It is very common for people to frequently take advantage of either another person or a situation, whether in a positive or a negative way. For example, sometimes in sports a starter will get hurt resulting in the backup coming in who “takes advantage of the situation”, plays very well and ends up replacing the starter even when he or she is healthy enough to play. Our reading today reminds us of someone else who is looking to take advantage of us. In 2 Cor. 2:11 we read, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”
While it is true we do not want to walk around in fear that Satan is around every corner trying to attack us, on the other hand I believe we often minimize the power and influence that Satan has in this world today. Paul apparently had done some prior teaching about Satan to the Corinthian church as he says that “we are not ignorant of his devices.” In other words, he was saying that they were aware of his evil schemes and desires.
In context of this verse, Paul is referring to his admonition that the Corinthian church forgive and take back the man who was guilty of an egregious sin in 1 Corinthians. Paul was encouraging unity in the church and for them to move forward for the cause of the repentant brother and cause of Christ. No doubt he was referring to the fact that Satan would love to take advantage of the situation if the church did not do the right thing and forgive this brother and accept him back in the membership.
So, we need to ask the question of when do we allow Satan to try to get his foot in the door of our lives? Are we even looking out for the fact that he is a “roaring lion, walking about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)? I heard recently the noted radio preacher David Jeremiah talk about a book called, “Satan is Alive and Well on Planet Earth” which was co-authored by Carole Carlson. Carole told Dr. Jeremiah that while she was working on this book she felt like she was under attack like never before in her life and definitely felt like she was in a spiritual battle as she tried to finish the book. She then shared that the very day the book was finished and sent out for publishing, her son was killed in a freak plane crash. Now obviously we can’t say for sure what went on behind the scenes in a story like that but I also don’t think we can just casually toss it up to coincidence either. We need to be on guard and recognize that we truly are in a spiritual battle and desperately need the Lord’s guidance and protection from the “accuser of the brethren.” (Rev 12:10)