A couple of weeks ago, I worked with my father-in-law and brother-in-law to tear down an 8-foot tall by 20-foot wide rock wall fireplace and hearth. With nothing but hands, hammers, and crowbars we worked step by step, rock by rock to remove the wall from the room in which it had been located for almost 40 years.
As we removed the rock, however, there was something about the process that has stayed in my mind. As we were seeking to loosen each rock (or boulder, as the case might have been), we were not necessarily going after one rock in particular, we were seeking to loosen the mortar around the rocks and to remove them as they came loose. Sometimes the rocks came off one at a time, sometimes they came off in groups, and sometimes we had to wait until later to remove a certain rock because it was still so securely fastened.
It strikes me that this is how Satan operates as well. As Christians, we are a rock wall, mortared together by the word of God and the relationship we have with one another as brethren. Therefore, as Satan seeks to destroy Christians, he does not necessarily pick out individual Christians, he seeks for those who have allowed the mortar holding them to the wall to weaken and crack.
It is this same style of emphasis Peter makes when he writes, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). The lion does not go around looking for the strongest prey, but the weakest; the one who is the most easily distracted, separated from the herd, and caught.
In like manner, Satan tries to make chinks in the rock wall of Christianity by attacking the mortar holding us together. He attacks our love by using the crowbar of hate, envy, and jealousy. He attacks our unity by trying to wedge opinions, that do not affect in any way the doctrine of Christ, between brethren as matters of contention and division over which they will fight. He uses the hammer of fear to blast away at Christians who are afraid of what might happen in the world around them and are always looking over their shoulders, afraid something terrible is coming.
You see, Satan cannot defeat us if we remain together in Christ. Just as there was no way for us to remove that rock wall in one piece. Therefore, the only option left is to try to create cracks between brethren, their relationship with Christ, and their relationship with one another. If he can do so, he can isolate us from one another and remove us from the wall of Christ: sometimes one at a time, sometimes in groups or bunches.
Therefore, we must ensure that we keep ourselves bound together in the word of God: both to each other and to Christ. Maintain the love, faith, hope, peace, and strength that is to be found in the body of Christ. Do not let Satan tear us apart with petty divisions and isolations, because he is only seeking a rock to remove from the wall. Stand strong, be watchful, and rejoice in the strength of the Lord.