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5 Subtle Ways Satan Sneaks into the Pulpit

4. Satan will convince you that you can grow spiritually through your sermon preparation.

I’ve heard of few sermons that benefited people much when they didn’t first hit the preacher. Preachers who preach with passion are those who have been so deeply touched by a passage that they become a channel to transfer the blessing to others. It shows in the way they come across. Their whole demeanor is not, “This is what you need.” Instead, it is, “This is what God showed me I need, and I know you’re going to be blessed by it, too.” Sometimes, there’s uncertainty as to whether it’s a sermon or a testimonial.

But Satan uses the struggle every preacher faces: time. You can begin to think that you don’t have time to get alone with God, so your sermon preparation, climaxed by a few moments of prayer, will suffice.

Since God is a God of grace, He obviously understands your time constraints and loves you, but He also desires your fellowship (I John 1:3). Those moments when you close your ear to everyone else’s voice and just listen to His as it comes through devotional study of the Word—those uninterrupted moments with your best friend—are what keeps you fresh. Some of those times cause tears to run down your cheeks as He shows you areas in which you’re flawed and need improvement, but you still come away feeling energized. Interestingly enough, preachers who have fallen away from the Lord have commented to me that where they made their mistake was neglecting their quiet time with Him.

Consider creating a hallowed spot. For me, it’s my chair in the living room where God and I meet each morning. Always going through a book of the Bible, I may cover one verse or I may cover a chapter. I don’t care. What I do care about is that I go from there into my day’s activity with one truth to meditate on for that day. I also keep the requests I give Him carefully noted on a 3×5 card, so I’m careful not to forget. I come away fed, energized, helped, and encouraged—as only the One who saved me more than 40 years ago can do. Don’t ask me why He would ever want to be with someone so depraved as you or me. But He can’t wait to talk, and I can’t wait to listen and respond.

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Dr. R. Larry Moyer is a veteran evangelist and a frequent speaker in evangelistic outreaches, training seminars, churches and universities around the world. Born with an inherited speech defect, Larry vowed to God as a teenager that if He would allow him to gain control of his speech he would always use his voice to declare the gospel. In 1973, Larry founded EvanTell, where he now serves as President and CEO. He has written several books on evangelism and frequently contributes articles to ministry publications.