NEW YORK - Whether being led by the Spirit or swayed by devil, you inevitably submit to being the partner willing to allow himself to be nudged in whichever direction your being encouraged to go in. It is like a dance, though from your perspective it seems improvised. In actuality, it is the gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) influence from a spiritual perspective in your mind and/or heart to go this way or that. When I first began to think of this concept for my most recent contribution to the “high standard” of blogging, I heard a song that I was fond of. The song, “Sway”, as sung by Dean Martin, and as I listened to the lyrics, it brought to mind the subtleness of the attacks of the enemy as well as the encouragements of the Holy Spirit. Oh, sure there are times, when it is clear the devil and his minions are behind the scenes pulling strings to stir us to sin, just as sure there are times when the Holy Spirit is speaking “Loud and Clear” in our lives, but for the purpose of this article, I am speaking of the gentle attacks that we don’t always see or maybe even mistake for the Holy Spirit’s nudging. My first point has specifically to do with the dangerous and deceptive influences of Satan and then finish off with the Holy Spirit and how He influences or encourages us. As always, my hope is to somehow glorify God in this and I hope and pray I don’t contradict Him. I encourage correction and edification in the reply section below. Furthermore, I thank you for reading this meager attempt at writing and expressing my thoughts on God.
When it comes to Satan , there are times when this former “angel of light” disguises himself as a still small voice, nudging you ever so gently as a lead in a dancing duo nudges his partner towards a certain move. It will at first seem harmless as you allow him to spin you one way and twist another. Feeling in step with the music of “your heart”, you give more and more control over to him, because he seems experienced and confident and if you allow yourself to submit to his gentle leading. He will make you look great to everyone who is watching. So you sway with him, let him have his way with you, gliding along in subtle nudging control over you.. and when the music stops, you are no longer where you thought you were and it may be too late to get back there. The Devil offers no real difficulties as he eases you comfortably and gently into position on the dance floor. You will hear how great you look and all eyes are on you and when faced with hard choices, you will put a hand up and write it off as unfair criticisms of your walk, unholy jealousy of your ministry… and then you’ll quickly slip back into the gentle prodding of this un-holy spirit as you twirl away your life, your salvation, your hope.
We know Satan was cast out for wanting to unseat God (Isaiah 14:12-15) and it destroyed him and cursed him for all time. It was his pride that was his downfall and ours as well. Pride of self is the greatest sin that begets all others. It puts our own selves first. It exalts us. This is what Satan did. This is why he was cast down and this was the sin that entered God’s perfect creation when Satan(in the form of the serpent) carefully choose his words to Eve (Genesis 3).The first attack of Satan on man was not an attack on the physical health or brought financial ruin. It encouraged feelings, good feelings. We sometimes encourage being led by our feelings when following God. Consider, that it is the commands or Word of God that leads our hearts correctly. We make God’s Word firm in our minds and it is that which guides us. It is that transformation in our mind that keeps us from being conformed to the world and so we know what is good and acceptable to God(Romans 12:2). Adam and Eve knew the command not to eat of the tree, but with just enough prodding, they gave themselves over to the leading of their hearts and forgot OR “reimagined” what God had said. The rest was history. It was only after the sin was committed that Adam and Eve even knew what they had done. They thought, misguided as they were, they weren’t doing anything wrong. Like that dancer applying just enough pressure in the hand to encourage his partner left or right, Satan had guided Eve into believing a half truth and by the time they realized this it was too late for them to do anything about it.
Among Satan’s many other titles, is the “father of lies” and “deceiver”. It seems if someone is going to be a liar and a deceiver, he must have someone to deceive or lie to. We must be on our guard in this respect. We know he sometimes disguises himself as an angel of light and he has and will continue to encourage a spirit of antichrist in the world. Whether political leaders or false religions that set up a “Jesus-type” figure, he is the ruler of this world and as such we MUST be mindful of what we latch onto and believe in the name of God.
