Works of the Devil

When we observe inconsistencies between our rational minds and our emotions we discover our subconscious: underlying beliefs controlling us which are contrary to our intellect. What we actually believe and who we are is a composite of all these beliefs, and it’s a bit mysterious.

Many fight intense negative emotion, fear and anxiety, when they’re in no danger; others, a critical voice relentlessly discouraging and crippling them; still others wrestle with a debilitating sense of shame and worthlessness they can’t shake off. We all have spiritual wounds keeping us from functioning according to God’s design.

A girl, having done her best, hears, “Why don’t you do better? You’ll never amount to anything!” Satan whispers, “Something’s wrong with you; you’re unloved, worthless, unimportant, unnecessary.” As an adult she’s working herself to the bone serving others, but she’s constantly anxious, restless, no satisfaction or peace.

A boy is sexually violated and hears the insidious whisper, “If God loved you He wouldn’t have let this happen to you; you’re dirty, flawed, worthless.” As an adult he’s filled with fear and shame, hiding in rebellion and perversion.

We might frame all of this up in terms of lies and truth: when we’re acting inconsistently with reality we’re believing a lie. We might call the resulting damage to our souls works of the devil, the consequence of believing Satan’s lies about our lived experience (Jn 8:44b), and see Jesus Christ, the Truth (Jn 14:6), as our Deliverer: He destroys the works of the devil. (1Jn 3:8b)

The Passion of the Christ

Whenever we experience trauma, Satan is at hand to feed us the lie: “God isn’t good; you’re the problem.” But it’s just a lie, and there’s no reason to believe it. Yet we do tend to believe it, and this is the problem.

These lies are often buried so deeply within our subconscious we don’t even know what’s happened to us, or where to begin in dealing with them. So, how do we get free? (Ro 7:24)

We get into spiritual bondage in stages, gradually, starting in childhood and believing more and more lies as we go through life. So, it should come as no surprise that we generally get free the same way, over time, in many small steps, believing more and more truth (Jn 8:32) as we pursue God (Mt 7:7-8) and He teaches us His Way. (1Jn 2:27)

The only path to freedom is going back the way we came: realigning our mind with reality, believing differently; it’s called repentance, and it’s the gift of God. (2Ti 2:25-26)

Freedom comes as we internalize three primal truths: [1] God is good; [2] God is sovereign; and [3] He created each of us for a unique purpose. Like a three-legged stool, remove any of these fundamental principles and we have an unstable foundation.

We must know deep down that God loves us and that He’s ultimately benevolent towards us. (Ps 27:13) We must also know He’s in charge of everything: nothing ever happens without His permission. (Ro 11:36) And we must be confident that He has a unique design and purpose in creating us (Re 2:17b), and that all He has ever allowed to happen to us, or ever will allow, is ultimately for good. (Ro 8:28)

God calls us to pursue His purpose for us (2Ti 2:17), and He will help us as we turn to Him and follow after Him. (He 4:16)

The more deeply we know these things the more we align with reality and deliver ourselves from Satan’s devices.

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Speak Truth

Being able to take someone at their word is the foundation of every healthy relationship; believing we’re each speaking the truth enables us to understand and trust each other. Without this, no working relationship is even possible. Lying thus strikes at the very heart of friendship, and even of civilization itself.

Jordan Peterson challenges us to try to stop lying for 30 days, just to see what happens. Perhaps it’s striking … that we’re so accustomed to lying we need to be dared to stop; but it shouldn’t be a surprise – this is the default human condition. (Jn 3:19) But it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try; God can help us choose truthful speech as a pattern of life. (Ps 119:29)

Lying doesn’t just harm friendships and society, it rewires our own brains, distorting our very own nervous systems such that we can no longer properly orient ourselves in the world and recognize reality as it is. (Pr 1:28)

Deception is aligning our very own behavior contrary to the way we ourselves perceive reality, which signals our brains and bodies that reality isn’t what our senses are telling us; this actually corrupts and fractures our own ability to accurately perceive reality. (Pr 5:22) We deceive ourselves when we don’t act out the truth we already know (Ja 1:22), and self-imposed deception is the most dreadful kind of deception. (Mt 6:23)

