s what Jesus prayed for, and we can’t be paralyzed by the magnitude of it,” Chan declared. “How are we going to fix all of these hundreds of years of division? I don’t know. I just know this is my start.”
“He hates this fighting, and when we become one, that’s when the Enemy is going to lose,” he concluded. “That’s when the world is going to believe in the Messiah. That’s when that fire is going to come down on the temple like it did in Acts 2 and fall upon His church, His temple, which is us. There’s something about that unity.”
“I just want to be one of those voices,” he said. “My prayer is that some of you hear me screaming today ... to use your voice to say, ‘we gotta stop fighting. This is not what Dad wanted of His church.’ This is huge. Satan is getting the victory right now, and we can do something about it.”