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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
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Saturday, April 24, 2010
The Right Tool For the Right Job.
Our enemy chooses very carefully those tools that best fit his purposes.

Every believer who is not consciously putting on Christ, that is, any believer who is not labouring moment by moment to maintain himself or herself in the wearing of that same Christian armour that the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul has instructed every believer to don daily, is in danger.

Not merely the danger of daily denying God, rather than self, for all who neglect the command of scripture in this duty are daily denying their Lord, whilst indulging themselves in a sloth that is not only sinful, but harmful to their joy and well being. No not merely these things, though they are by no means trivial. The one who disregards this particular command is in danger of being snared by the enemies subtle attacks.

Here is something you need to be sure of: you will be deceived, no matter how smart you are, no matter how spiritual you have been in the past - eventually the enemy will snare you, in whole or in part, if you make it your habit to neglect the command of the Lord, and fail to don the armour of God whenever and however you are able.

You see, the enemy is subtle; he doesn't just come out and zap you, though if he had permission he might - but that wouldn't be his main attack by any means. No, he chooses the season of his attack according to that which is most advantageous to him. When you are newly converted or beset with some affliction. When you doing something noble, for God's glory. When there is some means present by which a temptation might be enforced, or perhaps following a great manifestation of God's love - in other words, when you guard is down. Likewise, in times when you are most likely to be frail, and fragile, anxious or desperate. The hour of death is almost a given - you will be assaulted more often than not, in those moments and places where an assault is most likely to succeed.

That's the way the enemy works. We call that a subtlety because he doesn't just come out and full on front assault you, but chooses to ply his trade when it is most likely to succeed.

Our enemy is likewise a strategist, using the well oiled machinery of his schemes and plans to deceive us. What temptation ever looks to be, at first blush, hideously sinful? How often does a temptation come through someone whom we trust? An angel of light? The enemy is apt to tempt us through those we least expect, and to present a temptation in the guise of something good or noble, when it fact it just the wrapper around some other sin.

He is not dormant, but gathers information on every child of God. When God asked Satan about Job, Satan's reply was that the only reason Job was so righteous is because God had him hemmed in on every side. How did Satan know that Job was hemmed in on every side? My guess, and it is a good one, is that Satan knew this first hand, from trying to get to Job from every angle. He was studying Job, and couldn't find an "in". So too, Satan, or more likely, one or more of his underlings, is studying you. Learning how best to tempt you, gathering information, and planning assaults against you. Few assaults spring forth in a day, but come gradually. We have all experienced it. All week, we say, things have been piling on. We feel like Job, who had horror upon horror stacked upon one after the other, and with increasing severity. So that when the final straw is added, we are ripe to crack beneath the weight of it all, yet even then the enemy holds a temptation or two in reserve, in case we master the one, he can ply us with another. Just as a general fills in the line as soldiers fall, if we withstand him on one point, fills that point with a different temptation, till at length we fail, even feigning defeat so that as we drop our guard, he strikes!

But today I wish to talk about a third subtle. While it is true that our enemy [1] chooses the most advantageous season for temptation, and [2] uses well planned strategies and schemes to snare and deceive us, he does not stop there. He chooses to work through people as well. People who have authority over us. People who are witty or clever, the kind we like to repeat, people of reputations, either for holiness or wisdom, or even people we personally admire and respect. The enemy can and will use people (even other believers) to subtly mislead us.

Consider first how we respond to people who have some authority over us, whether the magistrate, our employer, our parents if we are still children, or even our husband if we are a wife. Consider King David's treachery in the matter of Uriah:

Not only had David committed adultery with Uriah's wife Bathsheba while Uriah was away with David's army, but now, because David could cover his sin up no other way, he sends Uriah with a sealed letter to Joab, and written in the letter are instructions that inform Joab that he is to set Uriah up so that Uriah dies. The scroll was sealed, but David had to trust that Uriah wouldn't open the scroll and learn of David's plan. David was counting on Uriah's faithfulness, Uriah's honour and desire to obey his King - it was these noble traits that David used to bring his wicked plan to fruition. I don't think people spend a lot of time thinking about that. I mean, we know it was horrible for David to kill Uriah, and we know it was a betrayal, but putting the orders to kill him into his own hands and sending those order to Joab, knowing and trusting to, Uriah's faithfulness - the wrongness of that stinks worse than any corpse could ever smell. Do you see that Uriah, even should he suspect David, would by no means suspect Joab? I mean, what had Joab to do with any of this? Yet it would be Joab whom David used to bring Uriah to nothing. If David, whom scripture described as the apple of God's eye, was capable, in a pinch, of such betrayal and deception - of using Joab, a man under his own authority, to cause the death of Uriah, who was under Joab's authority - how much more so shall the enemy of God and all His children, use those authorities who stand over us to bring us to nothing?

