Question: In your Daily Update you quoted Corrie ten Boom: “When a Christian shuns fellowship with other Christians, the devil smiles. When he stops studying the Bible, the devil laughs. When he stops praying, the devil shouts for joy.” That’s a colorful quote but 100 percent unscriptural. Where do we draw the line?
Response: You are certainly correct that there is no explicit scripture stating what ten Boom has said about Satan’s reaction to the failures of believers. On the other hand, we do know that Scripture gives us the fundamentals of our Christian walk, among which are fellowship with other believers, feeding upon the Word of God, and a consistent prayer life. Though not explicit in Scripture, ten Boom has highlighted some things that are very much implicit.
For example, Jude 19, speaking expressly of false prophets, warns of those “...who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.”
For the believer, Hebrews:10:24-25 warns, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Consequently, the adversary must surely smile when he sees a believer taking the first steps away from the fellowship that the Lord has provided for the stability of his faith.
Concerning the Word (for just one example), Joshua:1:8 instructs, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” The Lord Jesus confronted the two disciples who were on the road to Emmaus (Luke:24:13-27). They were sorrowful and despondent, but the Lord Jesus didn’t succumb to human methods when he rebuked them, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken” (Luke:24:25). According to the narrative, “...beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (verse 27). Can we not see the devil laughing at those who have neglected the Scriptures and opened themselves up to his attacks?
Regarding prayer, Paul writes in Philippians:4:6-7, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Our prayers are made in faith to God “[who] cannot lie” (Titus:1:2). Clearly, the believer who doesn’t pray has become an easy target for the fiery darts of the adversary (Ephesians:6:16). Psalm:1:1-2 tells us, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” To repeat, the progression that ten Boom details may not be explicit, but what she has stated is clearly implied in Scripture.
You ask where we draw the line. There are a number of things in the Bible that are not clearly stated but that nevertheless are clearly implied and can be supported by the entirety of Scripture. Cultists often argue that the Bible never uses the word “Trinity.” No, it doesn’t, though the concept is more than clearly indicated for those who rightly divide the Scriptures (2 Timothy:2:15). In view of Satan’s stated purpose in Scripture, can we not see what his reaction would be to a believer’s neglect of these Christian imperatives?