Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry


Each month it is our desire to write articles that will hit the mark. Our goal is to
cause people to arrive at the bottom line as to what is in order to make sure that they
end up with a right perspective: a Biblical perspective, an eternal perspective (Isaiah
55:8-9). This is one of the reasons we know the importance of discipleship.

Discipleship is meant to cause people to connect the dots of truth with godly
principles in order to effectively walk out the Christian life among the many traps that
can easily enough ensnare them. The disciplines of the Christian way of living brings
people into the truth about God and His ways. The way discipleship does this is that it
creates a realistic understanding based on the whole counsel of God’s Word as to who
God is, and paints a picture that to truly be a disciple of Christ is going to cost you as to
what is considered normalcy, while changing your preferences, exposing your agendas,
and testing your character. As you can see, attitudes must be changed in order to line
up the conduct according to what is counted as being righteous. In other words,
transforming the mind so it will not be conformed to this world. It will bring you down to
the bottom line that the Christian journey is not about gaining this present world and
getting the most out of it, while tacking some religion or idea of God onto activities;
rather, it is about gaining Christ and being prepared to inherit all of the promises of God
(Luke 14:25-33; Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:23-24; Philippians 3:7-14).

Jesus stated that before you can follow Him, you must deny your idea and
perception of life, where untested assumptions create silly ideas of how life is to be,
while crucifying presumptions that one has the means and abilities to bring about all
such notions. It is like taking a trip. Before modern technology that now does all the
calculations and gives directions, you got maps out and paid attention to signs. You
could not assume that your limited understanding of the terrain would accidentally get
you there, and you could not presume that you would see the signs in time to do what
was right. You couldn’t simply cruise to the place, you had to be willing to ever adjust to
any possible changes. In other words, you had to pay attention to every detail.

I have been watching how technology has indeed dulled us down to the matters of
life, especially the details. Let’s face it, most of us do not like details. Such details seem
petty, and yet they demand our attention and require a certain amount of patience to
wade through them. I don’t know about you, but reading manuals on the latest gadgets
often leave me confused and frustrated, and yet each time I try to skip the manuals or
feel inept when reading them, I end up back at the computer, googling the particular
subject so that I can get it to work properly or seeking out someone who actually knows
what they are doing.

I have to admit now that instructions are written in many languages, and they seem
cumbersome and complicated. I end up with more questions than answers. I long for
that simplicity that seemed to exist in the past when most things appeared to be cut and
dry when trying to put something together, and I often have to pull myself back from
either throwing the manual across the room or stomping on it out of sheer frustration.

We are told in 2 Corinthians 2:11 that we are not to be ignorant of Satan’s devices.
These devices are nothing more than well-designed traps that will catch your attention,
capture your affections, and take you emotionally on a roller-coaster ride that suddenly
ends in destruction. They will ultimately rob you of precious time, kill initiative, and
destroy any resolve to maintain sanity in a world that mocks quality instead of valuing it
and holding it up as an example of what is honorable. Sadly, the reason we fall into
traps is we fail to take note of those small details that represent caution, sound some
type of alarm, or are slight impressions that something is not adding up.

There are many traps in this world. They have been designed to take the edge
away from man as to his ability to properly evaluate a matter, and to wade through its
various details from testing the spirit to tasting the fruit in order to develop common
sense, experience, and wisdom. It devalues what is important in order to cause man to
pursue after that which will end up being nothing more than sand that flows through his
hands, or ashes that will be taken away with the winds. It upholds injustice in order to
cause man to despair in a state of hopelessness. It has taken the innocence away and
turned it into ugly realities that leave children not only feeling lost but questioning
everything about their make-up and what has been deemed sacred by God. It has taken
simplicity and muddied it with one complication after another, and stripped quality in
order to promote quantity that fills our garbage dumps with inept, useless articles that
cost money but proved to be cheaply made and worthless in the end. It has mocked
self-respect where honor is practiced by being responsible, fair, and reasonable, with
the promotion of self-esteem where the selfishness of man is put on an idolatrous
pedestal that expects everyone else to bow down to its insipid demands, causing
conflict, division, and defeat, for a house divided against itself will not stand (Matthew

This is the world we live in and it is all by design that leads us back to the god of this
age, Satan. The Bible clearly identifies Satan’s different devices; the biggest one being
lies. Everything that is promoted by the kingdom of darkness is propped up by lies,
empty promises, and false ways that seem so right to the logical, carnal mind but lead
to destruction. The lies vary but they all come down to you having a right to be god of
your own destiny, and allowing you to partake of this present world’s poison without
experiencing any real consequences. Therefore, come and take, but there is a cost that
comes with such fleshly pleasures: It is your soul. There is the residue of a guilty
conscience that might haunt you like a bad dream, and there is a wage you will be
required to pay at the end of the ride, the circus, the carnival, or the game and that is
death (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25; John 8:44; 10:10; Roman 6:23; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4;
Hebrews 10:22-24).

