THE WILES OF THE DEVIL

Do you sometimes find yourself distracted to the point that you’re neglecting prayer and bible study? I know I do.

God has been showing me this month some ways the Devil keeps his children from spending time with Him. One of his tricks is distracting them by whatever means he can. Scripture tells us not to be fooled by his wiles (cunning arts, deceit, craft, trickery) – Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 

For example, you’re about to read your bible and pray, when the phone rings and it’s a fellow believer whom you desire to speak with so you put your bible down and take the call. It’s so subtle you can easily miss it. By the time you’re done talking an hour or so later, you have chores which need doing. So, you don’t read your bible that day and the devil wins because he robbed you of spiritual, life-giving food!

Joh 6:51  I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
Joh 6:47  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
Joh 6:48  I am that bread of life.
Joh 6:49  Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
Joh 6:50  This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
Joh 6:52  The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
Joh 6:53  Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
Joh 6:54  Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
Joh 6:55  For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
Joh 6:56  He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
Joh 6:63  It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

The Jews were offended by Jesus’s words because they didn’t understand that they need to be understood in the spiritual sense and not literally. As Jesus said, the words He was speaking were spirit, and can only be understood by those having spiritual ears with which to hear. Jesus Christ gives spiritual ears to whomever He chooses. When some Pharisees were questioning Him about where He came from and by what authority He did miracles, etc. Jesus answered by asking them some questions….

Joh 8:43  Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
Joh 8:47  He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
Deu 29:4  Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.
Mat 13:9  Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Mat 13:10  And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
Mat 13:11  He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
Luk 24:44  And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
Luk 24:45  Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures….

What Jesus meant by “eating His flesh” was that we feed on Him in the spiritual sense by being in His presence, praying, worshiping Him, and meditating on His words [1]. Jesus never meant for anyone to eat his actual flesh! Jesus often spoke in parables to hide the mysteries of the Kingdom from the impious while revealing them to whom they were “given.” The mysteries of the kingdom aren’t given to everyone but only to those whom God chooses. When you come to Jesus, receiving Him by faith as your Savior and Lord, you’re given spiritual understanding. Joh 1:12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God… “received” = to receive a person, give him access to one’s self [Thayer’s Greek Definitions]

The Bible states that the Temple of God is not a structure made by human hands. 1Co 3:16  Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? In the spirit of a believer is where Christ via the Holy Spirit dwells. It’s from there that believers can (and should) hear God’s “still, small voice” [1 Kings 19:12; Acts 2:37]. If they don’t or can’t, there’s a problem somewhere. It could be that the Spirit of Christ hasn’t taken up residence in them (because they’ve not really received Christ or his words). Those who haven’t a love of the truth (God’s word) will be given a “strong delusion” to believe a lie – 2Th 2:11  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 2Th 2:12  That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. Other causes may include demonic interference of one form or another, or unrepentant sin. Some are afflicted with a ‘spirit of deafness’ which causes an inability to hear spiritual truth. Then there’s emotional and mental turmoil which can cause enormous distraction in a person. Abuse and a wounded spirit, which only the gentle, loving Spirit of Christ can reach and heal, can be a hindrance to hearing God’s voice clearly. Whatever the case may be, Jesus came to ”set the captives free” [Isa 42:7]. Isa 57:15  For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones

Another means of distraction are daily chores and errands which obviously have to be done. We all have them, but our first priority ought to be Related imagespending time alone with our Lord in communion – not the sacrament of Communion, but communion with His Spirit. SACRAMENTS can be an alluring and subtle means of distracting men from Christ by placing a non-scriptural emphasis on PHYSICAL elements. The Devil has tricked millions into believing the lie that merely partaking of physical bread and wine gives them spiritual life. Catholics believe that when a priest blesses the communion wafer and wine, they become the actual body and Blood of Christ. They call it Transubstantiation, but there’s nothing in the Bible to substantiate that doctrine! It’s a doctrine of men [Mark 7:7-13; Titus 1:14] not of God. Hear what the Scriptures have to say about it —

Col 2:20  Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances
Rom 6:9  Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
Rom 6:10  For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
1Pe 3:18  For Christ also hath once suffered for sins,
Heb 10:12  But this man (Jesus), after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

That last verse alone disproves the doctrine of Transubstantiation. Since Christ now sits on the right hand of God the Father, He isn’t coming back to earth every Sunday to be crucified all over again and offered as a sacrifice! He died ONCE for our sins at the appointed time, and that was/is sufficient. End of argument. The biblical doctrine of Salvation is that we are saved by faith and not by works – Tit 3:5  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost….

Eating a wafer and drinking wine without having a personal relationship with Jesus, cannot and will not save you from your sin, nor can it impart life to you. Only God through Jesus Christ can impart spiritual and eternal life, and it’s in communion with Him that we receive that Life, not through observance of religious works. Burning candles for the departed, wearing Scapulars, keeping man-made holy days not found in the Bible, etc., do not and cannot impart life. Such observances often serve to distract people from God by replacing relationship with Him, with rituals and talismans. A scapular has no more power to keep you safe from evil than does the sprinkling of water. Burning a candle for a deceased love one, or praying to a statue does no good whatsoever. Putting your faith in such things will lead you away from the Truth. Praying for and to the dead, and bowing before statues, is strictly forbidden in Scripture, Lev 6:1  Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God. [See also Exo 20:3-5; Isa 46:7; Isa 44:9-20].

“Praying for the dead is not a biblical concept. Our prayers have no bearing on someone once he or she has died. The reality is that, at the point of death, one’s eternal destiny is confirmed. Either he is saved through faith in Christ and is in heaven where he is experiencing rest and joy in God’s presence, or he is in torment in hell. The story of the rich man and Lazarus the beggar provides us with a vivid illustration of this truth. Jesus plainly used this story to teach that after death the unrighteous are eternally separated from God, that they remember their rejection of the gospel, that they are in torment, and that their condition cannot be remedied (Luke 16:19-31).” [2]

Distraction can take many forms. Martha, a disciple of Jesus, got distracted by her concerns —

'Christ in the House of Martha and Mary', Jan Vermeer van Delft, 1654Luk 10:38  Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
Luk 10:39  And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
Luk 10:40  But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
Luk 10:41  And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
Luk 10:42  But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

From this passage we can see that Jesus put a priority on spending time  listening to Him. He often spent hours, even whole nights in prayer, thereby setting us an example to follow Heb 5:7  Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared…

My prayer and hope is that believers become astute at hearing from God through spending time alone with Him, who like Mary, put devotion to God’s words first in their lives. May we lay aside our distractions and concerns awhile each day to hear the words of our Savior, for in doing so we’ll find shelter from the storms, as well as safety from the Tempter’s wiles.

Debra R. Stout © April 25, 2017

Footnotes:
[1] To meditate means to ponder, that is, (by implication) converse (with oneself, and hence aloud) or (transitively) utter: – commune, complain, declare, meditate, muse, pray, speak, talk (with) Psa 119:15.          [2] https://www.gotquestions.org/praying-for-the-dead.html

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