Spoiler alert! Spoiler alert! Only read this essay all the way through if you want to know the Enemy’s plans of attack on you, and only if you want to know why you are stuck in spiritual mediocrity. If you don’t want to know “what’s under the hood” and you want your relationship with God to remain as is, DO NOT CONTINUE READING! You have been warned.
If you do continue reading, then please let me know your thoughts and responses are. Thanks. – Arthur
Pernicious. 1. Causing insidious harm or ruin; ruinous; injurious; hurtful. 2. Deadly; fatal. 3. Evil; wicked.
While the definition of pernicious is easy to state, it is not so easy to pinpoint in today’s postmodern mindset, where things once thought obvious no longer are. Once you invoke terms like harm, hurtful, and evil, you invoke a moral reference point with which to measure one’s thoughts or actions by. What is that point? Says who? This ultimately is a matter of truth, and truth, by definition, is exclusive. British author GK Chesterton astutely noted that there are many angles by which you can fall, but only one angle at which you can stand straight.
Therein lies the challenge for God’s people living in an age with pluralism as its king; finding that truthful angle at which we can stand straight, and then committing and subjecting our very lives to living at that angle, the Angle of Truth. Even the slightest tilt of the angle leads to a fall … even if that angle seems much “straighter” than other angles. Though it is often difficult to discern a straight angle from a slight one, it IS possible, as long as all of life’s angles and options are measured against the one straight angle, the truth of God’s word.
Theologian RC Sproul describes truth as that which corresponds with reality … as perceived by God, because God’s perception of reality is never distorted. It is perfect. Our problems arise when we set even the slightest gaze of our eyes upon other norms and standards in addition to God’s word. It’s what I call “Christ AND … theology,” where we look to Christ AND this, where we want Christ AND that, instead of Christ alone. In reality, as RC says, only God’s view of life is perfect and complete. Any addition to it (or subtraction) at all, and you’ve got that tilted angle – no matter how much Scripture you have as a base. God alone, and Scripture alone stand straight.
To the one whose values are not clear, this is more easily deciphered in concept than it is in practice, for Satan is masterful at blurring the lines of distinction, giving you nourishment, while at the same time diminishing you in the process.
It is said that if you drop a frog into boiling water, it will jump out instantly, but if you drop it into room temperature water and very slowly bring it to a boil, it will boil to death before it has a chance to figure out it’s being boiled. The Bible warns us that Satan will come as an angel of light (2Cor. 11:14), not fire! He will try to imitate light. He will promote virtual light, if you will – illuminating but only so far, enlightening but incompletely, keeping our focus on the image and the visible, leaving out of sight the infrastructure and the foundation upon which the illuminated façade is built upon.
Aaahh, that is so Satan. He aims to keep us entertained, tickled, and warmed, keeping us at eye level with incomplete, sensory, on-the-surface truths while boiling us within, deadening our senses, and making us dependent upon our feelings and insecurities for our decision making. Little by little, step by step, we rely less and less on the sharpness and razor-like precision of the Word of God to carve out our paths.
Satan is no dummy. If he’s going win his battle for our souls, he’s got to somehow find ways to neutralize our strongest weapon, the Word of God. For the non-Christian and the “flimsy” Christian, that job is easy. Discredit the veracity of the Bible at the hands of human brilliance and seemingly empirical science, pluralistic philosophy, or just plain doses of sensual hedonism (note that sensual is referring to being led by the senses – this is not only sexual). The classic lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life. (1John 2:16) Suck them in with pernicious lies.
But what about the serious and committed Christians; those of us who don’t fall for the obvious pernicious lies; the ones who recognize those ploys? For that, Satan must neutralize the word of God WITH the word of God, substituting out the best for the good, fighting fire with fire. He sucks us in with what I call … pernicious truth. Pernicious truth? It sounds like an oxymoron, but propositional truth that isn’t rooted in the Person of Truth is harmful, hurtful, and spiritually deadly. It is pernicious truth.
Put on God’s lenses and you’ll see your enemy’s strategy. Make the living waters ever-so-slightly murkier. Introduce a virtual word of God, which looks the same in content, but not in intent, and start creating micro-tears, slowly disconnecting the “strong” Christian’s biblical head from his sinful heart. Subsume “committed” Christians to secondary “wholesome” and “harmless” forms of encouragement, edification, and entertainment. Slowly but surely dull the razor’s edge.
When one begins to believe that things unreal are really real, we say he is going insane. Yet, when the masses begin to believe in things that are not really real (i.e. virtual communities), we call it normal, and call it a cultural shift. With whole-hearted thanks to God, we have His word preserved – the perfect, powerful truth –
“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12).
There’s the rub. Are we going to go under the knife and cooperate with the Surgeon of our souls as He completes the needed surgery of sanctification, right down to the deepest parts – changing all of our thoughts, all of our attitudes, all of our actions, or are we going to play doctor and just say we did? It’s true that most people won’t even notice, but God will … and so will Satan.
– Arthur Hsieh