If the adversary can’t get you to doubt doctrine especially when it comes to Eternal Security, did you honestly think he’ll stop right there? Of course not! If he had the audacity to attempt to bring down God in the flesh, most assuredly it would only be a matter of how and when he’ll strike the believer.
“When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.”
He seems to operate in 3 D’s and by this, I mean deception, diversion/distraction, and depression or maybe even all three at the same time.
Even theologians in training have fallen prey to this, how much more us layfolks? Bart Ehrman (“Errorman” would be a better fit for a surname), W. Paul Young and most recently and publicly, Dr. James White. Being that my husband is enthusiastic about theological debates, most often do I see him watch video clips of those who contend for the faith. However, all those times he would watch James White, I would always ask him how he could stand the guy because my spirit could not seem to stand him and was repulsed by his aura of arrogance. I made my sentiments known and my husband could attest to this. I have tried listening to the guy and undeniably, he knows his stuff. I remember asking someone here in WP particularly about how James White made it on their list of resources sometime last year and recently seeing comments from other believers regarding his arrogance was a confirmation there was something about that man. It’s not some hocus pocus stuff but something having to do with discerning of spirits.
Dr. James White finds himself to be Christlike and loving to Muslims by allowing a whole congregation sit and listen to an Imam preach about the false doctrine (one that denies the deity of Christ and His crucifixion), to hear the tenets of Islam and the Shahada (Muslim conversion prayer) unchallenged. This “Christian” apologist defends his compromise as “loving” while he spiritually endangered people who may not be grounded on the Word of God. Clearly, deception is inside the gates and what a great fall from someone who prides himself in defending Christianity. It is apparent that Christians ought to be guarded from a greater evil such as this. The scary part is that none of us is exempt and this is why we should cling to what we know to be Jesus’ teachings, the foundation (Matthew 7:24).
I have gained a considerable amount of weight more than what I am used to and having seen a presentation from Dr. Michael Brown, I am brought to a point where for the first time, I’ve had to question whether I am addicted to food. I don’t snack. I eat only 3 times a day but most recently, I tried this cereal called Golden Puffs and I saw myself desiring to eat it twice a day and my husband brought a good point about Dr. Brown citing that some food have additives that make it addictive as evidenced on tests conducted on rats. Definitely an eye opener here.
I seem to have forgotten my own experience during my younger years when I used to work at Starbucks. I was the pastry girl. I would sprint to work at 5:45 in the morning and stocked the pastry on the display besides being a Barista and a cashier. It was quite something to witness people line up so early just to get Starbucks coffee. I cannot forget when the shift manager jokingly referred to the customers as “Zombies.” Even I found myself getting addicted to Soy White Mocha that I literally went there during my days off just so I could buy the drink. I could have easily made coffee at home since they gave their workers an allowance of 1 coffee bag each week for free. When I realized I worked there only to spend my money at the same place (how bad is that), I had to stop. I had to go home one time because I got caffeine poisoning. I started getting dizzy and extremely sweaty while I was working after having their drink. My husband loves coffee and on a trip, he had Starbucks coffee for the very first time. His head was spinning. We don’t know what kind of additives manufacturers put in their products and so it calls for vigilance on our part. The minute we are confronted with something, we are to examine it.
Back to Dr. Brown’s health presentation, as I was watching I can’t deny the fact that it IS very encouraging especially for people who want to shed pounds like myself but I started to dwell on the fact that this man of God now goes to places and promotes his “Christian” health book as opposed to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. I see his zeal to be “diverted” to something secondary. I’m not saying that what this servant of Christ is doing is not edifying because Christians ought not to be gluttons and bogged down by ailments that can easily be prevented by staying away from unhealthy food but 1 Timothy 4:8 tells us, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” It is good for us to have fit physical bodies but even a person who jogs every single day can still die from a sudden heart attack or brain aneurysm. What becomes of his spiritual body especially when he is devoid of Jesus Christ?
Diversion comes in all forms. A Christian can still be doing something good but its main goal is to make the believer prioritize something that is meant to be secondary. Instead it can make someone so consumed about the physical and start to neglect the spiritual in which oftentimes I find myself being guilty of.
We can be depressed about all sorts of things, stress induced by looming deadlines, discouragement especially when we choose to dwell on our inadequacies and insecurities, dictates of the world and dictates from unseen spiritual forces and a host of other things which prevent us from sharing our blessed hope. There’s always someone out there in a far more worse predicament than ourselves and sometimes, when we keep our focus off ourselves and to someone else (countercultural here especially since we are living in a “Me, Myself and I” generation) whom God has placed in our lives to minister to, it is not a matter of being comforted upon knowing that someone else happens to have it much worse but there is joy to be had in knowing that even in our inadequacies and imperfections, God specifically chose you to minister to someone. This to me is comforting.
I have come to know God as one who nurses what looks like a hopeless, broken, chewed up plant back to vibrancy with expectation to produce something beautiful, fruit. I have learned this through how God has dealt with me and am still now learning this as I tend to my plants. I have seen one looking to be truly beyond hope and found myself telling the plant to “Defy the odds, little one.” There’s no odds with God, but His Spirit comforts us as He speaks through His Word or when He uses someone to minister to us through a pastor or someone you know or maybe even a kind word from a random stranger.
Whichever of the three you find yourself being buffeted with, fret not… The One in you is greater than all of this.
“Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
1 John 4:4
[Image Credit: carolinasnalc.org tweaked]