An important device of Satan that comes in the form of many darts is temptations
(1 Corinthians 10:12-14; James 1:12-17; 3:13-18). Temptations ride on the shirttails of
many different elements such as wicked imaginations that can conjure up all kinds of
mischiefs and deviant ways and plans, the sin of pride, worldly attractions, and fleshly
affections (Genesis 6:5). Together, they weave a spiderweb of destruction.
Pride serves as an idolatrous door that can be opened by ambitions, competitions,
jealousies, and fear. Satan uses pride as a faulty foundation that has been established
on fragile egos or empty vanity that sets one up to fall into the traps, or uses it as a
merciless judge to bring guilt and condemnation.

Worldly attractions cause people to pursue after false promises of satisfaction and
happiness. They often end up operating in false realities that collide with reality, causing
disillusionment. Instead of letting go of the false reality, they convince themselves that
their reality is possible so they pursue what they think will surely bring it about, thereby,
making them happy and bringing purpose to their lives. However, it ends in
dissatisfaction and misery, because each pursuit proves empty and unfulfilling.

Fleshly affections are the affections taken captive by lusts. These lusts include
covetousness, riches, fame, and material possessions that will choke out the word of
God from having any real influence (Mark 4:18-19; Luke 12:15). These affections can
become obsessive as a person tries to secure whatever lust is driving them. Pride dares
a person to satisfy it on a false premise, attractions entice a person to pursue them and
affections drive people to possess that which they desire. Pride deludes so a person will
not see the destruction ahead, attractions end in destruction, and affections set a
person up for destruction.

The truth is God gives us a way out of every temptation. It requires faith towards
Him and believing His Word in relationship to the attitude we adopt and our response to
a matter. In other words, it comes down to personal choice. As believers, we are told
not to set our affections on the things of this world but on that which is heavenly. As to
the attractions of the world, we must flee their influence on us, recognizing they are a
trap. As far as pride is concerned, we must deny it any audience as we humble
ourselves, repent and become broken at its point of authority in our life in order to
overcome it (1 Corinthians 10:13; Colossians 3:1-2; Hebrews 11:6).

Another effective device is chaos. God is a God of order, but Satan creates chaos
to not only cause confusion, stress, uncertainty, and division but to provide a solution
that has an evil agenda behind it and leads to greater dependency on his systems (1
Corinthians 14:33). The more we become dependent on Satan and his systems, the
more oppressed we become. We are dulled down by a media that spews out wicked
propaganda, a profane Hollywood that has set out to destroy every core value from
marriage and family, to the sanity of life, along with governmental and religious
agencies and policies that promote the foulest of practices. Everything considered
sacred has been or is being trashed by these different entities. They create the chaos
so they can bring in a “solution” that gains greater control that leads to stifling bondage
of the people and a blatant rejection to all that is righteous.

The prevalent device that Satan uses is fear. God has not given us a spirit of fear,
but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). There is an array of fears that can
plague us. There is the fear of failure, rejection, ineptness, losing control, being wrong,
not making the grade, not fitting in, and the list could go on and on. Fear turns into
anxiety because something will not turn out right, worry because a person will not get
their way, and concern because being anxious and worrying is a sin. Ultimately, it can
lead to paranoia that will lead a person into the darkest of realities. However, when you
peek around each of these emotional roller coasters, you will find fear. Fear requires us
to cater and bow down to it, which is a form of worship and idolatry because at its core
is unbelief towards God.

Anything that ends in some type of emotional battle and oppression is a product of
Satan. It is easy to see that fear is a wonderful tactic to use in any arena. Most people
depend on what they know, see, and can do, while faith trusts in the unseen God
because of who He is, refuses to sweat because God is in control, or will not slide into a
puddle of worry because He is in control

Satan uses bullying techniques to bring fear. There is the bully who wants to make
you cower and agree to give them whatever they want in order to stop their taunting and
accusations. In the world of high finance, you have to play some sordid game to ensure
the climb up the ladder. In the systems of the world, you have to give your allegiance as
you sell your soul to the insane demands of despots, fools, and reprobates. When it
comes to religion, you must sacrifice the truth to be part of the latest popular movement.
No matter how you look at it, you are required to give up what is sacred, sell what is
precious, deny what you know is right, and reject what is true in order to get along with
the world.

Another device Satan effectively uses is ignorance. Ignorance towards God ends in
heresy, ignorance towards life ends in foolishness, ignorance towards religion ends in
superstition, ignorance about reality ends in denial and delusion, and to play ignorant
about a matter to avoid confronting it is a fool’s game. The Bible is clear God will not
wink at such ignorance because it is time man repents instead of hiding behind a cloak
of useless fig-leaves to hide the darkness of his soul (Acts 17:30-31).

God can and will deliver us from the traps of this age, but we must out of humility
seek Him in His holiness, stand by unfeigned faith, withstand with truth, and continue to
stand because nothing else makes sense except gaining Jesus Christ, the hope of glory
(Colossians 1:27).