My intention this past week was to move deeper into God’s Promises, categories for classification purposes, and how we apply them by yielding free-will to God’s Will for our lives. But after discussions about Free-will and Satan’s deceptions in our lives, it became clear that most of us do not clearly understand the magnitude of Satan’s scheme and deceptions, including me. I do not profess to know everything about them, but want to share what I do know because if we cannot establish that his schemes exist, the magnitude of his deception, then we will never understand how free-will can adversely affect our lives or lead us to believe and accept God’s Will for our lives.
We live in layers of Deception
Deception is diabolical and innocent people fall prey to it daily, that includes you and me. When we fall prey, we fall into sin and thus temporarily out of God’s Will. I say temporarily because as we become more aware of Satan’s (schemes) deceptions we are better able to stay in God’s Will and trust His Promises.
‘Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. ‘ Eph. 6:10-12
Satan controls the airways and the things of this world. Eph 6:10, stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 2 Corinthians 4:4, ‘Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News.) I believe we can extend this to those who don’t believe and those that do not stand by the Word of God, those of us who acquiesce to the draw of this world.
Satan controls the way people think when we are not alert and focuses especially on Christians. How often have you become angered by a leader’s’ path that seems to have gone astray? Any leader, political, corporate, spiritual, or for that matter, anyone you know. When we are at odds with them, philosophically, ethically, or spiritually, we often become disgruntled by their intentions and perhaps, begin to hate their very existence. It is at this very point that we unknowingly are drawn into Satan’s camp.
Let’s unpack what happens when we hate
Many of us are or have become unsettled when our leaders, or those that impact our lives, seem to inspire behavior that we deem unacceptable. We dislike what we see, dislike what we hear, and we develop a hateful attitude and behavior that is inauthentic, misguided and perhaps even evil. When we allowed hate to dwell in us, we immediately separated ourselves from God’s Will. When we hate, we focus on the person and not what is guiding them. The adage, ‘hate the behavior and not the person’, speaks to our failings as we find ourselves in the midst of the deception. Now, I’m not saying that we have to agree with the person or persons, I am simply saying that we have to discern who the real actor is manipulating the person, and most often it is Satan. Acting our of free-will is often Satan inspired. Yes, sometimes we humans act independent of the principality war, choosing to exercise our free-will rather than God’s Will, but regardless, we must stay awake and alert, our enemy walks the earth looking to devour us. He sets the stage to create chaos, battles, and war. He does not want us to examine ourselves. He wants us to exercise our free-will which leads to eventual destruction. We must be aware of the rise of destruction in our lives.
When lies, manipulations, bigotry, and hate become our acceptable norm, we fall from grace. We are no longer abiding by God’s Will. If we do not abide by His Will, we will not consider His Promises as Truth.
If we look into the heavenlies, we would see the principalities warring and would know that the above is counter to His Word which includes the Ten Commandments, the Fruit of the Spirit, God’s Will for our lives, and His Promises to us.
If we begin to naively believe the deceiver by accepting the deception, Satan has separated us from the Will of God. How does this happen? We feed the deception through our anger, our words, and our actions. Greed, access, control, and power cloud our thinking. We walk around with blinders on. We listen to the ‘nay-sayers’ and join the choir. Our mind is home to spiritual warfare. When we relax, we open ourselves to the onslaught of the evil one.
Do you know who gets caught in this trap?Believers get caught in the trap. It was designed for us. Believers often feel that as God’s children, we are immune to the wiles of the evil one. We are subtly persuaded to let down our guard, accept a little white lie, accept something we have not rightfully earned, spew harmful gossip, become intoxicated by flattery, manipulate people to do our bidding, go along with what is expedient and lucrative, and slip and slide trying to avoid getting caught. We wear our disguise as believers pretending to hold fast to the Word, but in reality, we are so intoxicated by deceptive values we begin to believe our own rhetoric, the rhetoric of the evil one.
Crossing The Line
We unwittingly cross the line. For example – when I was a child, my friend said, let’s steal some candy from the candy store. (One kid in your neighborhood always tried to get everyone else to join him in stealing candy.) I refused for a long time, but then the other kids said it’s easy, you can’t get caught, we do it all of the time. You’re just a scarry-cat. I finally gave in, or I should say, caved in. I knew it was wrong but was tired of being on the outside. I stole some candy, but during and after stealing the candy,I felt so guilty that I could not enjoy it. But I knew that it was morally wrong to steal. I knew God’s Commandment, ‘do not steal’, and I was convicted. I couldn’t rest, so I told my parents. They reprimanded me. My father took me to the store to tell the merchant what I did. (My Dad had spoken with the merchant earlier and they decided to ‘scare me straight’.) I thought I was going to jail. But the merchant accepted my apology and my $.25. My Dad and I went home. I thought it was over, but to my surprise, I was punished for a week. (Just like our parents, God often chastises us for wrongdoing to help us learn the lesson.) Now, suppose I continued at this pace, the guilt would have subsided and this would have become my new norm. I would have unwittingly fallen prey to the deception – no harm, no foul. Fortunately, Sunday School and my parents prepared me for battle, and while I slipped (ah, free-will), the Holy Spirit helped me self-correct. You see, the soft, quiet voice was alive and active, and most importantly, I was in tune and could hear His voice. What experiences have you had that when you look back, you’ve been suckered into immoral, unethical situations? Think about them and identify where you faltered.
The Soft, Quiet Voice Speaks
People who ignore the quiet, soft voice of the Holy Spirit eventually become deaf and stop hearing His voice. When we stop hearing his voice, They fall into layers of deception: the loss of self-control, gentleness, kindness, honesty, peace, joy, love, and faithfulness(the Fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23) leaves the void that is filled with the desires of this earth. The void is filled with new norms – greed, access, control, self-righteousness, power and camaraderie with those sharing the same belief.
It is our responsibility, as Christians, to pay attention to everything going on around us, to stay in the Word, and by being alert, ‘stand firm’. Oh, if it was only that easy. As humans, we relax and let our guard down. When discomfort overwhelms us, we completely cave in or we come to attention, get back up and realign ourselves with the Word. Some are able to take immediate action, others awaken much later, and still, others remain in the catatonic state of deception, all the while believing the lie that they are faith-filled Christians. Do you know how to get your footing back?
We do not have the luxury of being naive. The world is filled with unbelievers, misdirected believers, and wicked people; to think otherwise is to fall into deception. Our world is in great chaos and we must make a decision as to where we stand. I for one will stand and share the Good Word. Now that I know that free-will is not free but can lead me into the lake of destruction I relinquish my will in favor of God’s Will for my life. I fear being enticed by the world, forgo praying, and letting Satan escalate his plans for my eventual destruction. What do you fear? On whose side will you stand?
We cannot allow ourselves to be deceived by what we see or hear, remember the things of this earth below to Satan and it is his intention to give this world and HD TV effect. If we are going to discern the Truth, we must read and study the Scriptures in the Bible, pray and meditate on the Word on a daily basis. We must wear our spiritual (x-ray) goggles and view the deception for what it is, Satan’s failing attempt to kill, steal, and destroy.
In times such as this and especially in times of crisis, it is important to put on our battle gear, stay in prayer, and bombard the atmosphere with the Word, in the belief that we are the victors through Christ Jesus who died on the cross for us.