Seduction toward evil and away from God has been prevalent throughout history ever since the fall of humankind. The fact that we see all kinds of seduction resulting in leadership scandals in the body of Christ today should not be surprising—the enemy targets the most influential among us so he can destroy the faith of the most amount of people (Zech. 13:7).
The enemy of our souls utilizes this more than any other method to get believers and churches off track. The following are 10 forms of seduction Scripture warns us against:
1. Seduction away from the simplicity of the gospel.
I am amazed at how quickly Satan was able to muster up false apostles, teachers and distorted versions of the Gospels in the first-century church! Consequently, Paul warned the Corinthian church that the devil was attempting to allure them away from a pure, sincere devotion to Christ (2 Cor. 11:1-6). Even now we see distortions of the gospel with the pervasiveness of hyper-grace preaching, espousing an antinomian heresy that there is no law or standards in the New Testament—to the point where believers are told they never have to confess sin post-conversion, a clear violation of 1 John 1:8-10.
2. Seduction through a doctrine of demons.
The apostle Paul warned Timothy to be aware of the seducing (deceiving) spirits and teaching (doctrine) of demons (1 Tim. 4:1-2). John the apostle even warned against the infiltration of the spirit of the Antichrist, which came in the form of Gnosticism that denied that Jesus came in the flesh (1 John 4:1-4).
There are many false religions in the world created by the teaching of demons; however, the writers of the New Testament are more concerned with unbiblical teachings surfacing within the church more than those outside the church.
3. Seduction away from the will of God
In spite of the fact that Eve walked with God in the Garden of Eden, she was deceived by the words of the serpent into thinking God was holding back His best from her (Gen. 3:1-8, 1 Tim. 2:14). Truly, this narrative teaches us not to allow any voice to be greater in our life than the voice and Word of God!
4. Seduction through beauty
Paul said that Adam was not deceived by Satan when he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (1 Tim. 2:14). This amazing passage teaches us that Adam willfully disobeyed the awesome God he fellowshipped with in the Garden of Eden. The reason he turned away from God was the allure and seduction of the beauty of his wife Eve! Furthermore, we see that the beauty of women in those days was so great that even many heavenly beings (sons of God) left their holy position in God's kingdom (Jude 6, 2 Pet. 2:4) to be intimate with the daughters of men (Gen. 6:1-4).
I find both narratives above to be profound because in both instances (Adam and the sons of God), we see beings who walked personally with God in a sinless ecosystem who were able to be seduced by the beauty of women. Of course, who can forget the sad accounts of Samson (who allowed the beauty of Delilah to cause him to divulge the secret of his power—see Judg. 16) and King David (who allowed the beauty of Bathsheba to cause him to commit adultery and murder her husband to cover up her pregnancy with him; see 2 Sam. 11). Truly this is why Lemuel wrote, "do not give your strength to women, nor your ways to that which destroys kings" (Prov. 31:3).
5. Seduction from the pseudoreligious person.
Scripture warns of being misled by a person using religion as a way of connecting and seducing their victims. Proverbs shares a narrative about a woman who seduces a naive young man who strayed near her house by claiming she was religious (she used their common faith to justify their companionship). Unfortunately, this young man did not realize he was exchanging his destiny and promise for one night of pleasure (see Prov. 7:6-27).
I have seen Satan take down many leaders who were seduced because they allowed themselves to be in proximity to a person they were sexually attracted to under the guise of ministry, prayer and private counseling. Consequently, the Bible doesn't teach believers to overcome lust by facing and conquering it—we overcome it by fleeing it, as Joseph did when Potiphar's wife tried to seduce him, and as Paul instructed Timothy (see Gen. 39 and 2 Tim. 2:22). Unfortunately, those who want to be seduced allow themselves to be put in situations and environments conducive to the lust of their flesh.