Yet just because something’s true doesn’t necessarily mean we should volunteer it in conversation with others (Ep 4:15); there are dimensions of truth that others are not ready to hear. (Jn 16:12) Spewing truth with the wrong motive can be very destructive (Pr 12:18a); we must carefully consider whether our speech will tend to the general health and well-being of both ourselves and others (18b), and only speak in love. (Ep 4:15)

The real challenge comes when we feel pressed to speak truth that’s harmful or destructive. We might think we have no choice but to lie or let the truth do its harm, yet violating the law of Love isn’t an option (Ep 5:2); if our words won’t edify and help the overall situation, they’re forbidden. (Ep 4:29) Rather than letting others dictate our choices, we’re obligated in such cases to wisely re-focus the conversation on what’s truly edifying.

Consider the example of Christ, when those He’d miraculously fed were trying to forcibly make Him king. (Jn 6:15) After He evaded them by walking across a lake at night (18-19), they sought after Him and caught up with Him (24), asking how He’d managed to slip away. (25) Rather than telling them about the miracle, or offering them a little white lie in its place, Christ turned the attention on their true need. (26-27)

We’re made in the image of God as co-creators in eternity, and it’s primarily through our speech that we create. Whenever we open our mouths to speak, we fashion metaphysical reality from the void before us, bringing an eternal work into being which shall ultimately be on display before the entire universe for inspection and evaluation (Lk 12:3): we’ll give an account to God for every idle word we utter. (Mt 12:36) Let all the reality we create be true and right and good, for it’s by our words that we’ll either be justified or condemned. (37)

Speak truth to everyone, all the time (Ep 4:25), yet only speak prayerfully, as Christ Himself would speak (Col 3:17), seeking God for the ability to glorify Him and edify others. (Col 4:6) It’s wisdom to know when to speak and when to keep quiet (Ec 3:7), and as a rule, less is better. (Pr 10:19) As we speak, let’s remember the power of words (Pr 18:21), and speak appropriately. (Pr 15:23) While some truth cannot be spoken in love (1Co 3:2), there’s never a good time to lie. (Ps 119:163)

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Corrupt Communication

Of the abundance of our hearts we speak, whether for good or evil (Lk 6:45), so taming our tongues is taming our hearts, which is no small thing. (Ja 3:8)

Yet we’re commanded to let no corrupt communication proceed out of our mouths, only that which is edifying, ministering grace. (Ep 4:29)

Pure communication is more than just telling the truth; it’s speaking truth in love – for the benefit of both ourselves and others. (Ep 4:15) It’s refusing to demean others, or ourselves, or to posture or manipulate or control, or even simply to please and entertain. (Ga 1:10)

When we speak inauthentically, falsely, we re-wire our own spirits and minds, diminishing our character and weakening our inner man (Jon 2:8), corrupting our spiritual, mental and emotional constitution. (Pr 5:22) It’s then easier to speak more lies (2Ti 3:13), continuing to blur our own perception of reality (Ep 4:18), until we’re blind and numb (1Ti 4:2), having no clue where we are. (Pr 4:19)

As JEHOVAH God spoke Jesus Christ, the Logos, the divine Word (Jn 1:1), Truth itself (Jn 14:6), to bring the universe into existence out of nothing (Col 1:16), we also, made in the image of God, continually transform the chaotic potential before us into a present reality, both for ourselves and others. (Pr 18:21)

When we speak the truth in love, carefully articulating reality as well as we can, we create the most beneficial order out of the chaos, and transform the potential of the future into the best reality that we can. When we choose anything less, though arrogance or carelessness, we use this incredible, supernaturally empowered capability (Ja 3:6) to create something twisted, broken, corrupt. Whatever we do thus create with our words is etched into the very fabric of history itself (Re 20:12), indelibly and permanently for all to consider (Lk 8:17): it can never be undone.

