Like everything else the Lord does in the earth, He uses a seed to accomplish great things in us and through us. The seed contains and possesses not only the nature of what is to be grown but the full potential of its future. When the Lord made humans He endowed them with some very special gifts that I like to call “Genesis Gifts” or gifts that the Lord has given to mankind at the very beginning indicating not only God’s favor but his divine will for man. We have, from the very beginning, been given God’s image, life, dominion, and seed which allows us to determine and impact our future by the seed that we sow, for everything in life (not just plants and animals) reproduces after its own kind.
Believers are also given hope or life dreams as a seed. That seed comes in the form of God’s thoughts or His Word deposited in the ground of our hearts (Mark 4) that when retained despite trouble and persecution (which according to Mark 4 comes as a direct result of the deposit of that seed in the heart) will produce a harvest. The insight of Mark helps us to understand that the very seed of the dream is also the bullseye or target that the enemy uses to come against that same dream. Ironically the more Word we receive the more of a target we become. That seems counterintuitive and counterproductive on the surface but we must remember that although challenges come because of the Word, it is that very Word that births the dream and brings the dream to reality if we do not faint. As Galatians 6:9 declares, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
The enemy is a master at stealing the dream seed from the hearts of believers and provoking them to quit under pressure. The bigger and more aggressive the dream the greater the level of pressure. The Lord only knows what human contribution and impact has been lost forever simply because those given great dreams could not seem to stand up under the enemy’s constant schemes to influence believers to shrink back and throw down their faith (Hebrews 10:35-30). The writer of Hebrews admonishes, “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” Satan is after our confidence in our ability to hear from God and act on His Word and uses several devices to accomplish his agenda.
First, the enemy uses the scheme of distraction to divert us from focusing on the dream and on to challenges, circumstances, opinions of others, and a litany of emergencies and urgent situations. It is impossible to walk in and fulfill a God-given dream without focus and the enemy knows that all he has to do is keep dust perpetually kicked up around us and we will soon become sidetracked and forget all about God’s mandate for our lives. Like Martha, we sometimes get so distracted by the good that we fail to pursue God’s best (Luke 10:40). The key to maintaining focus is revealed by Mary’s behavior in this same Scripture. When we focus on our relationship with Jesus we are more likely to stay focused on the mission.
Second, the enemy, through the scheme of pressure, setbacks, and opposition, frequently shuts the believer down with discouragement. It is telling that the Lord spent so much time directly encouraging Joshua at the beginning of his ministry and leadership: “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers” (Joshua 1:6). Discouragement is the loss of courage, and faith is in fact spiritual courage. When discouragement moves in, the motivation and drive to continue fighting and believing God disappears.
Third, the enemy is the master of deception. As the Father of lies (John 8:44), Satan is a master at the scheme of deception. From the conning of Adam and Eve in the garden to the seduction of Judas at the close of Jesus’ ministry, the enemy knows exactly how to distort our perception with half-truths and down right lies. The antidote, of course, for his deception is the truth or the Word of God. People who spend quality time in the Word are much better equipped to recognize and reject the schemer’s attempt to pull us away from the dream of God through deception.
Fourth, the enemy understands all too well how important is is for human beings to feel like they belong. Rejection, or the scheme of disowning, is one of the most powerful tools in his arsenal to neutralize a believer’s impact in this world for Jesus Christ. By invading the sacred area of human relationships and inspiring various parties to reject one another, Satan effectively demoralizes us and pushes us into a fog of introspection and self-questioning trying to determine what prompted the rejection. The lack of understanding just adds to the feelings of pain. Jesus was familiar with rejection and since he bore rejection on the cross (Isaiah 53:3) together with the sin, sickness, and shame, let’s be quick to reject this device designed to immobilize us in a day when the Lord needs us up and running. What matters most is the fact that God loves and accepts us and if people reject us, they just don’t know what they’re missing.
Fifth, we know from John 10:10 that the devil is a destroyer. In fact the Scripture says that he comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. Through the scheme of destruction, the enemy attempts to take advantage of every situation to bring devastation into our lives in the the hope that we will falsely accuse God, doubt His Word, and reject His plan for our lives. This tool is made even more effective by the fact that many of God’s servants unknowingly preach that God, rather than the enemy, is behind the stealing, killing, and destroying. What a racket Satan has going. Wreak havoc in the earth and in the lives of people and then lay the blame at God’s feet. This is a criminal’s dream come true. But once the antics of the enemy are exposed and the believer understands that the Lord is good and does good (Psalm 31:19; Acts 10:38), the enemy’s days of destruction in our lives are numbered.
Finally, if the enemy fails to take us out through distraction, discouragement, deception, disowning, or destruction, he will do everything he can to discredit us with an all out attack on our credibility. The scheme of discrediting is designed to cause people to lose confidence in us as believers and when this happens any influence for good and for God is compromised. The true shame of this scheme is that people who desperately need to receive from the discredited believer can no longer do so. Discerning believers will of course see through this but unfortunately people in the world and carnal Christians wouldn’t know the truth if it came up and tweaked them on the nose. The ultimate goal of the enemy is to get the slandered Christian to become disheartened and reluctant to stand up in the future for God’s Word and His plan of redemption effectively silencing another voice of truth.
I want to encourage you to be alert in these last days for the schemer and his ways. Understand that you are not paranoid and you are not dreaming. You really do have an enemy and he would like nothing more than to undermine your confidence in God and in His Word to the point where your dream seed is dug up, your destiny is aborted, and your impact is compromised. When you recognize his activity in your life or the lives of others, immediately move to expose his operation and declare the Word of God over the situation. Remember that the ultimate remedy for the schemes of the enemy is the truth.