Beware of the Snare (II Timothy 2:25-26)
II Timothy 2:25-26, “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”
It is crucial that we do our best to be on guard against temptations and sinful attractions that we may be confronted with day by day. We need to understand that Satan does set traps for us just like a sea lion sets a trap for the sea gull. The sea lion is probably the gawkiest animal in the world. He likes to lounge in the sun all day, and when he does move, he is very lazy and uncoordinated. It has often been questioned how this animal succeeds to secure his favorite food, wild sea fowl. Sea gulls are so wild that it is difficult even for man to get within a gunshot of one. The seal seems to realize that it would be a waste of time to attempt to crawl up on the gulls as they rest upon the water and catch them unawares. So, he watches until the gulls are soaring slowly through the air close to the waves. Then the seal dives into the sea and swims underneath the water for some distance from the point at which he dived and allows merely the tip of his great nose to appear above the water. Remaining in this position, he gives his enormous body a rotary motion so that his nose describes a circle on the surface of the ocean. He does this so skillfully that, to the gull, his nose looks like a water bug at play. This catches the gull's eye, and it, at once, darts down with the speed of an arrow, aiming straight for the little dot. The seal sees it coming and sinks a few inches, and as the gull strikes the water with tremendous force, the seal's jaws close upward, and the gull disappears.
The opposers have been influenced by Satan to believe false doctrine and to do his will in opposing the teachers of truth. These men who oppose the truth and the teachers of truth are really in opposition to themselves. Our purpose is not to set people straight, get in the last word, or win an argument. Our goal is to teach others the words and ways of God. Ministers are to help people by instructing them in meekness to come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil. This is only possible if God gives them repentance that they may be freed from Satan’s captivity. The minister must be gentle when people oppose him, that he does not react in aggression, but that he reaches out in gentleness. When he has to correct people and point out their weaknesses, he is not mean, but gentle. This is possible if the minister walks with the Lord each day.
Everyday Satan baits our path (I Peter 5:8), not revealing what is at its end. Be careful what you are doing, where you are going, and the company you keep. By the grace of God, let the Lord win the battle over your will. The devil is most afraid of a person God can use. He knows the power of one life that can be used by God. Therefore, he sets his snare, which can be envy, sensual pleasure, pride, etc. He knows our weaknesses and sets his snare accordingly.
Within the church, this is a believer whose emotions the devil has manipulated until the person becomes the source of strife, discord, and subversion in the church, all the while thinking that he is doing the will of God. This is a deceived believer, captured by the enemy and now working for the devil to disrupt the local church! Anyone who is in opposition to God’s work, whether they know it or not, are ensnared in a demonic deception, and are doing the devil’s work. We minister to them in gentleness, in the hope they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. The word recover means "to regain one's senses or to be sober again." A person who is snared by the Devil is described as being mentally drunk. His thinking is impaired. He is taken captive of the Devil by will. Those in this text who oppose the Lord and, are a problem in the church, are that way because of Satan who has ensnared them and taken them captive. A meek approach is the only approach that can free a person from the snare of the devil. People who are controversial and argumentative, critical and gossiping may not like to think that they are ensnared by the devil, but Scripture clearly says they are.
We are in a great battle for the minds of young people today. Today, for the most part in classrooms, rather than being taught, students are being indoctrinated. The battle is not going to be won in boardrooms or with ballots, but with the Bible. The solution is, and has always been,the Lord.
If we are to be people God can use, we must gently instruct those who oppose us, praying God will acknowledge the truth. Our goal should never be to embarrass or prove someone wrong, but to be used of God to gently bring people to repentance. This means we treat them respectfully and do not argue or talk down to them. Instead of antagonizing them, we should lovingly and humbly lead them to the truth of God's Word.
a. The Christian life calls for Prudence. We must never underestimate the power of the world to corrupt us. Even though we must live in the world, we must be careful not to let the world live in us. Evil communications corrupt good manners.
b. The Christian life calls for Passion. We must never allow our passion for God to cause us to be calloused toward those who don't share the passion.
c. The Christian life calls for Proclamation. Paul instructs Timothy that if the people are to be taught, he is to teach them. If the Gospel is to be preached, he will have to preach it. We are not to quarantine ourselves from the world. Instead, we are to connect the world with the proclamation of God's Word and with the demonstration of God's love. That is still an effective strategy for us today as we live out our lives in a fallen world.
PRAYER: Lord, give me the wisdom to walk wisely in the wicked world. Help me to recognize Satan’s strategy, that I will not become a victim he uses, but a vessel that will honor You. In Jesus name I pray, AMEN!
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.