The Magician

belovedNathan, my little friend who’s 9, loves doing card tricks. His delight in watching my ‘amazement’ is better than the trick most of the time.  But, he manages to fool me often, finding that ace in the middle of the deck, producing that 8 of hearts that I mentally noted at the start of the trick! Even though I know it is impossible to make a jet disappear with a wave of a hand, I’m still captivated by those who entertain with ‘magic.’ Why do these tricks work?  Because we suspend our reason and are willing to let ourselves believe that it is possible to make a person float on air or move from one place on a stage to another invisibly.

Yes, we ‘know’ that they are not really defying natural law, but we let them distract, divert attention, and make us ‘forget’ that those magic containers are just boxes that have secret compartments. And, our distraction causes us to ‘’see” a lie as true! We want to think, somehow, that they have defied the limits of time, space, and gravity! That’s entertainment.

On this Monday morning, let me renew an old warning about a Beautiful Liar, the Devil, who is much like a magician. He invites us to believe what we know is not true, seducing us with a lie! “Oh, no, Jerry, I know that the approach of evil will be obvious. I’m sure I have enough discernment to hear the alarm bells that signal his deceit.”  In that you are mistaken.  In the Genesis story, Satan approaches Eve urging her to disobedience.  He promises “you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5, NIV) He made her forget the Truth that God had spoken, that she would certainly die in disobedience, that she would lose intimacy with her Creator, and that she would become subject to pain and suffering.

He is still lying. And, we can be tricked. Why? The Bible says that he “masquerades as an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14, NIV)
He makes selfishness appear sophisticated.
He recasts marital infidelity as a sure route to the happiness we crave.
He turns gifts of God into addictions when we worship them rather than the One who gave them to us.
He shines a shadow on the kind or loving person that causes us see them rather as “naïve” or “childish.”

If allowed, he will work his magic on sincere Christians. He hates those who love the Living God.

Sound scary? It need not be. There is a security for the Christian. Temptation can be defeated and more quickly than we might think. Part of his trick is to keep telling us the lie that we are powerless, that the attraction is irresistible. How many times have you avoided responsibility telling yourself that the ‘devil made me do it?’

We have a choice. He cannot compel us, does not control.  When we know God’s Truth, his whispered seductions that appeal to our base nature are stripped of their allure. If we live in Truth and are relentlessly authentic, temptation loses much of its luster.  His tricks, his smoke and mirrors become obvious under the bright Light of the Gospel of Christ. The human tragedy is summed up in these words: “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. …Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.” (Romans 1:25, 28, NIV) But, God did not abandon humanity in that hopeless condition! He intervened with the gift of His Son, showing us the Way back home, calling us to reject the beautiful liar.

Disciple, will you live in the Truth today?
Sometimes the Truth is brutally ugly, terribly crushing. Face it, confess it, speak it.
And always remember this crowning truth –
The One who knows you best, loves you most!

Memorize this amazing passage and tell temptation to take a hike when it seems overwhelming. “My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.” (1 John 2:1-2, NLT)

Will you pray for a discerning heart and mind that God, the Holy Spirit, offers to you?
Will you love the light of Christ?

Here’s a word from the Word. Own it as you read it. “The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.” (Romans 13:12-15, NLT)

I pray a beautiful week of grace for you.  CWTW will be sporadically sent this week as I will be visiting my grandchildren!
Thanks for reading along.

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