David didn't just send the message to anyone. He had to consider who had both the authority and the ability to see the job done. So too, our enemy who is far better at this than David could ever hope to be, he chooses his instruments wisely.

Consider the fact that if the enemy can corrupt a pastor or a preacher, get that man to teach a thing that is wrong, or live in a compromised way and so encourage the whole congregation (or at least some good portion) by his own failure, others are sure to fall into line in the wake of his failure, would that not be easier than corrupting individual's one by one?

Again, consider how difficult it would have been for the enemy to sell this generation on the "normalcy" of homosexuality? How much work would it have been to try and convince an entire generation one by one that what has forever been a perversion is not merely a neutral choice? Impossible! Oh, but see how simple it becomes when you need only influence the universities, who in turn put out teachers to influence the children who grow up with the message spoon fed to them that what was previously wicked is not moral and good. A little pressure on the television networks and the cinema, and soon anyone who dares to name a perversion as perverse is labeled a hater, a bigot, and regarded as a narrow minded fool. One generation is all it took.

Can it be that the enemy has ever used any scheme in all of history to such great success? If there is some better way to bring moral decay, I am not aware of it. But should we not expect the enemy to increase in his trade? What creature is perfect? Sure we all can improve upon our best, given time. So the enemy has had all of creation to perfect his art, and he is stronger in it, and more fit in his ways now, then he has ever been before. Do not turn a blind eye, I say, but look full faced into the reality of what is being shared here today. The enemy uses people of power, and authority - the people who have influence in our society. Those people used to be kings, queens, nobles; but today they are the media, and the schools. If the enemy's work is hidden elsewhere, it is almost plain in these areas.

Remember Korah? There was a man of influence. Who are you Moses, to take these things to yourself? I will offer incense also. How many followed Korah in his rebellion - how many men, women, and children did the earth open up and swallow? Yet it was Korah whom they followed - corrupt the man of influence, and you have corrupted as many as will follow him. Corrupt the leader, and the flock will fail.

What King in Judah didn't drag all of Judah after him when he gave his heart over to sin? If a man wants to kill every person in the village, how much easier is it to poison the town well, than to poison each individually? Do you see it? Who will persuade Ahab to go up to war and die? The spirit who lied through the mouth of all Ahab's prophets. When a believer coddles another with regards to their sin, it is the pouring out of water of the first of God. It is crying out "peace peace" when there is no peace.

The enemy uses, to great effect, people who are in authority, and who have influence. Guard yourself against all you hear, be a Berean at all times, and perhaps especially so concerning things said by those whom you admire and trust. Do not assume that because you like/trust/admire someone, that they are never going to say anything wrong. Test all things, and do not let down your guard, for the enemy is not sleeping, but using, and will continue to use - in YOUR life, the very things, and people, and circumstances that have the most sway over you. Parents and children, spouses and friends - and especially television, movies, and "experts" and anyone who has "fans". Be on guard against the blogs you read, the preachers you like, so that in all things you are diligent in retaining the armour of God, bringing it up and keeping it between you and every influence that would entice you.

Be especially on guard when it comes to those people whose humour, intellect, or charm affects you the greatest. How many charismatic speakers have lead whole flocks astray? They have wit, and being clever they dress up the best of worldly wisdom, and sell it as divine. How many health, wealth, and prosperity churches are there? How many word faith congregations? How many are causing men to turn away from eternal life in order to strive for a best life now? How many men treat the pulpit as a stage, and count their followers as fans?

A clever man, when he is corrected, can turn the correction on the corrector. That is what you heard me say, but it is now what I meant to say, or perhaps your correction is valid insofar as you apply it to some narrow picture, but I was speaking to a broader canvas, and in that broader canvas your correction is unfounded. A clever man can turn every error into a misunderstanding, so that he is never wrong, either in his own mind, or in the minds of those who highly regard him. These are perfect vessels for the enemy, for they are already slippery as an eel in hiding their pride behind their intellect, so that instead of growing humble, they grow more proud, having looked upon their natural talents, and mused themselves superior thereby, even as Satan looked upon himself with pride. Such as these serve two purposes for the enemy, first they can long inject error into the body, and so are employed that way by the enemy, and second, should they be found out, then they shall bring shame upon their own talents so that the next man who studies Greek, or theology, or attends a seminar, will be regarded with suspicion, or even outright disdain, on the former one's account.

