[CF Devotionals] 2012-07-25 - Carefulness In Evil Days

Part Two

"See to it brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness" (Hebrews 3:13).

"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8)

"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7

"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel - for satan himself is transformed into an angel of light" (2 Cor 11:13).

Satan loves to confuse us and to make us doubt. He's been doing that since he questioned what God said to Eve in the Garden of Eden. These days, satan uses other people rather than serpents, to try and accomplish his own agendae. He knows our weaknesses, and can use the ones we love the most to try and get to us. When we get too close to unbelievers, we risk exposing ourselves to choices made with no consideration of what God says. They don't have to be our choices, in order to hurt us. Other people's choices can impact us in negative ways. God wants to protect us from other people's poor choices, as well as our own.

Throughout the Bible, God cautioned His people to be careful in their associations with unbelievers. He often told the Israelites not to associate with certain tribes, nor to marry into those tribes - because other religions were practiced. He would caution them against those who "followed other gods." God wants us to associate most closely with those who can help us grow in our faith, and who share our commitment to following Him. One reason is that putting God first has a lot to do with how people make decisions. He didn't tell the Israelites these things just because of their idolatry, though that's a good enough reason on its own. He knew his people were vulnerable to falling in with the culture around them and getting confused about what was right and what was wrong.

We are all prone to the same thing. It may not happen immediately, but given enough exposure, we get used to certain ideas or ways of life, and get too comfortable with things that are not of God. We may not seek out such things deliberately or consciously, but we can set ourselves up for too much exposure, when we make poor choices about whom we spend most of our time with.

In the New Testament, we're warned about how the devil roams about seeking someone to devour and how we should pay attention and be careful. We are told how "godless" people could lead us astray and tempt us to sin. God tells those who are seeking marriage not to be "unequally yoked," because of what could happen when we're so close with someone who doesn't share our faith. We are cautioned to beware of false prophets and to test the spirits.

Those with nothing more than an internal moral compass or conscience can be so easily swayed in wrong directions. They think they're "enlightened" or "free thinkers" but in reality, they've bought in to all kinds of garbage used to fill voids in their hearts. The thing is, these people don't realize that they are being influenced by spiritual forces. Satan is the father of lies and an angel of light. He makes things look good that aren't. He deceives people into believing things are okay, when they aren't. He leads people to believe that they can use their own minds to make solid decisions.

How it looks to me is that so many people have "bought in" to an evil agenda and don't even recognize or own that reality. They believe they've freely chosen. They have to an extent, but there are spiritual forces acting on them that they aren't aware of and don't acknowledge. They don't believe in such things. They don't believe in Satan or understand that he comes to "kill, steal, and destroy" so they're not on the lookout for him. They're sure of themselves, and not cautious or aware. They're slaves to sin and lost, but they think they know exactly what they're doing and why.

Some of the wrong things so many people accept as okay, seem very evil and dark to me. I see embracing certain choices as such clear indications of how much a person has been brainwashed by our world and Satan's lies. They are slaves and don't even realize it. They are in bondage, just as much as if they were literally in chains in a dungeon somewhere. Their hearts are hard, too. They don't want to give up certain ideas or activities.

The Holy Spirit helps us discern truth from lies. He helps us make use of our God-given conscience and helps us want to do what's right. The Spirit helps us to know what we must turn away from, even if those around us think it is something perfectly fine or just something that is "different" or a matter of personal choice, not right or wrong. As Christians, if we allow ourselves to listen on a soul level, we know when something is wrong. Some of these wrong things are wrapped in pretty packages, and it would be easy to be tempted to believe they're harmless or even "good" in some way. Others almost scream "wrong" and "unhealthy."

I don't know how I can hear that message so loudly, while the people who follow after such things don't even get a whisper of it. It is painful to see these things happen to people I care about. All I can do is pray that they will see clearly one day. I pray that they will know the truth, and that the truth will set them free. I know it is up to God to work in their minds, hearts, and lives.

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