15 for some have already turned aside to follow Satan. (1 Tim. 5:15 NASB)

This verse shows why Paul’s previous instruction was so urgent (vs.14): Some younger widows had already turned aside to follow Satan. The things that Paul described in the previous verses weren’t hypothetical, they were things that were actually happening in Ephesus. In light of 1 Timothy 5:11 it would seem that they had pledges and commitments that they were breaking in disregard of Christ. Having a desire to marry, but perhaps not being able to find Christian men who wanted to marry a vow-breaker, they could have been marrying outside of Christ, turning away from the faith, engaging in immorality, and even giving heed to false teachers (cf. 2 Tim. 3:6). Additionally, they were not only idle but were engaging in slander and gossip, being busybodies in matters that didn’t concern them (1 Tim. 5:13). From the snippets we have in the passage before us we can see how the paths of their feet were not in the direction of service to Christ but of Satan.

Paul’s letters to Timothy provide us with good reminders of our need to be vigilant concerning the activity of Satan. He is depicted as afflicting blasphemers like Hymenaeus and Alexander (1 Tim. 1:20), setting traps for elders (3:7), spewing false doctrines through false teachers who give heed demons and seducing spirits (4:1-2), leading young widows who give heed to sin (5:14), and ensnaring people, taking them captive to do his will, which included standing in opposition to God’s truth (2 Tim. 2:26).

The aforementioned variety, although by no means comprehensive, well illustrates the fact that following Satan need not look like joining a Satanic cult that worships him; a path of obedience to Satan simply looks like a path of disobedience to Christ. You don’t need to proclaim the adversary’s fame, you just need to slander someone’s else’s name. You don’t need to be committed to a Satanic temple, you just need to be disconnected from the local church. You don’t need to dabble with the occult, you can dabble with immorality. You don’t need to pick up a Satanic Bible, you just need to stop picking your Bible. See, he has so many pathways that he will try to lead people down. But they all have this in common: they will be in either disbelief or disobedience to the one true, triune God. The rebel is not a trailblazer but a captive. How much better to follow the Good Shepherd who laid His life down for the sheep, than follow the thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy?