Three Arrows in Satan’s Quiver (Arrow # 3)
Key Verse – Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8 NKJV).
Key Thought – Satan wants our attention to be on what we get out of the relationship, rather than on serving in the relationship.
We’ve been talking about our adversary, the Devil, and we’ve learned that one of his primary goals is to destroy our relationship with God, and our relationships with one another.
He can’t destroy your soul, Christian. He’s already lost that battle. But he works tirelessly to bust up your walk with God, your relationship with your brothers and sisters in your church family, your marriage, and even the relationship you have with your children. Satan will work tirelessly to break things up in your life.
And, as we have already learned, he has many many arrows in his quiver that he lobs at you to try and accomplish this break up. But of all the arrows in that quiver, he has 3 that I believe are his choicest arrows. These 3 work an awful lot of the time, and cause a tremendous amount of trouble in relationships.
- His first arrow is to get us to take offense at something somebody in the relationship said.
2. His second, and equally devastating shot, is to get us to dwell on some past hurt in the relationship, and convince us that we just can’t get over it.
3. His third arrow, and the one we’ll concentrate on today, is to convince us that we are not getting what we want from the relationship… to convince us that our needs just aren’t being met.
If Satan can’t trip you up with the words of others, or with some hurtful experience from the past that he keeps telling you you can’t get past, then he will lob the arrow of “I’m not getting out of this what I want” at you.
Here is a story you may have heard before.
A man went to the doctor after weeks of symptoms. The doctor examined him carefully, then called the patient’s wife into his office. “Your husband is suffering from a rare form of anemia. Without treatment, he’ll be dead in a few weeks. The good news is, it can be treated with proper nutrition.”
“You will need to get up early every morning and fix your husband a hot breakfast – pancakes, bacon and eggs, the works. He’ll need a home-cooked lunch every day, and then an old-fashioned meat-and-potato dinner every evening. It would be especially helpful if you could bake frequently. Cakes, pies, homemade bread – these are the things that will allow your husband to live.”
“One more thing. His immune system is weak, so it’s important that your home be kept spotless at all times. Do you have any questions?” The wife had none.
> “Do you want to break the news, or shall I?” asked the doctor. “I will,” the wife replied.
She walked into the exam room. The husband, sensing the seriousness of his illness, asked her, “It’s bad, isn’t?”
She nodded, tears welling up in her eyes. “What’s going to happen to me?” he asked.
With a sob, the wife blurted out, “The doctor says you’re gonna die!” (Source unknown)
Funny? Yes. It also, though, describes an all-too-common attitude which Satan uses as the third arrow in his quiver. We could call it the “spectator mentality.” It’s the idea that we do what we do, whether it be in our walk with God, in our church, in our marriage relationship, or in any other relationship, for what we get in return. As long as we get out of it what we want, we are willing to serve. The idea of serving selflessly is foreign to those who suffer from the spectator mentality, to those into whom Satan has embedded this third arrow, just as the idea of selflessly serving her dying husband was impossible to accept for the wife in this silly story.
There are many ways that this spectator mentality is expressed:
+ “My needs are just not being met.”
+ “There is nothing for me in this.”
+ “I did not get anything out of that.”
+ “This is not what I signed up for.”
All of these are common sentiments amongst that group of people who call themselves Christians, and yet find themselves moving from church to church. And those statements are indications of a person who, at heart, may be a spectator rather than a servant – a person who has fallen prey to Satan’s third arrow.
Those thoughts are also, interestingly, the reasons many couples give as their reasons for leaving their spouse. People leave spouses because they feel “their needs are not being met,” or “they just don’t get anything out of the relationship.” In our culture today, these are considered valid reasons for ending marriages, and yet when viewed from a Biblical perspective we see them for what they are – examples of Satan’s arrow finding its mark.