So I ask you Christian, have we been deceived by Satan in some way? Is it at all possible that as we meet people along the way, talk to them, see them hurting, say nothing and move on, it is by the gentle nudging of this un-holy one? I don’t ask this question lightly, because I ask it of myself as well. Do we dance around the topic of Christ? Do we twirl away from an honest conversation about salvation by just “loving them with our actions” instead? Do we chalk it up to, I’m waiting, ”for the right time” or “until I know this person better”? You know as Christians, that without question we are to act out in loving, caring ways to people around us, even our enemies. But…. if that is all we do, do we fall short? There seems to be a “spirit” in the churches today that says,” don’t talk about sin, death, hell.” “It’s too harsh!” “We must show love!” Was Jesus being loving towards people when he talked to them about sin death and hell (of which there are numerous references)? Of course! He wanted no one to go to eternal torment. It wasn’t meant for us. If we are his examples we must speak of these things as well. Right attitude is needed of course, but speak nonetheless. I am not advocating the old style “turn or burn” preaching that scares people to…um, well you know! But there should be an honest conversation about God and all of His attributes, including justice and what that means for someone unwilling to repent. Telling people that God is love (which He is) and leaving out all His other attributes is similar to telling a half truth about God. His love is perfectly demonstrated on the cross when Jesus died so those that place their trust in him and repent from sin won’t go to Hell! God did this right from the get go when he set Adam in the garden. He gave him a place (Eden) a purpose (to work and keep the garden) and provision (food all around him in the garden). One tree he said not to eat of or he would surely die(Genesis 2). He tells us the same thing today. Trust that if I place you in Christ, you will be taken care of. I will be your provision for all things. But if you want to do it on your own, apart from Me, it’s your choice, but there are consequences and they all eventually lead to death!
It truly seems as if the great deceiver, in the “spirit of tolerance” has quietly and delicately encouraged us to hold our tongues. With a few more moves, we (as in some churches) begin to wonder what is really a sin these days? Is “this” or “that”, that bad? With another twirl in his arms, we wonder if maybe God has made other ways to heaven or maybe the plan laid forth in the bible is really a bigger all-encompassing plan that says all will be saved, no matter what they believe. The farther we go down that path, the less we need to tell people about God and Jesus. One last dip as the song comes to a close, we think if everyone is saved no matter what we do, then I can just live my life as I please and not worry about the consequences.
This was a very specific example, but we allow the devil to snare us with scripture in many ways. Taking scripture out of context and applying it to wealth and health, divorce and marriage, and how we treat our children and treat those that don’t believe. We are losing the simplicity of Christ’s message of Salvation. Christ was about getting us to God and serving Him willingly with our lives. If we get any of those blessings on top of that, praise God and use it for His will! The little lies twirling around make Christ secondary and the other things primary. Those lies that Satan tries to (and at times succeeds) infiltrate the church with, eases us into our seats and does not encourage us to live a selfless life, unlike the Holy Spirit, which encourages us(Even to Death).
The encouragement of the Holy Spirit is what we need. But how? Simply put, we Worship God in both Spirit and in Truth. We are called to study ourselves to show ourselves approved. People might say when misinterpreting that they heard from the spirit, but many times this is a subjective experience based more upon what they are going through and not on what the word of God actually says. We know the devil can use God’s word and turn them around so that it is more about us then what God wants from us. Studying the Word of God is about knowing the voice of God in the context of what he wrote and what it meant at that time. The Holy Spirit confirms these truths and strengthens us not just to believe in them but to walk them out in grace. This may be a poor analogy, but in keeping with the dance theme, knowing the Bible helps us know that when the Holy Spirit nudges us in a direction it is in keeping with the word and not contradicting. We know the “moves” before they are made. We are practiced and though we may stumble in execution at times, we can quickly pick up the next move because we know what it is. They may be times we are apprehensive about a move, but trusting the Holy Spirit we allow ourselves to follow through with it, such as speaking to someone about Jesus and entering a mission field or ministry. In those instances, we trust the Holy Spirit as it guides us in truth more than our own feeling and concerns. If we are “sure in our spirit” it is because the Holy Spirit is guiding us in truth which is the Word.
So as we dance this dance, let us be aware of the moves (by the Word of God), so that when we are nudged in a direction we will know if it is the Holy Spirit leading us in a proper understanding or the devil twisting it to his benefit and our pride!I pray that the words here have been of some encouragement and encourage correction and discussion.