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The Battlefield Inside

An expert in the field of intelligence gathering spoke in an interview about psychological warfare. His specialty is communist China’s use of the media to influence the thinking of other countries. He said their goal is to cause you to think in such a way that you will of your own volition do what they want without being told to do it. He warned that they are masters of these tactics and that they work tirelessly to plant seeds of their ideology in unsuspecting minds.

Satan is the original and supreme master of mind games. No one can fool people like he deceives people. The first glimpse of him in the Bible shows how extremely cunning he is at leading people to sin and persuading them to think it is their idea. He didn’t begin by accusing God or contradicting God. He simply asked Eve a leading question: “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Gen. 3:1). The loaded term is “indeed” (“Yea” in the KJV, meaning truly or verily). The devil didn’t deny at first what God said. He asked whether God truly said and meant it. When he did tell her, “You will not surely die,” (Gen. 3:4), he gave her a reason: “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5). The devil didn’t tell her to eat from the tree. He just cast doubt into her mind and stirred rebellion in her heart. He led her to look at the issue from a different point of view. He was an advocate of diversity and it worked. Eve ate the fruit and gave it to her husband. She acted as if this were her idea, but she had been manipulated by the great deceiver.

One of the greatest mistakes we make is to underestimate the power of Satan’s propaganda. He is the god of this world who blinds the minds of unbelievers (II Cor. 4:4). He puts evil thoughts into men’s hearts (John 13:2), and then when they act on those thoughts, they think the idea is theirs. For instance, Jewish leaders in the New Testament thought they had a religious duty to crucify Jesus and kill Christians (Matt. 26:65-66; John 16:2). The devil was actually behind what they did (John 8:44; 14:30)! He uses subtil hints and asks seemingly innocent questions. He will even quote the Scriptures—out of context (Matt. 4:6). No one plays mind games better than the devil.

This is every Christian’s battle. It is an intense, life-long struggle. That is why we must arm ourselves every day. “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:14-17). This is God’s plan for winning this war.

Kerry

West End Church of Christ Bulletin for December 12, 2021

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