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Fireheart 1945


"Defend your clan, even with your life." - Warrior code, Warrior cats novel series

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May
13th
2020

How the devil ensnares us · 10:55pm May 13th

In Chapter 4 of Charles S. Stanley's book, "When the Enemy strikes," the author relates a story to the reader. A pastor teaching a group of children had one strong boy come up to the platform. He then told the boy to break the string, which he easily did.

Then the pastor asked the children whether or not they thought that he could bind one of them (with a spool of thread) such that they could not break free on their own; most said no, and of those few who didn't, apparently none of them thought the pastor could actually use a spool of thread to tie one of them up.

Another strong boy volunteered and a young girl tied the boy's hands together with the thread. This went on for several minutes while the pastor spoke about obedience and trust. Eventually, the girl used up the entire spool of thread. The boy was instructed to break loose, but he couldn't, no matter how hard he struggled. He gave up, and the pastor cut him loose.

The pastor then exposed the truth he had been trying to teach the children; the devil comes at us, one lie or one sin at a time, subtly binding us, even as we think, "Well, I can quit or stop or change at any time." But when we eventually realize what's going on, we find that we can't break free, not under our own power. The enemy has trapped us, with little sins and little lies adding up over time to form a net from which we cannot break out of ourselves. Eventually, its difficult to differentiate truth from lies or to break out of a box of bad thoughts, and our "little" sins lead us to keep sinning, binding us and tying us tighter each time we do them, until we're bound and caught like a groundhog in a steel trap.

Sadly, the story isn't quite over, though this is where Dr. Stanley leaves off from this particular story. As he goes on to say, the enemy doesn't come at us with a big, obvious lie; that would be too easy for us to recognize who's talking to us and what he wants. Instead, the devil feeds us a little falsehood at a time, with the goal of having it add up to a big snare over time. In addition, the enemy mixes a little truth with his lie to make it stronger; if anyone has "The Last Battle" from the Chronicles of Narnia, you'll remember the lie the Ape tells toward the end of the story to make the plans of Tirian and friends to expose him as a liar and false prophet come to nothing.

Dr. Stanley lists four main snares the enemy uses;

- Debate; what ifs and buts and other turns of speech that try to set conditions on God and how we relate to God. In effect, the enemy tries to take exceptions and oddities and twist them so that one's convictions (such as homosexuality and abortion being wrong, that people should be going to church, that preaching the Word is commanded) are weakened.

- Division; the enemy desires to divide the believers so that they'll be too busy fighting each other to preach the Word, and to bring hostility throughout the world, tear apart families, and get people all around fighting with one another.

- Doubt; doubts about God, specifically. The Bible, one's relationship with God, your Christian life, etc. The enemy tries to undermine all these things and more by getting one to believe a lie about God, or their relationship with Him, or their walk in life, etc.

- Deception; general lies about the truth. Such lies include telling us that we don't have time for Biblical activities such as reading the Bible, telling us not to think about tomorrow (or the future in general), and telling us that we can accept "gray" in life, that as long as we do more good than bad, then we'll be fine. This last, of course, ignores the holy living to which God calls us.

Sin is devastating. While we can't see the eventual effects, they are always bad. It leads to destruction, always. Sin might not seem like a big deal, because we fail to see the eventual effects.

Smoking a cigarette might seem cool and may calm the nerves for the moment, but, if kept up (and it usually is), the lungs of the smoker are systematically destroyed, to the point where they die or need uncomfortable mechanical help to stay alive.

If someone takes a drink of alcohol - namely, a person who isn't able to discipline themselves to take one beer or ale or what-have-you and then stick to soda pop (or better yet water) for the rest of the party - they might not get themselves or others killed immediately in a drunken rage or from drunk driving, but it's very likely that they will do something they'll permanently regret in the future, especially if they can't kick the habit. I think we can agree that alcohol isn't necessarily bad... when drinking it in moderation. Drunkenness, however, always leads to a bad outcome.

In government, a newly-elected person might come in with idealism and thoughts of changing the way things run. However, they realize that that's going to be much harder than they thought. The government doesn't run the way it's supposed to by law and it's mired in corruption. The new guy can't get his legislative agenda off the ground. He starts to slowly compromise his principles; at first, it'll be small things, things he can justify to himself easily, things that allow for a bit of a shortcut. But gradually, the gap between his original ideals and the man he's becoming gets bigger, to the point that, despite his original goals, he's become just as corrupt as everyone else. A writer on this site called Chris wrote a story called Future Considerations that I would suggest for seeing how such corruption starts off.

Finally, Mr. Neil T. Anderson, in his own book "Victory over the Darkness," (Chapter 7) relates a theoretical story where a pastor has a goal of having the best youth ministry, but one of the members on the church board keeps insisting that they hire a music director before hiring a youth pastor and keeps vetoing the current pastor. His goal blocked, the pastor begins to first lobby his case before the other board members. He begins to try gathering support from other leaders. He preaches in sermons about the importance of a youth ministry. He tries to force the dissenting guy to change his mind, or, failing that, to remove him so that the youth pastor can be hired.

Do you see what's happened in the previous paragraph? A once godly goal has become twisted to be a power struggle and a fight between members of the same church. For what its worth, I agree that a youth ministry is a good thing; preaching to children and teens and leading them to godly ways early is a good thing. But the result of this theoretical battle is to divide the church against itself, and, even assuming the youth ministry guy wins, he's crippled his own morality in doing so. Hiring a youth pastor at the current stage (trying to force the other guy or to try to remove him) would not do the good its meant to do, not until the current pastor gets his act together, realizes what he's done wrong and Who he's really sinned against, and repents fully.

The point, TL;DR, is that the devil creeps in among us and gradually, through little lies that come close to the truth, to twist us until we are stuck knee-deep in sin and can't get out.

Thankfully, God, and Christ Jesus, who is God, is infinitely stronger than His creation - including the fallen angel who became the devil - and has the power to cast out the enemy. We need to remember the truth whatever our situation. We need to stand fast on the Bible and the truth it teaches, and to trust God to defeat our enemy. We need to remember that our true enemy is Satan and that the people he uses are not the true foe.

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12)."

Sources paraphrases and quoted;

"When the Enemy Strikes," by Charles S. Stanley, Chapter 4, "The Enemy's Snares," pg 33-34 and onward
"Victory over the Darkness," by Neil T. Anderson, Chapter 7, "You can't live beyond what you believe," pg. 129-130.

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