|December 6, 2018
The Slippery Slope
“… to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God …” Acts 26:18a (NIV)
Some of the most dangerous lies we listen to are the ones we tell ourselves.
If you’ve ever felt yourself being pulled into a forbidden but exciting situation, you may know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s the script you can end up turning to when you sense red flags, but you want to convince yourself you can handle it. “I’m just having a little fun. This won’t ever amount to anything. It just gives me a little something to look forward to.”
You brush off conviction.
You keep secrets from those people you know would call you out.
And you have no idea what a voracious appetite sin has. Sin may seem like no big deal at first. But as apologist Ravi Zacharias says, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”
Yes, sin unleashes consequences that will rob us of our peace, diminish our integrity and cause us pain that’s never worth it.
That’s exactly what happened to a friend of mine when a nice guy at work started paying attention to her. Her marriage was hard, and she was tired of trying so much. She found herself putting extra effort into getting dressed in the morning and being more than willing to work late.
She felt a spark in her heart every time he came near. Soon, they were talking in secret. Texting in secret. Meeting in secret. And down the slippery slope she went.
The slippery slope has one major tell-tale sign — things are done in secret.
The minute we start hiding things from those who love us, doing things in a sneaky way, lying or telling half-truths, and figuring out ways to cover up evidence of our activities — we’re on the slippery slope. And we’re headed downhill fast.
Satan is the master of darkness. As long as he can keep us operating in our dark secrets, we are deceived. In The Message version of Acts 26:17-18, we are reminded:
“I’m sending you off to open the eyes of the outsiders so they can see the difference between dark and light, and choose light, see the difference between Satan and God, and choose God. I’m sending you off to present my offer of sins forgiven, and a place in the family, inviting them into the company of those who begin real living by believing in me.”
Oh sweet friend, we need to see the difference between dark and light and choose light. We need to bring our choices out into the light of Jesus so He can expose the truth. Only then can we truly discern the difference between being led by Jesus or deceived by Satan.
Doing things in secret can be an indication we are being led by Satan. That’s a strong statement but one worth really considering.
Satan keeps dangers off our radar screen and blinds us to the harsh realities coming our way. My friend was blinded. And when she finally woke up to the deception, the devastation horrified her.
If you’re keeping secrets today, bring them out into the light:
• Find a trusted Christian friend and ask them to help you hold your choices up to the truth.
• Get honest with people who love you.
• Build accountability measures in your life.
• Ask Jesus for help, forgiveness, and a clear understanding of how to hit the brakes and throw things in reverse. Let His truth speak louder than the feelings that are begging you to keep things hidden. Like the end of verse 18 says, “begin real living by believing in me.”
The path to real living — the living that will sustain you and lead you to a true discovery of real love, real provision and real satisfaction — is found only by following Jesus.Dear Lord, protect me from the darkness of Satan today. Help me bring my choices into Your light, because only You can expose the truth. You are the only way. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Peter 5:8, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (NIV)
Train yourself to recognize the three strategies of the enemy, so you can stand strong and persevere through unsettling relationships and uncertain outcomes, with Lysa TerKeurst’s newest book, It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way. You can order your copy here today.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Look back at Lysa’s list of ways to bring secrets out into the light. Are there any of these measures that you keep as a continual part of your life to help you resist temptation? Is there one you need to start doing? Join the conversation here.
© 2018 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
Saul’s next test as king comes when the Israelites and Philistines square off for battle, and it’s scarily obvious that Israel is underarmed and outnumbered. Saul’s soldiers start defecting and disappearing.
Anxious because of his dwindling forces, King Saul breaks God’s law and offers the burnt offering before battle—instead of following Samuel’s instructions and waiting for him, a priest, to do it. The king has sinned. Gravely. When Samuel arrives, he’s appalled. Because of Saul’s act of disrespect for God, God will remove him as king.
Trusting that God can defeat an entire army with one man, Jonathan and his armor-bearer approach the Philistine camp in broad daylight and boldly kill 20 Philistines. The Lord sends the Philistine army into panic. Israel’s enemies fall apart, and Saul leads Israel to victory.
God then gives Saul his next battle plan: Completely destroy the Amalekites—the tribe who attacked his vulnerable people as they were leaving Egypt, fresh out of slavery. Saul leads the army to victory, but doesn’t kill the Amalekite king or all of the livestock. In his disobedience, Saul has rejected God’s authority. God rejects him as king.
The King’s Heart
The well-armed Philistine army wasn’t a threat to God. The Creator and Sustainer could stop their heartbeats at any moment with just a thought in his mind. Victory over the enemies wasn’t what God was after—he could accomplish that in a millisecond. He wanted a king who knew and trusted his heart.
Saul was scrambling for a leg up on his enemies—even disobeying God to get it. All while the One who determines life looked on. “Rebellion is like the sin of divination,” Samuel told Saul (1 Samuel 15:23). It’s turning toward a power other than God to accomplish something. “Arrogance [is] like the evil of idolatry,” God’s prophet continued. It’s valuing our own strength more than we value God’s. Rebellion and arrogance say, “God, I don’t think you’re loving and that you want to help me,” or “I don’t believe you’re able to help me.” Yet God is both—he is loving and he is able.
“Do you know me? Will you trust me?” God was asking Saul.
“No,” Saul’s rebellious, arrogant actions resounded.
“I regret that I have made Saul king,” God grieved (1 Samuel 15:11).
That Saul killed all the people of Agag (1 Samuel 15:8) must have meant that the Israelites killed all the Amalekites they encountered. Some Amalekites survived (see 1 Samuel 27:8; 30:1). Even though Samuel killed Agag, the vile Haman is an Agagite (see Esther 3:1). Centuries later Haman is still looking for revenge—he attempts to destroy the Jews.