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John 10:10, 2Cor 2:11 JUNE, 2010
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:
I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
THE DEVICES OF THE DEVIL
Last month, I left off talking about how one of the tools [devices] Satan uses against us [Christians], to get us to get out of the paths of righteousness, that He [Christ], wants us to walk in, is our own pride. This one, leads the list.
We looked at how in many instances he gets us to believe that we, [especially those of us that have been Spirit filled], know God so well, that we know everything there is to know, and no one can tell us anything. Therefore, if God sends someone to us, to tell us we are doing something wrong, we refuse to accept it, even though they were sent by Him.
What we fail to understand is, this is just what the Devil wants, because it puts, or keeps us on a path to our own destruction. We may still be saved, but we have put a stumbling block in our path, and the paths of those that come after us, as well as destroyed our witness for Christ.
There is a story in the bible, about God, using a jackass, to direct a man, who, even though he was God's prophet, to stop heading down a path that, had he continued, he would have been killed, by an Angel of the Lord. If you read the whole story, you will see that the man, Balaam, was so angered at his ass[jackass], because it kept going contrary to where he wanted him to go, that he beat it. Finally the jackass, spoke to him, and then, Balaam saw the danger, he hadn't seen. [Num 22:20-33]
The moral to this story is quite simple, if God can use a jackass to deliver His message to one of His prophets, what does that have to say about Him using another person [Christian, or not], to get us to see something He wants us to see??
The only thing that stops us from taking heed to them, is most often, our self pride.
Another tool he uses, is, family, and friends.
When it comes right down to it, family, and friends, are major influences on how we are raised, and think.
All of us, are products of the influence, that our family has molded us by. We act, and think like we have been guided to do. Show me any person, whether they are good, or bad, and I can usually tell you, that they are the way they are, because of their upbringing, and the influence of, family, and friends.
Friends usually play an important part as well. However, people usually choose their friends, according to the influence of their family.
Parents that keep an eye on their child, to make sure they don't hang around with the wrong crowd, will usually have a child that will stay out of trouble, as opposed to one, whose family doesn't care who they have as a friend, or even exposing them to the wrong element, themselves.
In this area, the Devil is especially active.
With the influence of family[blood] being so strong in building our character, he will pit family and traditions of the family against us. And, not wanting to hurt family, especially mom, dad, or grand parents, we will tend to listen more to them, than any one else. And as such, we completely ignore what God has to say, because, we figure that they, whether saved or not, are owed our respect, and trust, because they raised us, and we want to be loyal to them.
Loyalty, is a good thing, as long as it doesn't interfere with our relationship to God, through Jesus Christ. But, the devil turns it around, and gets us to think, that family, is the principle thing.
The devil will tell you that, God, doesn't want us to be divisive, in our families. He wants us to show the Love of Christ, and stick by our families, no matter what. He will tell you that, your parents, and grandparents, know what is best, because they raised you, and all that you are, you owe to them, and you have to respect them for their knowledge.
Of course these things sound good, but there is a big problem.
The flip side of this situation is that they, your parents, grandparents as well as other family members, and friends, may not have known any better, and raised you according to what they knew at the time.
One of the hardest things to get away from is tradition. But, if you think about it, God calls us to leave it behind, if it goes against His will and purpose for our lives.
Suppose, just suppose, those that raised you, were not saved, and God wanted to use you, to get them saved. Yet, because of your respect for them, you didn't get saved yourself, or if you did, you didn't witness to them. Then they die, and go to hell. Was that respect for their feelings worth it??
The same thing can be said about your friends. I have a saying, that is modeled after a drunk driving ad, and it goes like this, 'Friends don't let friends, go to hell!!'
One of the most wrenching feelings that can come on a saint, is the knowledge that a family member, or friend is in hell, because you were the only one that the person would listen to, and you, out of your so-called love and respect for them, and their feelings, said nothing.
But, we don't even have to go that far.
Everyday, I see and hear other people, including saints, indulging in, and saying things, that they shouldn't, and, I try to tell them, that what they are doing, is going to cause them to suffer, in this life. I do so, because that is my mandate from God, as an evangelist. And a lot of times, I get flack about it, or, in some instances, questions about my being too hard, or not showing the love of Christ. However, just exactly what is showing the love of Christ?? If I am not at least warning the people of the danger of their ways, then, I have become what many wouldn't want to have around them, and that is, an enemy. Prv 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
If I wanted people to like me, then, I could easily back off of what they may consider extreme positions, on issues that we deal with every day. I could seek, as one well known preacher calls it, 'common ground', that would make me, and what I say, more acceptable to people, especially in the Church. But, it is not man's, or the saint's approval I am seeking, but Christ's.
If I put people's feelings ahead of what Christ has called me to do, then, I have become an idolator, and salt, that has lost its savor, and am good for nothing.
The devil's goal in this instance is to shut me up, or get people to turn their ears away from me. He does this, by making them believe 'this is not God's message. If He wants you to know something, He knows how to get in touch with you!' Once again, he is playing on your pride.
What you fail to understand, and this might hurt a little bit, is the fact
that many times, when you pray about a problem, God will send someone to you to give you the answer that, if He kept giving it to you alone, you might start thinking, that doesn't make any sense, or that you must be losing your mind. 'That couldn't be God', you say.
I have no doubt that many of you have asked God about a problem, and He spoke to your mind, and you still had doubts, so what did He do?? He sent someone to you, to reinforce it. You know, 2Cor 13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. God will always provide a backup to what He says to you, so you will know it is Him that spoke to you. However, as the bible says, 'He that has an ear to hear, let him hear.'
Believe it or not, another tool he uses, quite effectively, is pastors.
Pastor, is one of the offices Christ has ordained for the Church. Eph 4:11-12 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Notice, there are 4 other offices that go along with it. And just like the office of pastor, the other 4, are support mechanisms for the total perfecting of the saints. It takes all 5 to get it done.
The pastor, is, and rightfully so, the under-shepherd of Christ, over the flock, of a particular Church. He is responsible for every soul that sits under his ministry. That includes male, and female. While he is responsible to God for everyone's growth in Christ, there should be a woman, serving under him, to direct the females in the congregation, in the things of God, that pertain to women [Titus 2:3-5]. Any other situation, is out of the will of God. God holds the man responsible for everything, therefore, man is the one that God has anointed as the head of the family, and the Church [of course Christ is the Head.] No man can teach a woman how to be a woman. Neither can a woman, teach a man, how to be a man.
Now, getting to Satan's influence in the Church.
First, he [Satan], has many people in the pulpits of not only the small, insignificant [meaning, not well known] churches in this nation, but, in the large, and even mega churches in this nation, that are well known, and popular.
Why am I saying this??
Well, for starters, any person that holds the position of pastor, has to be anointed by God, for that office, just like the other 4 offices. No one can legitimately be in any of those offices, if they are not anointed by God. And, you don't get anointed by God for these offices, by choosing the office yourself. Too many people, in the pulpits of too many churches in this nation, have no anointing from God, whatsoever. What they have, is a diploma. More next month.