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We can't have just knowledge about warfare to defeat Satan. We need the knowledge of God! Our only means of getting it is through an intense relationship with God through His Word.
You might be wondering, "Why do so many godly pastors fall to the seduction of Satan when they are constantly preparing sermons?" Let me tell you what I think.
I think many of them unknowingly fall into the trap of spending time in the Word almost entirely for message preparation. Satan desires the destruction of anyone who keeps his or her sword of the Spirit (the Word of God) sharpened by personal use.
He knows that weapon becomes dull once the believer's use of Scripture becomes mechanical. I believe that many of those in ministry who have fallen for seduction were so busy doing the work of God that they slipped away from pure intimacy with God.
We must remember that God doesn't want only to talk through us; He wants also to talk to us--intimately. When we cease letting God speak to us, it is only a matter of time before He will cease speaking through us.
Allow me to offer a word of caution on the other side of this issue. Yes, spiritual passion exceeding biblical knowledge is a definite weakness. But biblical knowledge without a heart passionately in love with Christ is terribly dangerous. If we are not given to godly passion, we will be tempted by counterfeits.
3. A lack of discernment. I am convinced that discernment is one of the most important criteria in the devoted believer's life to provide protection from seduction. Most victims of seduction have not had a history of particularly great discernment.
Glance at the following Scriptures and relate them to our subject matter:
"Rebuke a discerning man, and he will gain knowledge" (Prov. 19:25, NIV). Those who have discernment don't get defensive and start rationalizing when they're rebuked! Instead, they gain knowledge.
"This is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ" (Phil. 1:9-10).
After God broke my cycle of defeat, I began praying, "God, I can't do anything to change the past. I have been neither pure nor blameless, but would You enable me by the power of Your Word and through the filling of Your Holy Spirit to live every day of my remaining years in purity?"
To come anywhere close to my deep hope, I am going to need lots of discernment. Celebrate the fact that God honors the heartfelt petition for discernment and will graciously give it and more.
4. A lack of self-discernment. David, a man who fell into sin after godliness, wrote this very private prayer: "Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression" (Ps. 19:12-13).
In this particular verse, the Hebrew word translated "error" is shgiyah. According to the "Old Testament Lexical Aids" of the Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible (AMG Publishers), it means "error, transgression, sin committed inadvertently." It stands in contrast to the psalmist's petition for God to keep him also from willful sins.
We commit some sins willfully and presumptuously. We commit others inadvertently. The former flows from rebellion and the latter from error, ignorance and weakness.
Our weaknesses and areas of ignorance can quickly lead to sins committed inadvertently. However, Satan's seduction is purposeful and utterly intended for evil. Nothing about it is accidental or coincidental.
In the book of Proverbs, most of the seducers and seductresses were intentional in their actions. Most, but not all.
Could it be that some who are used as puppets for Satan's seductions have themselves been seduced? I think so. In fact, the seduced may become seducers if they fail to let God radically deal with them through and through.
One of our best defenses is to recognize where our own personal weak places are. We've got to replace our self-condemnation with self-discernment.
5. Exposure to or experience with false worship or depravity in the past. I am convinced that one reason the apostle Paul was so worried about the Corinthian church is that they had been exposed to so much false worship and depravity (see 2 Cor. 11:4). In addition, they were surrounded by ungodliness in their attempts to live godly lives.
Any level of exposure can open a door in the mind that Satan might decide to take for his advantage. I've heard people talk about finding pornographic magazines in their father's things when they were young. Such a discovery frequently has a huge effect on that life and gives Satan a trump card for later.
Experience can open an even wider door than exposure. As a child, I was not only exposed to things I shouldn't have been but also forced to experience some things no child should ever experience.
I tucked many of those memories as far down in my subconscious as possible. The problem was, Satan had stuffed them in his pocket for later.
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