Random Blog Clay Feet: January 08, 2009
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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Exposing Deception

An important aspect of truth and of how God relates to us keeps impressing itself on my mind and heart. It sounds strange and even foreign in many respects to the way most people view life, but then the kingdom of heaven and the principles by which the whole universe operates outside of our little bubble of intense deception on this planet is nearly always upside down from our point of view. But in reality it is our typical thinking that is always what is upside down and backwards and the closer I come into harmony and awareness with those principles by which the rest of the universe lives, the more odd and out of place I am going to appear to nearly everyone around me.

What keeps coming back to my attention is the growing realization that the way God has chosen to deal with opposition, accusation and argument is to maintain consistently His character of tenderness, goodness, gentleness and love in the face of lies, fierceness and even violence. To my natural mind this simply makes almost no sense. My brain is wired to want to use force when necessary to overcome evil. I want to expose people's charades and deceptions and get the truth out in the open quickly. But the more I learn about how God operates the more these methods are exposed as coming from the wrong side of the fence.

I, like nearly everyone else I know, have always considered tenderness and gentleness as a sign of some sort of weakness in the personality. Of course, these things were handy to have around and especially were desirable in the female side of the world. But men are “supposed” to lean more in the direction of “strength” and boldness which implied that they had little use for these characteristics that seemed so ineffective against the real problems that we face in this world.

But I keep being reminded by the Spirit that this is all part of Satan's deception to prevent me from accessing what is truly powerful and effective in my battle against sin. Believing that force must be met with force is an illusion and a temptation that is so subtle and deceptive that it is an easy pushover for nearly every professed Christian. But contrary to our assumptions about God from centuries of misinformation by religious and non-religious tradition alike, God does not overcome violence and sin with violence and force. In fact, He never, ever resorts to force or coercion or compulsion to acquire His goals. He never violates His character of love, goodness, tenderness and mercy.

But at the same time I am also becoming much more aware that tenderness and gentleness are far from signs of weakness. In fact, it takes far more strength than I have ever had to maintain such a spirit in the face of intimidation, violence and pain. It takes superhuman stamina and deeply ingrained stability and maturity to face the ugliness of sin, the threat of personal harm, pain and violence or to be exposed to the terrible acts of exploitation committed all around us in the world and still maintain an inward peace and a mature attitude. It is so much easier to reflect the spirit that is being demonstrated in acts of violence and anger. It is such a powerful temptation to believe that the only means of fully overcoming the evil around us is to tap into the use of force and compulsion whenever the situation calls for it.

But this is one of the most diabolical lies that Satan has infected our minds with and undermines our effectiveness as representatives of Christ. And although my own heart still is wired to respond in these ways when under the pressure of strong emotions, my mind is learning that this is not the ways of God and that sooner or later following these kinds of beliefs will always end up dishonoring Him.

Yesterday I was reading a statement by a religious teacher of the last century and came across some very stunning revelations. In describing how Lucifer progressively developed his strategies of deception while still living in heaven, I read that “he manifested an overbearing desire for justice, but it was a counterfeit of justice, which was entirely contrary to God's love and compassion and mercy.”

This article went on to reveal that Lucifer slowly infected the minds of very many holy angels of God by subtle insinuations about God that caused them to view everything God did with suspicion even though nothing could be proven or was even obviously wrong. And one of the first casualties of this spirit of doubt and suspicion was that their love and confidence in God was marred. Almost immediately their sweet communion between themselves and God was broken.

That is one of the first warning signs of a wrong attitude that will dissolve the love and closeness that is necessary for God's people to be successful. But sweet communion is not something that can be imposed or forced on anyone. It is simply a symptom of hearts that are open and free of suspicion and fear of those whom they trust. When I view God with any amount of fear and apprehension or when I believe that God is willing to resort to force and coercion to get His ways when all else fails, then the result will be that my ability to rest fully in His love will be marred and no matter how much I try to convince myself of His goodness I will always have lurking in the back of my mind suspicions that will prevent me from enjoying the full, deep and sweet communion so necessary for preparing me to live in His presence.

What really got my attention was a description in this article about how God chose to deal with the deceptive nature of Satan's operations. Lucifer, who was quickly becoming Satan – the accuser – was so extremely subtle and two-faced in the ways in which he created insinuations and doubts about God, that he was extremely effective in convincing a very large percentage of the angels to believe that his claims were legitimate and accurate and his complaints about God were right. This method of quiet deception that made Lucifer appear to be the injured party was so convincing and compelling that God chose not to expose Him directly or to even resort to eliminating his rebellion by force of any type. He could have done that very easily as far as power is concerned, but power is not the primary interest of God. The number one and unwavering characteristic of God is that He is love and nothing can disturb or alter that in the slightest.

