Sundays aren’t always riveting. Depending on your perspective, church can be a chore that you do out of a sense of obligation. Some will dismiss it from their schedule altogether insisting that it’s corrupt, impersonal, unnecessary, laborious…the list goes on and on.
From Satan’s standpoint, that kind of disposition constitutes a golden opportunity. Mind you, he’s not looking to hit a home run, necessarily, he just wants to get a man on first. If he can get his foot in the door, he knows it’s just a matter of time before he can get his subject to entertain compromises they wouldn’t otherwise consider.
While there are any one of a number of tools Satan has at his disposal, the instrument of Isolation is a real favorite. “Isolation” not so much in the context of making his target feel alone, although that can be effective. On a grander scale, it’s the dark art of encouraging a person to focus on themselves.
It’s impossible to be arrogant without placing yourself above others (Phil 2:3). It’s impossible to despair without positioning your assessment of your circumstances over the Perspective of your King (1 Kings 19:4; 2 Cor 1:9; 1 Thess 4:13-18). It’s impossible to give full vent to your emotions without being preoccupied with your feelings of indignation (Num 2:11-12; Prov 29:11).
Moreover, as an individual, you’ve been given a suite of gifts and abilities that are designed to be deployed in the context of a comprehensive whole (1 Cor 12:7; 1 Pet 4:10). Yours is a role that’s been uniquely tailored for you and when you remove yourself from the production, not only are you leaving a gap, but you deny yourself the fulfillment that comes from being a part of something Amazing (Acts 12:5).
If Satan can get you off by yourself, not only has he neutralized whatever God would’ve otherwise accomplished through you in the context of a group dynamic, he has also introduced the notion that the only standard that you have to be concerned with is the one that meets with your approval and is line with your preferences. While that may not be the way it’s defined, it is nevertheless the way it plays out. And what begins as something noble, inevitably deteriorates into something either sinister or powerless.
Satan loves stragglers. The Bible is frequently punctuated with the phrase “one another” and “each other” for a good reason: The well-being of the individual and the health of the church (http://www.memoryverses.org/smc/oneanothers.htm). Regardless of how practical or intellectual your reasoning may sound, God commanded us to be engaged and involved in a local community of believers (Heb 10:24-25). Being disobedient never lands in a good place and when you consider the practical consequences of letting Satan convince you it’s ok to “wander off,” saying “No” to church is neither wise nor healthy.