I got an email today about a conference in Georgia for clergy. They are going to show a documentary about clergy and how much pressure is on clergy today. I just watched a trailer for the documentary. One unbelievable thing it says is that 1,500 ordained clergy will leave the ministry in the next 4 weeks. That’s nearly 400 per week. Nearly 60 ordained clergy will leave the ministry today, and every day. I’ve read that half of the people who pastor churches today will not be pastoring churches in 5 years.
Before I get bogged down here and before you begin to think this is a self-serving blog today to make you feel sorry for me or other pastors, let me get to what I got from the trailer and what it has made me think of. Evil is in the church. We can disagree on how evil appears or who or what Satan uses, but the Bible clearly tells us evil is among us in the church. 2 Corinthians 11:12-15 says that deceitful people will try to look like Christians. Satan himself transforms himself to look like an angel of light, and so will people he uses. Acts 20:29-30 says these “wolves” will do it to try and draw disciples away from Jesus. And nobody will know it is Satan. He will use people who are already in the church!
In Afghanistan right now, enemies of the United States are infiltrating the Afghan army posing as people wanting to help the Afghan government, but when the time is right they are turning their weapons on the Americans and others who have been training them and working along side them.
It’s the same in the church. I feel safe to say there are people in every body of believers who Satan gets a hold of and uses to cause division and strife in each individual church and among churches. All Satan wants to do is distract us. If Satan can distract us as individuals and as the church from the mission of making disciples and from growing closer to Jesus, he’s accomplishing his mission. And Scripture tells us he does it from within the church. He did it from within the 12 disciples!!!! He entered Judas and caused him to turn on Jesus. So we’re fooling ourselves if we think he’s not still at work in, through, and among the followers of Jesus, especially where Jesus is at work in congregations.
I believe Satan can use all of us at times. Some he gets a hold for a moment, and others he gets a better grip on. You are being used. I am being used. The question we must ask ourselves is who are we allowing to use us? Jesus or Satan? That deceiver Satan does his best work when he convinces us that he’s using others when he’s really using us.