Let’s be asking God to make us observant, aware of our speech, and any corruption in our words (Ps 119:29), which weakens and pollutes our souls, harming ourselves and those about us. Let’s weigh our words, measuring them, testing them (Job 12:11), fashioning them with purpose and deliberation and dignity. (Ec 5:2)

Let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly in all wisdom (Col 3:16), permeating our spirits, so that our speech will be Him living through us, speaking spirit and life anew by us (Jn 6:63), creating new reality with Him as we go, word by word; we will give account for every single one of them (Mt 12:36), and they will either justify or condemn us. (Mt 12:37)

Let the words of our mouths, and the meditations of our hearts, be acceptable in God’s sight, our Strength and our Redeemer. (Ps 19:14)

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Taken Captive

The very idea of being held prisoner is intimidating, but there’s a certain kind of prison we enter voluntarily and lock from the inside, then we throw away the key.

We all find ourselves in this prison at some point, not realizing what we’re doing until it’s too late. (Ep 2:2) It’s a prison of the mind, a bondage of the will. (Jn 8:34)

It starts with deception: we hear a lie that makes us feel good and we’re in, not really caring if it’s true, or even how to tell for sure. The lies spawn unhealthy desires; lust leads to disobedience, and sin eventually enslaves and destroys. (Ja 1:14-15) This is how the enemy takes us captive (2Ti 2:25-26), and he’s very good at it.

We’re each in a fight, a war for our own soul (Ep 6:12), and there’s only one way to overcome: find the truth and live in it. (Jn 8:32) It’s called repentance.

We can be sorry for our sin all day long, sorry we’re suffering, that we’re exposed, but this won’t release us from prison. Repentance is changing our mind, thinking differently, rejecting the lie and believing the truth.

It’s not about what we’ve been taught; it’s about what’s true. It’s not about what makes us feel good; it’s about what’s true. It’s not about convenience or inconvenience, or what works or doesn’t, or what others think. Feel good won’t set us free; orthodoxy won’t set us free … if it isn’t true.

How do we know what’s true? God’s Word is truth. (Jn 17:17) If we aren’t prayerfully and earnestly searching the Word for ourselves, we don’t care about truth. (Ac 17:11)

Changing our mind isn’t as easy as it might seem; it’s not something we can do just any time we like. If we aren’t willing to obey the truth we’re deceiving ourselves, and we’ll miss the truth even as we stumble across it. (Ja 1:22) It’s called blindness, and it’s insidiously powerful. (2Co 4:4)

Repentance is the gift of God: He must open our eyes and help us see. (Ac 26:18) We can certainly ask Him to help us, and we should, earnestly (Ps 119:145-147), unwilling to take “No” for an answer (He 11:6), obeying all the truth we can, all along the way.

As God intervenes and helps us start believing Him, taking Him at His Word, it’s then that the enemy’s stranglehold on our minds and spirits begins to loosen, and we start turning from our sin, from violating God’s law. (1Jn 3:4) Here begins our journey out of prison, to becoming free indeed. (Jn 8:36)

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Oppositions of Science

One of the most important tools God gives us in our search for truth is the scientific method: observing natural events, looking for causal relationships by creating models or ideas about how and why things are the way they are, and testing these models rigorously to see if they adequately describe reality. He tells us that real science will never oppose His truth, since He’s the Author of it all, and that if we accept any kind of false science we err in our faith. (1Ti 6:20-21)

OrionNebula
Orion Nebula: César Blanco González

Yet too many of us are content to believe whatever we’re told, afraid to question and explore. It leaves us prone to error and superstition, and moves those who do intelligently explore our world to dismiss our witness of the rest of God’s truth and promote a false science.

False science is rooted in lies; it’s promoted by those who oppose the truth through bias and dishonesty, dismissing facts which don’t align with their view. Rather than considering all facts with integrity, the wicked blindly assert their view and deny the facts, only looking for explanations which suit their bias, no matter how ridiculous.

Freedom from false science is found only in the love of truth. (2Th 2:10) Whether challenging evolution (finding it void of scientific foundation), atheism, climate change, sexual perversion, or the shape of our Earth (it can’t be flat), we need to do our homework and be honest. We should always be ready to give a humble, informed, confident answer to anyone who asks us why we believe the way we do. (1Pe 3:15) It’s the only way to maintain a sound mind, and walk with God.

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