ROMANS 16:19-20: “For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: We are in a battle! It is a battle for our minds and hearts. The enemy of our souls is crafty and deceitful. He has one objective – to kill, steal, and destroy the work of God in our lives. He does not try to do this with great sweeping actions, but with small continual compromises. One small step at a time, over a long period of time, gets the job done. We need to be aware of this tactic if we are to stand strong against these attacks.
One of the deceptions the enemy has used is to intrigue us with darkness. We know that it is wrong, but he tries to convince us that we can just “check it out”, without really believing in it or participating it. Some will claim to do this in the guise of “apologetics”, to clearly identify what is evil. I have witnessed many lives that have been shipwrecked who have taken this path. I fell for this deception early in my Christian walk. Let me share my story.
As a new Christian I desired to share my faith with everyone. At work I witnessed to two co-workers, one a Mormon, and the other a Jehovah’s Witness. I really wanted to share the truth with them, to show them that they were worshipping the wrong Jesus. This led me to begin a study in the area of “Cults and the Occult”. As I began this study, I started to acquire a library of “first source” writings from different cults. I had a whole shelf in my study of these books and even took pride in them. Then one day I read Romans 16:19 and was convicted. I began to pray over my path. I sought counsel about owning these books. The question I had to deal with was – “Where they making me wise in what was good, and innocent in what was evil?” I also thought about whether I would want a son or daughter to wander into my library and read these books. I knew what I had to do in my life. I had to destroy them.
I am not saying that there is no place for Apologists to research and write concerning cults, false religions, and the occult. This is a great service and ministry to the Body of Christ. However, it was not “my” ministry and calling. And it is not the calling of the vast majority of the church. In my education I took a class taught by the well known Apologist and Author, Walter Martin, who wrote the book “Kingdom of the Cults”. However, even in this class, from someone who had done the research, we covered broad overviews of the errors of the cults and occult – BUT WE FOCUSED ON THE TRUTH! WE FOCUSED ON THE WORD OF GOD!
There is one more important story I would like to share concerning this truth. As a young pastor I was asked to counsel with a couple who was attending our church. They were struggling with domestic violence. The husband had a vast Biblical knowledge, but he also had a hot temper, and would hit his wife. When I went to their house I noted a huge Biblical library which he took great pride in. On his shelves were “first source” writings from cults, and a large selection of “first source” writings of the occult. When I shared my story with him, and asked him if he would be willing to seek the Lord about cleansing his house, he became extremely angry, and appeared to be on the verge of becoming violent. I was prompted by the Spirit to leave immediately, praying for him as I left. He was not willing to even consider that there could be a stronghold in his life. They never returned to the church.
Counterfeiters create items that “appear” to be the real thing. Those who investigate counterfeiters do not study the counterfeits – they study the “real thing”. Thy handle that which is authentic. They get to know it inside and out. They become so knowledgeable of the “real thing” that they do not need to study the “counterfeit”. The counterfeit is immediately evident because they know the truth (“real thing”).
This is the call to the believer. We must be wise concerning that which is good – God’s Truth, and innocent concerning that which is evil – the enemy’s deception. Darkness abounds today. There is no place for the believer to even speak of the works of darkness that are done in secret. Through our minds, hearts, and actions we are called to live a life that is in the light. The God of Peace will soon crush Satan under His feet! God’s Truth will be victorious! We need to live a children of the light. We need to focus on the light. We need to seek the Wisdom that is from above!
Lord, forgive me for the times I have allowed intrigue to lead me down the wrong path. Keep me from the sin of “just checking it out”. Give me grace to withstand the wiles of the devil, putting on the whole armor of God, and having done all to stand. Help me be wise concerning that which is good, and innocent concerning that which is evil! In Jesus Name!