Have you ever performed slight of hand? Much of the illusion depends on having the observer look in the wrong direction at the right moment. So too, the more clever a speaker is, the easier it is to cover up errors and false teachings with wonderful notions and real truths. They sprinkle so much truth around, that you fail to notice that mixed into it is some corruption. The Judaizers held many truths, but they mixed these truths with errors, so that to some they seemed right, because they were saying a lot of right things - but in practice, these things were mixed with errors - yet such was the power of their persuasion that even Peter was swayed from a proper course by it.

Again the more intelligent or clever a person is, the more likely they will be inclined to justify, by argument, the indulgences of their flesh. They wield worldly wisdom like a surgeon wields a scalpal. Here we have those who argue that evolution and creation are both right - that God created the world through evolution. Here we have those great "thinkers" who will believe that every miracle in scripture has some natural explaination. Oh the parting of the Red sea just happened to coincide with a great cosmic event whereby the planets all lined up just so, and rather than exerting a somewhat mild influence on the tide, instead a gaping maw of water hollowed itself out of the Red sea, coincidentally as Moses happened to be there. Here we find many arguments intended to persuade men using human wisdom - and many go astray thereby.

Then we have those clever ones who have taught themselves to nourish every doctrine that increases their own opinion of themselves. Man is not so depraved, they say, that he cannot turn to God of his own free will. What a high opinion of self? What a low opinion of God! And yet it is pride that feeds such rubbish.

Again it is the clever ones who are more inclined to preach liberty where there is none. Come they say, you need not repent, only believe! Come they say, you need not have a faith that produces good works, all you need is a moment of intellectual assent, and you are eternally secure! These imagine they are preaching Christian liberty, when they are preaching carnal liberty dressed up as a ticket to heaven.

The clever ones, I say, are fitting vessels to the enemies work.

Again, a good decoy is more likely to draw a flock to water, than a bad one. Those who have the reputation of being holy, can easily sway even the godly. How many in the church would sooner hold their tongues than disagree with someone who is regarded as holy? How many in church leadership are glorified yes men - simply taking their cue from someone whom they think is holier than they are? How many Catholics refuse to hear scripture, having their ears so full of tradition and popery? These are used daily of the enemy, for they are fit vessels, are they not? If a man sets his reason aside because he is so in awe of another, then Satan has found a breach or a weakness to exploit.

Finally, the enemy also chooses to work through people close to us. Would Adam have accepted the fruit from Satan's hand, yet it came through Eve's. Consider what would have happened had Nabal showed up with the food instead of Abigail! David would have slaughtered Nabal, but the same food was received by the hand of Abigail. Delilah did more harm to Samson, than the entire Philistine army. Why did Satan spare Job's wife? Surely it is because she was close to Job, and a fit instrument by virtue of her closeness - when she told Job to curse God and die, it would have carried more weight than had any other person said it. Who was it who tempted Christ to avoid the cross? Was it not Peter, one of the three? Would the temptation have been as strong if Satan himself showed up?

You see in all this, I hope, that our enemy employs people against us. They don't have to be his servants, they just need to be influenced at the right moment. You, in your life, have probably been used by the enemy to tempt others to sin. We are not unaware of the workings of the enemy. What I want you to get out of this post, is a certainty that the enemy is at work in your life through people you know and admire, to destroy your faith, and render you useless. I briefly mentioned that he is a strategist, and chooses the season of his temptation wisely, but this post focused on the use of people to move us away from service, joy, and peace.

Perhaps some of you who are reading are already floundering in your walk, lacking peace, assurance, and joy. Plodding on feeling like you're a big failure, and like Christianity doesn't really work. All I can say is that this describes a person who lives their Christian life in such a way as to ignore daily the call to equip ourselves in the armour that the Lord supplies. If you are not wearing the armour of God, you need to. Not just because failing to do so is a sin, and neglecting it day after day is a sin - but also because that is the means by which God intends to protect you against the enemy. It isn't like He has left you naked on the battlefield - He hasn't. He has not only supplied you with a full set of armour, but even commanded you to put it on. It stands to reason that unless you do, the onslaught against you will continue to leave you spiritually crippled.

So read Ephesians, and read it again if you must, and again, and again, Convince yourself that wearing the armour of God is not optional, and learn, if for the first time, that the promises of God hinge on your obedience - if you do not put on the armour you cannot receive the benefits of wearing it.
Have a good Lord's day.


posted by Daniel @ 9:20 PM  
  • At 10:50 AM, April 25, 2010, Blogger JIBBS said…

    2 posts in the same day??

    Slow down, I can't keep up!!


  • At 11:05 PM, April 26, 2010, Blogger JIBBS said…

    All flippancy aside--

    this is one of your best works. It really encouraged me. (Actually it was a perfect compliment to Ligonier's "Tape of the Month" message where Dr. Sproul talks about what it means to "gird the loins of your mind".

    Forgot to tell you earlier.

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