The Devil’s Greatest Trick – A Christian’s Critical Skill

Now What?

Now What?

When a Christian makes the commitment to follow Christ, they are no longer captive of evil and therefore becomes its target. At this point in a Christian’s walk, he or she really must develop critical skills to identify evil and where it can be found. This is tough for a new Christian,

Saved and Confused

Saved and Confused

particularly when the world is so convincing that worldliness is right, and Godliness is a foolish lie. The world lives for the flesh of humanity. God gives us eternal life in the Spirit. A new Christian often feels like they woke up in the middle of a supernatural war between our flesh and our Spirit. That’s actually a pretty solid interpretation of reality.

Romans 8:5-8 (NLT) “Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.”

You get out what you put in

You get out what you put in

Until we are saved, we’ve been living a life in the flesh. We “can’t see the forest through the trees”. Living a life in the Spirit makes evil things of our old life much more obvious. Borrowing a concept from the early lexicon of computing, remember “garbage-in, garbage-out”? Like a computer, our thought-life experiences the same dynamic. If you put garbage in your mind, you get a mind full of garbage and its product is predictably garbage. The good news is, if you put good in, you get good out. If you put God in, you get God out. Once you identify this truth, you are on your way to being able to spot evil, particularly moral evil. God made us to good and moral, but through the original sin of Adam and Eve, we became corrupt. We fell victim to the influence of evil. That scene reveals much of the nature of Satan and his modus operandi or M.O.. Let’s look at that first temptation.

Genesis 3:1-7 (NLT) 1 The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the LORD God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” 2 “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. 3 “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’” 4 “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. 5 “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” 6 The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. 7 At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.

Here we see Satan (vs 1) twist God’s Words (vs 4) deny the truth (vs 5), invoke a false-promise through temptation in pridefulness (vs 6) and in listening to evil, Eve romanced the temptation, lusted after the forbidden, committed the sin and shared her deviation with Adam. Suddenly, they were forever changed by their sin and would forever have to deal with its consequences.  Satan’s M.O. has not changed.

False Promise of the Flesh

False Promise of the Flesh

Our broken, sinful world is immersed in a sea of Satan’s lies. Discerning what is a lie, and where it came from, are two skills the believer will have to develop quickly to be the most effective. In the flesh, there are lies all around, but those who are living in the flesh refuse to see them. Under the deceptive power of Satan, humanity has struggled since the first couple, and this was illustrated many times by Jesus as he confronted His own Jewish countrymen. Jesus spoke to the willfully blind Jews as he taught in the Treasury of the Temple, saying:

John 8:44 (NLT) “For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Credit: Answers in Genesis

Credit: Answers in Genesis

In 2015, we are very much like the willfully blind Jews that Jesus was speaking to. Today, it is Secular Humanism that is feverishly straining to eliminate the truth of God by all means available to them. Since the end of the 19th Century, academics have doggedly escalated efforts to ban mention of Christianity from the classroom, the halls of government, and the public square. Today, they have succeeded beyond their wildest imaginations, largely because they have been able to conceal the results of evil right in plain sight. The very media responsible for spreading overwhelming amounts of evil, appears to have accidentally offered some instruction on this.

Kevin Spacey as

Kevin Spacey as “Verbal Kint”

In the 1995 movie The Usual Suspects, Kevin Spacey’s character, Roger “Verbal” Kint borrows the 100-year-old classic Christian apologetic statement, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” If Christians look around the society of 2015, they will begin seeing that the secular world is largely convinced that evil isn’t real and biblical truth is a myth. It’s worth looking at the results.  Let’s look at how much America “fear’s the Lord”: dgt9

The Hebrew ‏יִרְאָה‎ “Yi rah’” translates as “fear”, but has an element of moral reverence in the Hebrew, making it unlike the English “fear” one would have of ghosts or spiders. With that in mind, let’s look at how Solomon’s wisdom expressed moral reverence to God:

Proverbs 1:7 (ESV) “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Developing a Biblical Worldview

Developing a Biblical Worldview

As Christians, we develop a biblical worldview, and the Bible becomes the lens through which we see things around us. As we revere the Word of God, and take in its wisdom and instruction, we can see through the lies that the world sells. This new lens of the Bible clarifies the sources of evil, their pathology into individual lives, and ultimately into an entire society.

