The Great Deceiver


A visit from my cousin –

My cousin, who lives in Johannesburg and came down for a pastor’s conference to little old Port Elizabeth, popped in for a visit last night.  I have not seen my cousin in about seven years, and that was for a funeral – prior to that, I cannot remember ever sitting down and just having a one-on-one conversation with my cousin.

And last night we did…

Turns out my cousin is quite an interesting individual and we started chatting about being in the ministry and what that actually means.  He asked me about my ministry – I do, after all, have a three-year diploma in Theology.

And it got me thinking…

What exactly is my ministry?

And should I be in one?

I got a bit panicky thinking about what I should be doing and realised that I am exactly where God wants me to be.  I cannot fall for the lies of the Devil thinking I need to be somewhere else.  And this morning, after giving this some more thought, I realised that there are a number of lies that Satan tells us – he is the great deceiver.  We don’t all need to be in ministry.

Unless God calls us to be there.

What we do need to do is to live victorious lives right where we are now – in our homes, at work, at our kids’ school, with our friends.  That will be the greatest ministry our world will know.  The world – at least the Western world – is so tired of those proclaiming to be Christian, who sing and dance and praise God and then quietly go back to their homes and live lives of blatant sin and quiet disdain – pornography, gambling, abuse, addictions, depression, anxiety, etc.  What the world needs – desperately needs – are those Christians who do not speak about Christianity, but instead are living the life of a Christian.  Those, who without having to say a single word, show those around them what true Christianity is about – in what they say and do, how they react and how vibrant they are in life, each and every day.

I am not saying we don’t need ministers and missionaries – of course we do.  We desperately do.

But, we are not all called to be so.

But, we are ALL called to be Christian.  To live out the Christian way – and THAT is what we need to focus on.

The devil may lead you to believe that you need to be in fulltime ministry, or be a missionary somewhere, but unless that is what God has planned for your life, you will fail.

There are other lies that the devil tells us, that he whispers quietly into our thoughts and minds and that we believe.  Knowing the truth of God’s word will help counteract the lies that the devil tells you.

Some of these lies:

  • Anxiety / panic attacks:  these seem to be on the increase in our fast-paced western society.  People quite simply battle to keep up with the bombardment of news, information, and technology and the pace with which we live our lives.  But, remember – God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind (reference here).  I am not saying that there aren’t truly people who battle with this – but focusing on the promises of God will go a long way to knowing what the truth is for your life.
  • Depression:  Jesus came that we may have life and life to the full.  Once again, of course we will battle depression.  We live in a fallen world and we will face the challenges of living in a fallen world.  But, focus on God’s promises and be obedient to Him and you will find the strength to overcome.
  • Body image:  I’m too fat, too thin, I’m ugly, I’m not good enough – wow, this is one of the most intense and most personal places that the Devil can attack you.  If you never feel like you measure up, you’ll never venture out there and start living that life to the full that Christ promised you.
  • Marriage:  If Satan can get the marriage, he will get the kids and the impact on the community will reach far and wide.  This is another area under constant attack – we need to preserve our marriages at all costs.  Not because we’re happily married, but because this is what God has called us to do.  Remember, the vows matter (Reference here).

As I am re-reading this post, I’ve realised that most of Satan’s attacks rely on manipulating our feelings – I feel anxious, I feel depressed, I feel fat, I feel ugly, I feel like I don’t love my spouse anymore and either Satan will manipulate those feelings to the nth degree to further his cause, or we are self-saboteurs who feel unworthy and so we sabotage any happiness that God has destined for us.  Sometimes I suspect it’s more a case of self-sabotaging and that Satan doesn’t really need to do all that much.  But, we are sinful creatures who need to learn to listen to God’s voice and believe in His love for us.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.   Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  Reference here.

Whatever the reasons, we need to learn to live beyond our emotions.  Reference here.

Victory is pretty much impossible until we learn how to live beyond our feelings!  Joyce Meyers

Be the Christian that God has called you to be – right where you are now.  At your work, at play, at home, at school…  That is the greatest gift you can give the society you live in.  And yourself – do it in obedience to God.  Do it because it’s the best life you can have.

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