Don’t Get Caught

I remember a cold February evening coming home from a pastoral visit. It had been a snowy winter and as I feared, I got caught in a snowstorm and was unable to navigate my driveway. I was tired and the last thing I wanted to have to do was dig my car out of a snow bank on a cold winter night.

No one wants to get caught. Yet some Christians get stuck or caught without even being aware of their predicament. We read from my translation of 2 Timothy 2:26, “And they might be sober again from the snare of the Devil since they have been captured alive by him to do that one’s will.”  

I am basing a couple of my arguments from my translation though it might not seem the best diction at first.

In this verse, Paul used the word that has to do with sobriety. The Greek word denotes a sobriety that was once had but was lost on the way. There are Christians who start out well and may have done well for several years, but in the midst of spiritual warfare they get deceived into a spiritual drunkenness. The duped Christian does not realize he has been deceived. He does not know he has lost sobriety, a sobriety he once enjoyed. What are the signs of this “drunkenness”? 

In the context Paul talks about the servant of the Lord who must not fight people, but be gentle towards all, able to teach and tolerant or be patient of wrongs (2:24). Paul goes on to say that the servant of the Lord must also act with gentleness, able to instruct those who oppose, so that God might grant them repentance in the recognition of truth in order that they may be sober again (2:25, 26).

One telling sign of the “caught believer” is that he opposes the truth given by the servant of God (vv 24, 25). Paul desires for the Pastor, with patience, to reach and reclaim a deceived one. But who deceived this Christian who opposes the truth? It is the Devil who ensnared or trapped the believer. This trapping we see in the Greek text denotes a couple of things worth noting. One, it is a capture that is not for the immediate destruction of the believer. The Devil “captures alive” people for a purpose: To do his will. What will? The Devil’s will. What does that will entail? It is to oppose the truth that the servant of God brings in his teaching. It is like Satan saying, “Now I captured you alive. No, I do not want to destroy you, not just now anyway. I want you to live and continue to do what I want. I want you to oppose the truth of God that that teacher of God brings.”   

What happens is that inadvertently the Christian winds up as a day worker on Satan’s staff. They wind up being his emissary to do what the Devil wants. The deceived believer does not even know he was caught but he busies himself opposing the truth.

There was no mistake that I had become trapped by the snow that February evening. Once I knew, I immediately sought to free myself. How can you tell if you have been caught by the Devil? By examining yourself to see if you are opposing biblical truth. You may need someone to come to you and point it out. When you are trapped by the Devil you are not free to move about. I could not move forward in the snow. Likewise when you are caught by the Devil, you will resist the truth and not go forward in your Christian walk.

Since the Devil works in the arena of deception, I must be sure that I am responding humbly to all that God teaches. I must not be proud and resist the truth lest I wind up deceived by the enemy and doing his will. This will be shown by an open expression of resisting the servant of God who brings the truth.