It takes me awhile to catch onto God’s work in my life. I hope you respond more quickly than I do, but in the slim chance that God needs to teach you over and over and over again too, maybe you can relate. See, as I’ve been thinking about how lies have snuck into our culture (and I just read an article guaranteeing that Facebook is indeed the culprit, so there ya go) I am certain that the same avenues are being used to sneak lies into the church, into our homes, into our own minds. How is it that we begin believing lies as truth? What’s going on there?
Apparently this is work that God was teaching me a few years ago (remember, I’m a slow spiritual learner) as I was reminded in a blog post written here. It’s worth a (re-)read, I think. As I’ve been thinking over these sneaky lies, I am reminded of a Scripture about the father of all lies, Satan, and how we can be aware of his tactics.
lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.
2 Corinthians 2:11
Other Bible versions use the word “schemes” in place of “devices”. There’s a knowing of how Satan works. This is important so we won’t be caught off-guard with Satan taking advantage of us. While I know this verse well, and I know that Satan is not creative–His techniques or schemes are the same old baloney since he tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden–how is it that we just seem to get tricked over and over again?
Here are a few thoughts on that:
We don’t listen to what God has said.
In the emotion of things, maybe it’s a deep hurt or unresolved anger, we excuse what God has said in His word. Or we are swept up in the emotion that we forget the truth. Instead of asking, “What does God say about this?”, we forge ahead in sin and excuse it because we’ve been hurt. For example, God tells us that He will give us a way of escape out of sin. Well, one time I sat and stewed over a frustrating situation. Even though I felt God’s prompting to trust Him and let Him care for me, I pressed right on ahead and vomited out hateful speech. My flesh wanted to win that day, not submit to God’s truth. But, God’s ways are perfect and when we remember and obey what He has said, we will see beautiful and godly fruit grow from any situation.
We believe the “experts” instead of God.
Even though God’s word tells us that a fool vents all his feelings (Proverbs 29:11), we often ascribe instead to the “experts” who tell us that we need to let it all out. We ignore God’s truth that words have the power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21) and just spew. There are so many experts out there in the world today on every kind of issue, well beyond the use of our words…but as believers and Christ-followers, we must be on guard lest Satan takes advantage of us. One of his greatest devices is to turn us away from God’s truth and question if God really said…but, let me assure you that NO “expert” knows more than God. Run every single bit of ‘good advice’ by the standard of God’s commands alone.
We fear man, not God.
When a friend shares her deep hurts with you, what’s your response? While I fully advocate loving and caring for her, I wonder how many of us also fall into the camp of agreeing with her hurt? Of allowing her to wallow there a bit, because, after all, it hurts! But, we are fearing man when we do this. We’re afraid our friend will be upset with us for reminding them about the first part of the above Scripture verse:
Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.
2 Corinthians 2:10-11
Did God really say we have to forgive others? If He did (and Matthew 18:21 is a good place to begin) then we must just do it. When we fear God more than man, we will obey Him.
These things are all so difficult–and I am among the slowest at learning and applying–but we must go back to the basics. God’s word will always give us truth in each and every situation. But, when we begin going forward in our own wisdom or believing the world’s convincing truths, then we will join Eve when she bent her ear to the enemy of our souls who said,
Did God really say…?
We must open our Bibles, believe the words inside, and soundly reply:
It is written…THIS is what God has said…