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*** Bible Trivia ***

Re: the Devil made me do it?

    "Now the serpent was more cunning than any living thing of the field which Jehovah God had made. And he said to the woman, Has God indeed said....?" "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate..." (Gen3:1,6)

    "However, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and will he not curse You to Your face!" and after all the calamities had been done against Job, he says: "Naked I have come from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there. Jehovah has given, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed is the name of Jehovah. In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with folly" (Job1:11,21-22)

    "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are experienced by your brethren in the world." (1Pet5:8-9)

    "Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted by God; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lusts and enticed. Then, when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death. Do not be led astray, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of Lights, with whom there is no change or shadow of turning." (Ja1:13-17)

In opening with these Scriptures, like this, I expect we haven't started this topic very CLEVERLY, have we. To lay down the false concepts first, to make the reader spin the concepts around in their mind, thinking there could be some validity to this often popularly-held belief; to then tear it apart. But why should we do so? It is false. And why waste time on the false?

Indeed, satan is a powerful being. Angels are "greater in power and might" (2Pet2:11) And many people are terribly 'afraid' of them. The fallen ones are the beings of so-called "horror-flicks", where the hero 'vanquishes' them with a cross, golden spike, a KJV-Bible with the symbol of the (pagan) cross on its cover, incanting words from the KJ-Bible. But then, others 'raise up' the spirits with KJV incantations, too. So who/what is it that has the power over whom/what? Many are afraid of "haunted" houses, or of spirits of the (alleged) dead. All these things spawn shows such as Angel, Charmed, Ghost Whisperer, Friday the 13th; and I expect a whole lot I've not heard of, and quite frankly don't care that I ever do.

There is really only one way that satan (and his demons) can 'make' a person do things... and that is, if that person is demon-possessed. If when the spirits come around and find the "house" empty, they go in, and Jesus says of such a person: "the last state of that man is worse than the first" (Mt12:45) And when a person is thusly demon-possessed, it will manifest itself in such things as being "thrown into the fire" or "water" for destruction, and sometimes will convulse a person to make them appear to be dead. (Mk9:20-27)

Today's charismania is a false-christian manifestation of precisely these things. They babble, are thrown across the room, and fall down "slain". And truly, if a person has engaged in "worship" and opened up themself to become "spirit-filled", then indeed, the devil -can- "make" them do these things, over which they have no self-control. But it is not true Biblical [C]hristianity. It is satan's deception through his "false apostles" (2Co11:13)

For a true Believer, the "spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets" (1Co14:32) This right here lets us know that even God's Holy Spirit is a "gentleman", and will not -force- a person to do anything against their will.

Notice that when Eve disobeyed God, the passage does not say that the serpent put her in a head-lock with her arm twisted up behind her, 'forcing' her to eat, "or else". It says that -she- 'saw' all that was -desirable-; she 'wanted' to do what she did; and she did it. The serpent only -talked- and reasoned with her, lying to her. He is, after all, the "father" of lies. (Jn8:44)

On the other hand, satan was given carte blanche with Job: "all that he has is in your hand" (Job1:12) Just don't touch him, personally. He loses everything, and does not sin. So satan asks for more latitude, and God gives permission: "but keep his soul alive" (2:6), don't kill him. And even though satan now has Job's arm 'twisted' up behind him (so-to-speak), to within an inch of his life: "in all this Job did not sin with his lips" (vs10)

When a person sins, they often -joke- that "the devil made me do it".

Well, no. They sinned because they -wanted- to sin. The very fact that they are -laughing- and making a joke out of it 'proves' their heart attitude about it. In their minds the sin wasn't all that much of a "big deal". And if they were in a similar situation again, they would likely sin again, and think nothing of it.

During the days of Noah it says about man that "every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all day long" (Gen6:5) And today we are living in a time -like- "the days of Noah". (Mt24:37) Presently I am self-employed; but in the past I have worked at jobs alongside fellow-employees and been within hearing of many different conversations. I have worked in places where when people talk, every-other-word was a sexually explicit cuss word. When they talk about things, the topic of conversation will likely-as-not be about past sexual escapades, or the desire for future such activities. As we have noted in other contexts, pretty much -everything- in the world is done or promoted with sex. Not the intimacy of husband and wife; but of bar-hopping party-ers. Not marriage, but adultery and fornication.

Sex is just one kind of sin. And people are lying, cheating, stealing, murdering, and all sorts of things...not because the devil is -making- them do it, but because they are full of -SELF-. Self-absorption, self-centeredness, pride, etc. It is of such epidemic proportions that society has changed the labels, to "call evil good". (Is5:20) It is now called "self-esteem", and if a person is lacking it, they are given counseling to get rid of the notions of anything being "sin". There is not such thing as "sin"; it is "environment"; rather than "children obey your parents" (Eph6:1), counseling tells a person that their feelings of shame are their parents's fault; rather than "not departing" from parental admonition, people are rejecting their parental rearings. (Pr22:6) If a person feels any shame in their heart...likely because their conscience is "accusing" them due to their sin (Rom2:15)...the world quickly rushes in and counsels them to "feel good about themselves" and to nurture their "self-esteem".