And what about our children? Do you think children are impacted when their parents make decisions related to church or relationships based on such factors as “my needs are not being met?” Do they not, then, learn right from the start that such thinking is valid… do they not, then, apply that same criteria in their own relationships going forward? Satan’s arrow was aimed at mom and dad, but the kids were watching and were also affected by it.
Satan wants to destroy ALL your relationships, your relationship with God, with His church, with your spouse, with your children, with everybody and everything, and he uses this arrow of “what’s in it for me”… this arrow of “I’m not getting what I want out of this relationship” to do just that.
I guess it all boils down to two competing concepts – SERVANTHOOD versus SPECTATORSHIP. Some people attend church because they understand that is what God wants them to do, AS SERVANTS, regardless of any perceived benefit to them personally. Others attend church like it’s some sort of classroom, only continuing if they feel they are learning something… or as some sort of performance, only continuing if they are being “blessed” or “challenged” or feeling some perceived need is met by their attendance.
The same thing is true in our marriages. Many of us vowed to love honor and cherish our spouse. Yet the minute the words escaped our lips we began watching to see how much our mate loves honors and cherishes US, and when they get deficient we feel our needs are unmet and want to bail!
I challenge you to provide me a verse from scripture that teaches you are to attend church for what you get out of it. Can you find one?
No… I am unaware of any verse in the Bible where church is described as a where we go to obtain personal benefits, or where we go to have “our needs met.” However, there is a lot of scriptural support teaching that we are to be SERVANTS rather than SPECTATORS.
I came across an interesting quote. Sadly, I think it is a valid characterization of some churches today: “The assistant to one renowned media pastor, when asked the key to his man’s success, replied without hesitation, “We give the people what they want.” This heresy is at the root of the most dangerous message preached today: the what’s-in-it-for me gospel.”^[Unknown.]
I don’t remember where I read that, but it is a clear description of Satan’s third arrow, and the effectiveness it has had on churches. I know there are still plenty within the church of Jesus of Christ that are appalled at the statement, “we give the people what they want.” Nevertheless, there have always been churches led by pastors and attended by people who, when they ought to be committed to pleasing God, are rather committed to “giving people what they want.”
Has Satan ever lobbed that third arrow at you? Have you ever found yourself evaluating your relationships based on what you can and are getting out of them, rather than on what you can and should be putting into them? Has the “spectator mentality” found a home in your heart? Have you been tempted to quit on God because you felt like the joy you once had was gone? Have you ever left a church, or been tempted to leave a church with that thought in your mind and on your lips – “my needs just weren’t being met”? Have you found yourself looking at your spouse and evaluating your marriage in that way? “She just doesn’t do it for me anymore”… “I hoped he’d be this, and he is not”?
Oh, brothers and sisters, we are not ignorant of our adversary’s devices! These are all evidence of the same attack of Satan. In each case, he lobs that arrow at us and convinces us that we can do better… that it’s all about our needs and wants… that if we only break off the current relationship and move on, we can find what we need.
And it’s all a lie!!!!!
Jesus said of Satan, When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it (John 8:44). He whispers in your ears, “You can do better,” and it is a lie. He reminds you of all that you are NOT seeming to get out of your relationships, and soothingly sighs, “You need more than this. Why not walk away and go where your needs are met. It’s all about you.” AND IT’S ALL A LIE.
In all our relationships, whether our relationship with God, with His church, with our spouse, with our children, with our co-workers, with our boss, with ANYBODY, the key to success is not SELFISHNESS, it is SERVICE. We do not succeed in any relationship by looking only at what we can get out of it, but rather by pouring into it as much as we can.
I once drove a couple of hours to attend a revival meeting where one of my favorite preachers, Dr. Curtis Hutson, was preaching. I don’t remember anything else he preached that night, but I remember one thing. He mentioned that the Bible has a verse which is the “secret of success in a single sentence.” He then turned to Matthew 5:41 – And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.