Hebrews 4:12-13 (NLT) “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.”

Spiritual disciples greatly help us learn to see the world through God’s lens. I invite you to look at my posting Eating the Elephant of Godliness on the main page of the blog AppliedFaith.Org for tips to get started. And be faithful in knowing that God will give you the tools to succeed in your faith.

James 4:5-7 (NLT) “What do you think the Scriptures mean when they say that the spirit God has placed within us is filled with envy? But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.” So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”



Categories: Apologetics, Atheism, Christianity, Contributors

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19 replies

  1. Great stuff David, thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “A new Christian often feels like they woke up in the middle of a supernatural war between our flesh and our Spirit.”

    An old, seasoned believer feels that way too. 😉 lol.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Reblogged this on Applied Faith and commented:
    A guest post done for Isaiah 53:5 Project… It was an honor to participate .

    Like

  4. Good post Mike. I suppose you would not be shocked to know that a LOT of Christians don’t believe in Satan? Or sin…or some of them eventually God Himself. But it does seem like saying The Devil is not real starts the whole drifting away ball rolling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A lot of that is how someone is saved. If they get the “happy lifey” join a club salvation experience, it’s a soft conversion. If they get the “uncomfortable parachute will save you life” salvation experience, it’s a hard conversion. Hard conversions usually stick, and Satan, evil and hell are truths that are fully disclosed. If you follow a preacher who hides hell, you may already be there one not even know it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LOL, ok good. The mind is the first thing to go. I get what you said about salvation, but would actually add to it. I’m not sure one can really be saved unless the consequences of sin and it awfulness are actually understood. Repentance toward God and faith in Jesus. How can you repent if you don’t even acknowledge it?

        But denying satan is just another trick and place to attack. It’s that, or something else. Been challenged on Genesis lately? Or the divinity of Jesus? Reliability of the Gospels? Take your pick. Hmmm…seems these tactics are similar to the Devils…as in….Did God really say?………

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think true salvation sticks. If we come to Christ for reasons other than our sin issue, are we coming to a different gospel?After all, didn’t the angel tell Joseph to call his name Jesus because he would save his people from their sin?

        Liked by 1 person

        • It’s a concept I dug into after watching The Way of the Master evangelism series. I attended a United Methodist church when first, and recall it was a very soft conversion. I had nothing to compare to, so I didn’t realize how big of a deal that was until I became a youth pastor in a Baptist church. How dangerous it is to preach conversion that doesn’t explain the gravity of the decision.

          Like

  5. Oh my. David I’m very sorry LOL. I had a Mike on my mind when I wrote that. Please correct it would you? I was actually looking at the name when I wrote the comment. I’m so dumb sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The above passage from Romans 8 speaks of two kinds of minds; carnal and spiritual. If it’s true that until a person is born of the Spirit he only has a carnal mind, and that carnal mind is hostile to God, how does it inform our evangelistic efforts? Does a mind hostile to God seek Him?

    Concerning the struggle between the spirit and the flesh, Paul defines it rather well in Romans 7.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This should have been a general comment, not a reply to Mr. Zande. I would have asked Mr. Zande if he had a point relevant to the post, or if he was just ranting.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I greatly appreciate your posting, B4B. I checked with the site owner, and we’re going to remove the response that you inadvertently responded to. But, I very much do want your participation. I’d love it if you could repost a soon as we remove the heckler.

        Like

    • If a person can only understand the truth of the Bible once the person is born of the Spirit then it seems to be a bit of a Chicken and Egg situation if the hostile mind cannot not seek God.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Peter, that looks like a frustrated response. You seem to want to have what others have, but don’t want to be what they are as well. You will find no shortage of people who went through similar feelings. I was too smart, and Christians were too weak-minded, for me to accept God as He is.

        Reading the Bible with a sincere desire to know will help. I recommend reading Being Transformed – Spirit and Attention Management. It will give you a Bible-reading help that should more-quickly give you the answers you are looking for.

        Like

  7. This is excellent! My parish priests have been talking about this very thing.

    Liked by 1 person

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