No...satan is given a lot of credit where credit is not due. Certainly he is given latitude to entice and devour; but that is only allowed him by God. He cannot go beyond whatever limits God sets upon him; as we note from Job. And if he wants to tempt somebody, he must ask permission, as he did with Peter. (Lk22:31)

But when he comes around, how do we deal with him?

"Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (Ja4:7)

And how do we resist? Do we kneel in prayer, taunting him, telling him how much authority we have over him, and that we are "gonna get" him? I have been in so-called 'prayer' meetings where so-called 'christian' leaders verbally lashed out at satan, telling him, essentially, that he was wrapped around their little fingers, and that he had to bow to them. Speaking of things "they do not know" (Ju1:10) rather than understanding that he is under God's authority, such that even Michael the archangel would not taunt him but said, "The Lord rebuke you" (vs9)

But if we are told that "he will flee", how do we "resist" him? When Jesus was casting out demons, he did not spend hours, like some exorcism practitioners are shown doing....carrying on 'arguments' with the demons, but sent them on their way "with a word" (Mt8:16), "Go" (vs32)

When Jesus was being temped He tells satan, "Go away, Satan!" (Mt4:10)

And it says, "Then the devil left Him" (vs11)

For a person who truly desires to serve the Lord, that is all we need to do. When satan's enticements come around, JUST SAY "NO!" This is what they are telling today's youth regarding drugs and such things, "Just say, No!"

But sometimes a person will need to -repeat- the "No!" Because satan's messengers don't take "No". Like the girl saying "No!" to the fellow trying to have his way with her....he says, "Awe, c'mon, don't you love me? I know you do." Or when the girl is coming on to the guy, as enticing as that bared flesh is, he must TURN AWAY, and... "NO!"

I experience this in business. There are times a customer wants some signage to support their rock band, yoga, massage business, or whatever; things where I have drawn lines for myself. There are times where it seems their demons already know I am going to be turning them away before they ever get started....so they come all in a 'panic', pushy and with an attitude of 'insistance'...even before I know who/what they are. And sometimes when I have rejected some project, rather than accepting it, will remain at the counter, trying to engage me in conversation over the matter, and ultimately I often find myself needing to simply turn around, turn my back to them, and go back to whatever work it was that I was doing when they walked in. Sometimes they will continue trying to get my attention...and I must remain steadfast, often for several minutes of them talking...before they finally get it through their heads that I mean business, and will not budge.

I never quite understand these attitudes. If I was a customer someplace and was being "treated" the way I reject these people, I wouldn't even -want- to do business with such a proprietor...I would look for somebody more 'responsive' to my needs. Which, in a way, to my heart 'confirms' the spiritual forces at work in these specific incidents. It is not the -person- who is being pushy, but the demonic spirits -behind- them; trying to get me to compromise. In those situations, those people are not so much 'customers', as they are 'taunts' from satan as his messengers.

Most people, after a couple of pushes, not wanting to "offend'...'cave' to the enticement. Or in many cases, like we've already noted, most people who sin -want- to sin. Satan's doesn't need to do very much enticing.

The real underlying foundation to this discussion is: WHOM DO WE LOVE?

How do we stay away from sin and satan's enticements? "Do not love the world or the things of the world." (1Jn2:15a)

How do we keep God's commandments? When we love Him. (Jn14:21)

"For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome." (1Jn5:3)

Doing God's will is not at all difficult. In Eden, Adam and Eve had full run of the place. God had told them to "have dominion" over the earth. (Gen1:28) In other words, in terms of the earth, MAN IS BOSS. He is in charge. And the few laws God has given are nothing -really- all that difficult. They have to do with the concept of "you shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Le19:18) and to treat others as you would be treated by them. (Lk6:31) His commands are "not burdensome"

Now, if we, instead, love the things of sin the way the world has become, in its rebellion against God, then "the love of the Father is not in him" (1Jn2:15b) And in that context, if we behave like the world, we are not so much being -forced- by satan to behave that way, but we have opted to be -against- God; so we are in satan's turf, behaving as satan's subjects do.

But how do we "overcome evil"? (1Jn2:14b) How do we become "strong" in the Lord? When "the Word of God abides in you".

How do we resist satan, such that he flees? The same way Jesus did; with the Word of God, "It is written" (Mt4:4,7,10)

How does a young man "cleanse his way"? "By taking heed according to Your Word" (Ps119:9)

God's Word is "not too difficult for you to understand, nor is it far off" It is not because the Bible is in KJ-eze that I "-just- CAN'T 'understand' it", or any other such excuse; people don't even obey their (easy-to-understand) perversions! And it is not beyond the far-reaches of the universe, beyond our grasp; nor is it in the depths of the sea requiring difficult access.

"...the Word is very near you, in your mouth and IN YOUR HEART, that you may DO IT" (De30:11-14)


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