The world has been haunted by illusions ever since the serpent successfully tempted Eve in the garden. Appearances can be deceiving and often are. That first forbidden fruit did not deliver what was promised. Instead of fulfillment, it brought fear. God-likeness turned out to be a hoax. Liberation was a lie. Anyone who underestimates the salesmanship skills of Satan becomes deadly prey.
The deceiver made his way into a perfect environment and convinced a pair in paradise that they could do better. Isn’t that His way? The word of God informs us of the ways to live a blessed life, and the devil persuades people that they can improve on it. Whether it is economics, morality or priorities; he challenges the Lord’s principles. Much of our culture has swallowed the bait and bitten into the distortion.
“Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness…(Matthew 6:33).” Jesus spoke of a Father who knows our most basic needs and will provide them, and that disciples should order their lives accordingly. Do not pointlessly fret about physical necessities but seek the more eternal ones. Yet, we are taught from early childhood to prioritize differently. Satan has flipped the script, and the world has fallen right in line. It is, after all, his domain (1 John 5:19).
The ways of the world are incredibly appealing. They have an allure that is hard to resist. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life generate an itch that they fail to scratch. They simply spread and infect other areas of our lives that will never be satisfied. Any fleshly contentment is only temporary. The word of God has warned us that there is but one way to a life that lasts (1 John 2:15-17). Misplaced pursuits are guaranteed to disappoint sooner or later.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart…(Matthew 22:36-37).” The devil, crafty fellow that he is, labels that as fanaticism. He does not mind if we play church on Sunday: just don’t get carried away with it. Monday through Saturday is his turf. Be sure to keep some distance between the sacred and the secular so that religion doesn’t influence the way we live or inform our decisions. God is okay as long as we keep Him in His place and don’t let Him out of the building.
The evidence is all around. The devil has done a masterful job of deception, and the fallout is clear to see. Violence plagues our culture. Immorality has virtually destroyed the home. The once-unthinkable has become common place. Sin parades through our streets. Our nation has joined the ranks of those who do not even know how to blush (Jeremiah 6:15). Our country needs Christians who behave like Christians now more than ever. Each of us has that opportunity and responsibility. Only one question remains: Will we?