6. Seduction through the abuse of power.
Paul warned Timothy against those who are lovers of self and who utilize their position of power to creep into households and take advantage of weak women who are burdened with their own sins and led astray by their passions. Abusive leaders can easily figure out which people in a congregation or a company they are able to control and seduce (see 2 Tim. 3:1-6 and Mark 12:40).
The apostle Peter also warned against false teachers who exploit people with their false words (see 2 Pet. 2:3). Consequently, when a leader crosses the line, and desires and demands more than they should—or acts unbecomingly toward an individual—that's a sign of seduction.
7. Seduction through false prophets.
The apostle Peter warned the church against false prophets who use their gift to exploit others to gratify their own sensuality (2 Pet. 2:1-2). Jesus warned the church of Thyatira because they tolerated a woman prophetess who used her prophetic gift to seduce God's servants into practicing sexual immorality and to worship idols (see Rev. 2:18 -22).
Unfortunately, there are numerous prophets today who use their gift to impress people so they can get their money and also to sexually seduce their naive victims. Jesus said we will know false prophets by their fruits (see Gal. 5:22-24); not by their gift (Matt. 7:15-20).
8. Seduction through precocious power.
Paul instructed Timothy not to make a recent convert a church leader (elder) lest they become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil (1 Tim. 3:6). The fall of the devil is highlighted in Isaiah 14:12-14, in which he was enamored with his position of power, which caused him to be puffed up with pride and attempt to elevate himself above the throne of God. I have seen many people destroyed after they are given a position of authority. I have found that success tests a person's heart even more than failure. Truly, the proximity to power seduces and allures the dark, unredeemed places of the soul.
9. Seduction through false signs and wonders.
Scripture teaches us that God allows the evil one to manifest himself in the world through false signs and wonders so that those who do not love the truth will be seduced and misled by them (2 Thess. 2:9-12). Moses even warned the children of Israel not to follow a prophet who moves in signs and wonders if they present a message that causes people to stray from the one true God (Deut. 13:1-5).
Even demonic civil governments and tyrants have used false prophets who perform miracles in order to deceive those who dwell on the earth (Rev. 13:11-14). Consequently, signs and wonders should follow believers; believers should not follow signs and wonders if they do not want to be seduced (Mark 16:15-17).
10. The seduction of the good life.
There are many Christians who attempt to use God to prop up their self-centered lifestyle. Their primary goal is to live a life of comfort as consumers, and they are attracted to a gospel that appeals to their narcissistic tendencies of self-aggrandizement and actualization. They love it when people preach a "crossless" Christ, because they equate the gospel with fulfilling a contorted caricature of the American dream (one that is foreign to the intent of the original framers and founders of the USA) with their consumeristic view of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
This is in spite of the warning of Paul the apostle who said that those who live to be rich fall into temptation and into a snare along with many harmful desires that plunge them to ruin and destruction. "For the love of money is the root of all evil. While coveting after money, some have strayed from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (1 Tim. 6:10). Paul also charges the materially rich in this world not to put their hope in the uncertainty of riches but only in God who is the source of all of our riches and resources (6:17).
Unfortunately, the seduction of money and living the good life is so great that the rich young ruler chose money over following Jesus—to which Jesus said, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" (Mark 10:17-26). I have seen many Christians forsake living lives as disciples of Jesus once they started making a lot of money and had more options; however, I also have close, wealthy friends who are very sincere followers of Jesus and are not seduced by the love of money.
The purpose of this article is not only to warn the readers against being seduced, but to increase our discernment in regards to the methods and expressions of seduction used by Satan to destroy God's people.
Dr. Joseph Mattera is an internationally known author, interpreter of culture and activist/theologian whose mission is to influence leaders who influence nations. He is renowned for addressing current events through the lense of Scripture by applying biblical truths and offering cogent defenses to today's postmodern culture. He leads several organizations, including The United Coalition of Apostolic Leaders (uscal.us). He also has a blog on Charisma News called "The Pulse." To order one of his books or to subscribe to his weekly newsletter go to josephmattera.org.
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