As I read more I came across this most revealing statement. “Many place such confidence in their own ideas that they present their theories as if they could make no mistake. Once their words are spoken, they never go back, never repent, never feel that they need forgiveness. They feel that they are infallible. Thus it has been in past history; thus it will be again. False religious confidence becomes supposed infallibility. How can these deluded ones think that they are the only ones led and taught of God? When this spirit is manifested, what can be done? You cannot convince them, because they say, "God has led me." They will not acknowledge that they have acted on wrong principles. They maintain that they have moved rightly. The only course that can be pursued is to leave them to develop their principles. They may never see their error, but others may be convinced and saved. To attempt to unmask them would be to call sympathy to their side.”

What disturbs me is that all too much I see my own desires to act in this way at times, to expose others when they are deceiving people around them especially when it is causing me problems personally. I want to call their bluff, to uncover their lies, to make them look bad in the eyes of others who are being sucked into their arguments and insinuations. But this is not the way God deals with deception and the sooner I adopt His methods and perceptions the more effective my own witness will become.

“Satan stirs up the minds of those who are selfish, who are not consecrated to God's service, who have not an eye single to his glory. He fills their hearts with the spirit of criticizing and accusing. If they think that they are not especially favored, they will talk of the mistakes and errors of the one against whom they are working. This step taken, Satan, whose special business it is to create alienation and strife, will place the matter before these persons in a most deceiving way, and they will bring against those in positions of trust the most unjust charges, in order to discourage and destroy God's servants.”

It has become more and more obvious over the past few years that I have inherited a long legacy of a spirit of accusing and criticizing. It is second nature to me and I catch myself many times stopping thoughts of criticism before they escape into the open. But I become almost angry that they are still so readily available inside of me, that there seems to be an unlimited supply of these fault-finding comments just waiting for opportunities to burst out whenever I feel threatened. But what I am learning is that this is all a reflection of Satan's character and totally opposite to how God deals with us. I clearly need a much deeper conversion, a total transformation, a radical heart transplant to prepare me to reflect the character of God when under pressure.

As I read further in this article I was nearly overwhelmed with the things that I need to learn and absorb into my own experience and character. Let me just share a few more paragraphs.

“Satan's representations against the government of God, and his defense of those who sided with him, were a constant accusation against God. His murmurings and complaints were groundless; and yet God allowed him to work out his theory. God could have destroyed Satan and all his sympathizers as easily as one can pick up a pebble and cast it to the earth. But by so doing he would have given a precedent for the exercise of force. All the compelling power is found only under Satan's government. The Lord's principles are not of this order. He would not work on this line. He would not give the slightest encouragement for any human being to set himself up as God over another human being, feeling at liberty to cause him physical or mental suffering. This principle is wholly of Satan's creation.

“The principles of the character of God were the foundation of the education constantly kept before the heavenly angels. These principles were goodness, mercy, and love. Self-evidencing light was to be recognized and freely accepted by all who occupied positions of trust and power. They must accept God's principles, and, through the presentation of truth and righteousness, convince all who were in his service. This was the only power to be used. Force must never come in. All who thought that their position gave them power to command their fellow beings, and control conscience, must be deprived of their position; for this is not God's plan.

“These principles are to be the foundation of education in God's church today. The rules given by him are to be observed and respected. God has enjoined this. His government is moral. Nothing is to be done by compulsion. Truth is to be the prevailing power. All service is to be done willingly, and for the love of God. All who are honored with positions of influence are to represent God; for when officiating, they are in the place of God. In everything their actions must correspond to the importance of their position. The higher the position the more distinctly will self-sacrifice be revealed if they are fit for the office. Every heart that is controlled by these principles will be loyal. But when those who profess to be in God's service resort to accusation, they are adopting Satan's principles to cast out Satan; and this never will work.” ( RH, 9-7, 1897)

I want God to transform me so thoroughly that I can reflect His spirit and demonstrate how He treats even His greatest accuser and enemy. I want to be filled with the patience necessary to wait for opposition to expose itself while maintaining a spirit of truth and love. I want to be filled with the spirit of self-sacrifice that reflects the very heart of both the Father and the Son. I want a full heart transplant, a new spirit, and a whole new disposition.

Father, accomplish Your desires for me and in me. Make me a channel of Your grace and mercy, an instrument of Your peace. I cannot get there from here by my own determination and force of will. I choose to cooperate with Your ways and trust You to do the healing work necessary in my heart so that my reactions and spirit under pressure will more accurately reflect what You are really like and how You treat those who misunderstand and misrepresent You.