It’s about serving, not about self-seeking. It’s about what we can do for others, not about what others can do for us. Jesus said some other things along these lines, didn’t He? Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you (Matthew 6:33). Make serving the FIRST thing, and God will take care of all the other things you think you need. Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12). That’s what we usually call the GOLDEN RULE. And it is the exact opposite of the trash talk Satan whispers in our ears. He tells us it’s about us, and Jesus says it’s about others. Put them first… serve them… meet their needs… do to them, and let the Lord worry about your needs. He’s pretty good at meeting them, by the way.
In all this, Christ is our example. Consider the following passages. What do they teach us about the need for servanthood? What do they teach us about the concept of serving regardless of what we get out of it? What do they teach us about the benefits we are to expect and reap? Is there a place in any of these examples for “my needs being met?”
Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ “But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. “For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves. (Luke 22:24-27 NKJV)
And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.” So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? “You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. “Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. (John 13:2-17 NKJV)
The Apostle Paul is another example. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, (Acts 27:23). Read the epistles, and you will find Paul describing himself as a servant over and over.
Jesus drew a pretty clear distinction between His idea of servanthood, and the world’s idea of spectatorship in His sermon on the mount. Notice Matthew 5:46-48 “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” THINK ABOUT WHAT HE TAUGHT THERE! Doing things for the benefits we receive is not a Christian concept, but a worldly one. He pointed out that the publicans (who were despised and held in very low esteem in society) would love others if they were getting something out of it. The Christian has a higher standard though. We are servants, not spectators. We do not serve for what we get out of it. We serve because “the love of Christ constraineth us.” We serve because we love the Lord and it is what He asks of us.
Now let’s be clear – there ARE benefits to our serving God. Notice what Jesus said in Luke 22:28-30 “Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
There IS a reward… there IS a benefit, and every need we have now and forever WILL BE MET in Christ. I do not mean to leave you thinking that we serve in silence and never receive anything from it. Certainly, the rewards of Christianity are immense and eternal and beyond our wildest imaginings – as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (1 Corinthians 2:9) (I love that promise, don’t you?)
But we look to the future for that reward. Never forget that. And even if God chooses to shower us with benefits in the here and now (and He often does), it is never to be the REASON that we serve God. WE ARE TO SERVE HIM REGARDLESS. Jesus said, So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do’ (Luke 17:10 NKJV).
I read a story about D.L. Moody:
A large group of European pastors came to one of D. L. Moody’s Northfield Bible Conferences in Massachusetts in the late 1800s. Following the European custom of the time, each guest put his shoes outside his room to be cleaned by the hall servants overnight. But of course this was America and there were no hall servants.
Walking the dormitory halls that night, Moody saw the shoes and determined not to embarrass his brothers. He mentioned the need to some ministerial students who were there, but met with only silence or pious excuses. Moody returned to the dorm, gathered up the shoes, and, alone in his room, the world’s most famous evangelist began to clean and polish the shoes. Only the unexpected arrival of a friend in the midst of the work revealed the secret.
When the foreign visitors opened their doors the next morning, their shoes were shined. They never knew by whom. Moody told no one, but his friend told a few people, and during the rest of the conference, different men volunteered to shine the shoes in secret. Perhaps the episode is a vital insight into why God used D. L. Moody as He did. He was a man with a servant’s heart and that was the basis of his true greatness.(Gary Inrig, A Call to Excellence, Victor Books, a division of SP Publ., Wheaton, Ill; 1985, p. 98))
God wants servants. Our churches are failing because of lack of servants. Marriages go down the tubes because spouses forget their vows of service and concentrate only on what they want out of the relationship. Children are disillusioned because their parents are even more selfish than they are, and the cycle gets repeated as they learn to do the same and grow up selfishly seeking benefits to themselves, rather than determining to serve the God Who loves them more than anything. Satan flings the arrow, and he laughs. And we fail.
I wonder, where are you in respect to these thoughts? Have you felt the sting of arrow # 3?
