Jessie Penn Lewis was an author that wrote a book over 200 years ago called “War on the Saints”. She observed that “those most likely to be deceived in the last days would be those who were the most hungry for God”. How better to deceive and destroy the saints of God than to bait them with the things they want the most.
Love, justice, happiness, being good, getting rid of my sin and the presence of God are all near the top of the list of things desired by believers. (Even unsaved people want these things. Go figure? Maybe we were not created as depraved as we were taught to believe, after all!) These are the same things that top the Devil’s list of most useful and effective tricks in deceiving the people of God into believing the lie. He baits the hook with a counterfeit and gets us to bit into the lie, using the hook of destruction to bring us into bondage.
And what sweet success the Enemy has had in substituting feelings and the desire to experience the presence of God for the infallibility of the Word and faith in His faithfulness. Spiritual absolutes are considered old-fashioned and out-dated. This modern generation requires a sign, which, according to Jesus, identifies them as wicked. “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” (Mt. 12:39). “For false christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” (Mt. 24:24).
Christ calls those who seek a sign “wicked”. They are unwilling to receive the Word of God or take the Testimony of Christ Himself at face value. They need additional proof, gems falling from heaven, feathers floating in their meetings, signs and wonders dished up by who? – God? Who considers the need for signs and wonders to be the mark of wickedness? Or the Devil, who delights in the opportunity to deceive us with these special signs and wonders. Served up by the dimi-gods from Hell, whose only agenda is to separate us from our Father, these supernatural signs and wonders are used to create doubt and bind those who seek them with even more deception.
The Devil, whose glory is proclaimed through all the Halloween festivities success rate in capturing the hearts and souls of naive and unsuspecting believers is phenomenal. All of which in not surprising. The rise in sign seekers, as well as signs sought is actually a sign in itself, of the end of the age and the Second coming of Christ.
But what is the point of needing a sign or the manifestation of the supernatural if I already believe in the Word of God? Do I need more proof that He is Who He says He is, or more confirmation that He keeps His Word?
One of the wonders of the last days would be wondering whose really who and who is just impersonating the Spirit of God. The cross-pollination of the church with the world has succeeded in the crafting of a look-a-like lie for every truth God has. There will be false prophets, antichirsts, false miracles, psychic healings, counterfeit signs, and angel of light floating in and out of everywhere to convince Believers to believe…not in the true, holy, pure and majestic word of God, but in the Self and its infatuation with itself. Magic and mirages and mystical encounters satisfy the hunger and curb the appetite for the supernatural in the natural man.
But what is wrong with wanting “more of God?” Who can find fault with one who would want more of God or His justice or His presence? Who would suspect anything so “praiseworthy” as experiencing more fully, the presence of God, to be a trick or a trap? Ask the Serpent who used Eve’s very desire for God to beguile her into sinning against God. Ask Eve, who saw the forbidden tree as “desirable to make one wise”, (Gen. 3:6). Ask Saul, who chose to give God more than what He wanted in saving back the Amalekite’s sheep to sacrifice as an offering to God. (I Sam. 15:9-11).
Ask those who burned the spell books out of which they practiced “magic” to renounce the hidden works of darkness what it took to be free. It takes cutting ties of having a fascination with the supernatural. It takes setting your face like a flint, like the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace saying, and declaring, whether He delivers us or not, we will not bow down to the worship the gods of the heathens.
It means taking a step or two back from searching for what seems good or feels good, to stand or sit or sing in prison, like Paul and Silas, no matter what it seems like or how you feel. It means doing what is right and truth-worthy thing no matter what you’ve experienced or how you were wronged or what other people will think.
It means dying to the expectations of the soul and letting the Holy Spirit captain your life. It means being skillful in the knowledge of the Word and rightly dividing it in every situation. The banker does not train the tellers to recognize the counterfeit, but to know the real. Study the real Word of God and see how closely the version of the gospel you are looking at lines up with the true Gospel. Paul said if anyone, even he himself, came preaching any other gospel than the One he had given them, “let him be accursed”. (Gal. 1:8). The Word of God is the real and the standard with which all other words or signs or gospels are to be judged, not our interpretation or personal preference of that Word.
Look into the Word of God as you would look into the mirror and let it show you the truth. That truth will register in and with your spirit as the “Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit, that we are Children of God.” (Rom.8:16). “…let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance, the race that is set before us looking unto Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith…” (Heb. 12:1-2).
And finally, let us be resolved “that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ- (Eph. 4:14-15).