Have you heard stories of people falling away from the faith? Isn’t it terribly saddening?
Recently, a prominent worship leader, Jon Steingard has renounced his faith. Famous YouTubers, Rhett&Link, released two videos on their ‘spiritual deconstruction’ a few months ago. Rhett&Link’stwo videos have more than one million views collectively.
As I have followed these stories, and considered stories from people close to me, I noticed recurring themes. It seems that there areevil tactics playing out in each situation.
Yes, people will inevitability fall away. I think of John 6, where a large portion of Jesus’ followers deserted him. But it doesn’t mean that we have to lay down and let it happen.
The Bible talks about Satan as a lion on the prowl, as the god of this world, as masquerading as an angel of light, a great red dragon, the prince of the power of the air. Satan is a terrible and deceptive force.
It would be to our peril if we are ignorant of the way our adversary moves. It pays to be wary of his devices. So that we may not be “outwitted by his schemes.” (2 Corinthians chapter 2, verse 11)
The inflation of secondary issues
Often times, the enemy will convince believers that secondary issues are reason enough to justify walking away from the faith.
Evolution can actually be considered a secondary issue. What I mean by this is that Christianity does not rise or fall on whether evolution is true or not. I’ll say it again. Christianity doesn’t hang on the credibility of Evolution. It hangs on the credibility of the risen Jesus! “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile” (1 Corinthians chapter 15, verse 17)
The enemy turns a secondary issue into an ultimatum.
“It’s either evolution or God!” The great accuser whispers in the dark.
Here is some food for thought. Some prominent Christians hold a Theistic Evolutionary view. Meaning, they believe in evolution and God. While others completely dismiss the theory of Evolution. There are very compelling views on both sides.
When it comes to the foundation of why we believe, the risen Jesus is the heading, evolution is a footnote.
Furthermore, science asks – what does creation tell us? Where as the question of God asks – who made creation? These questions lay on different ground. Therefore, one cannot refute the other.
But how long has the enemy been wreaking havoc in the minds of young believers. Claiming it is evolution or God. It is not one or the other. God transcends evolution. God transcends science.
Hear and obey
In the book of Matthew, Jesus says “everyone who hears and obeys these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew chapter 7, verse 24)
According to Jesus, it is not the collection of evidence that is our foundation, but those who hear and obey his words.
Undermining God’s character
The enemy will convince us that suffering undermines God’s goodness.
The common perspective to diffuse this tension, is toshow the ways that God can utilisesuffering to bring about good things. John Piper does a great job of addressing this. He details five ‘macro’ purposes of suffering. Repentance, reliance, righteousness, reward and revelation.
Another perspective to approach this is to show how God’s goodness is actuallyrevealed by suffering. To put it another way, if not for suffering, a certain aspect of God’s goodness would not be revealed.
This goodness is a goodness that is evident when God is present during our trials. A goodness that says God is an “ever present help in times of trouble.” (Psalm chapter 46, verse 1)
A perfect image of this goodness can be found in the book of Daniel. Where Jesus is the fourth man in the fiery furnace. He is physically present with them in their harshest time of persecution. This is a goodness impossible in a suffering free world.
The great deceiver will sow doubts in the heads of young believers. But we can interrupt this process with truth.
Sufferingdoesn’t have to underminethe doctrine of God’s goodness. Rather it can help us understand it further.
The devil will cause us to think that there are contradictions in God’s nature, but if we are prudent, maybe we can recognise this tactic and let God speak.
Satan’s devices no.3
Doubts are shameful
Another common theme I’ve noticed is people feeling shame when they struggle with doubt. This ends with them not sharing until they are desperately shaken. Satan convinces believers that their doubt is not worth addressing.
Then, it grows.
And as it matures, the truth becomes harder to swallow.
Doubts are not shameful. As a matter of fact, every single believer will struggle with them. Not just some, not many, but all believers.
Doubts are not to be pushed down or neglected. Doubts are a necessity. They are the guiding force to help solidify our foundation.
I believe that the very act of sharing these doubts is a powerful interruption to the ‘spiritual deconstruction’ process.
Kept by God
These are bite sized portions addressing mountainous issues. I only wish to show thatwe don’t have to wallow in our doubt and confusion. There are answers. And we would do well to be equipped, lest Satan would outwit us, lest the people we disciple would plunge deeper into doubt.
Ultimately, it needs to be said, that God “will have mercy on whom (he) will have mercy, and (he) will have compassion on whom (he) will have compassion.” (Exodus chapter 33, verse 19).God exercises his sovereign choice. It is not something we are able to understand but it is something that we can revere.
God chooses and he keeps. “To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy” (Jude chapter 1, verse 24)
God keeps me. God keeps you.
Hekeeps us in the faith with his mighty hand.
It is not that I have read ‘x’ amount of chapters or prayed ‘x’ amount of minutes that I am in the faith. It is because God has chosen to show mercy on me.
The road is narrow. And it is heart wrenching that some have traded their glory for something lesser,but a special remnant will find their crown. God’s chosen people will bask in their inheritance. And they will be with him in paradise.
May the Lord keep you, may the Lord expose Satan’s schemes in your life and the lives of those you care about. May the Lord bring you peace in your doubt.“For God is not the author of confusion but of peace” (1 Corinthians chapter 13, verse 33)Let us praise our precious Jesus, for he is the way, the truth and the life.
Roden Meares enjoys playing basketball, reading comics and going to the gym. He has a passion for evangelising and helping others in their faith through writing.
Roden’s previous articles can be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/roden-meares.html