Let me ask some questions to help you evaluate whether or not you have felt it aimed at your relationship with God:
+ Were you once gung-ho for Jesus, but lately you don’t feel that same zeal, and you’re beginning to wonder why you bother with trying to live for Jesus at all?
+ Has it been a long time since you’ve seen an obvious and open and wonderful answer to prayer, and you have entertained a hiss in your ear, “Why pray at all? It doesn’t seem to work?”
+ Have the invitations of lost friends and family to go places and do things that you know interfere with what God wants from you become more and more palatable to you? Do you find those invitations becoming harder and harder to say no to?
+ Are you MORE interested in serving God today… serving Him just for the sake of serving Him rather than for any personal benefit to you… than you were last year at this time? Or less?
+ When you read of ministry needs in the bulletin, and you know perfectly well you could respond and help fill those needs, do you quickly move past that part of the bulletin because you don’t think that ministry would be fulfilling or fun enough for you?
If any of those question hit home, it might indicate that Satan has hit his target.
Let me ask some more questions to help you evaluate whether or not you have felt it aimed at your relationship with your spouse:
+ Are you more aware of the things she does NOT do for you, than of the things you do not do for her?
+ Is your mind more preoccupied with what you think he USED to be and do than what he is and does today?
+ Have you allowed a day to go by… maybe multiple days… without DOING SOMETHING truly loving and kind for your spouse, not so they will do something nice for you… but JUST BECAUSE?
+ When you hear the preacher preach about the responsibilities of husbands and wives in a marriage, do you find yourself cocking a critical eye toward your spouse and wondering why they don’t hold up THEIR end, rather than determining to work harder at YOUR end.
If any of those question hit home, it might indicate that Satan has hit his target.
If this “spectator mentality”… this third arrow in Satan’s quiver… is a reason why people leave churches (and it is), and if it is a reason why marriages fail (and it is), and if it is a reason why our children become disillusioned with the faith (and it is), then we need to learn to avoid this arrow when Satan shoots it our way.
My Bible tells me we don’t have to let that arrow hit home. Jesus, when tempted by Satan in the wilderness, allowed that serpent to hiss for a while, but finally dispatched him with Away with you, Satan (Matthew 4:10)! (Or, as the beloved King James put it, Get thee behind me, Satan!) Jesus told him to get lost… to go back to the pit… to hit the road… to go to hell.
And you and I have the same ability. James wrote, Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7). That’s a promise you can take to the bank. Jesus told him to get lost, the Bible says, Then the devil left Him (Matthew 4:11). The same reality is yours. Fend off that arrow, and it will not find its mark. Resist the devil, and he will hit the road.
So let’s sum up – we have been talking about the three things Satan often uses to disturb relationships – Three Arrows in Satan’s Quiver.
We started out learning Arrow # 1 – The Offensive Words of Others. Then we saw Arrow # 2 – The Victim Complex. Today we finished up with Arrow # 3 – The Spectator Mentality.
In each case, we found that if we fall prey to Satan’s arrows, we face the very real risk of damaged relationships. If we allow ourselves to be hindered by the offensive words of others, or if we fall into the victim complex and allow past hurts and experiences to influence our present behavior, or if we, like so many today, allow the spectator mentality to color our activities and relationships, then those relationships are damaged, the work of Christ is damaged, and Satan wins a victory in our lives.
May I challenge you today to really pray about these three arrows in Satan’s quiver? I believe the health of Friendship Bible Church depends on it. I believe the health of your marriage depends on it. I believe that your children will be influenced by how you respond to these arrows, and your brothers and sisters in your church will be influenced by how you respond. Your neighbors, who might be lost and seeking answers, need to see us rising above these 3 things in our lives. Our unsaved family members need to see it. This rotten, sin-enslaved world needs to see something that WORKS, and that something is the life of the Christ-follower, demonstrated in a people who are not offended by the words of others, who are VICTORS not victims, and SERVANTS rather than spectators.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8 NKJV).