Saturday, December 6, 2008

Distractions and Propaganda

I noticed early on in my Christian walk that Satan was actively working to bring me away from God. After some time, I've noticed that he works (in my life) using two primary methods:

  • Distraction - This summer I was trying to mentor one of the kids we had just brought into Christ. As we were driving through a Miami Suburb, he started basically freaking out. "Why aren't people following Jesus? Don't they care about what happens when they die?" I thought about it for a minute, then I told him to look around. What were people doing? They were mowing their yards, driving around, shopping, having a good time. They were distracted. "As long as they're looking down, they'll never look up. It's our job to help them look up," I explained soberly. I think Satan uses many good things to draw us away from God: jobs, buying things, hobbies, even our families and ourselves. I think that's why Jesus said in Luke 14 we have to be willing to give up everything to be His disciples. "Jesus first and no close seconds," is how Jerry Tallman explains it. But even as Christians we get distracted by this world all the time. Whenever I fell away from God, I think I probably sinned less than when I was a Christian. However, I spent all my time watching movies, hanging out with friends, and relaxing. As long as I was focused on this world, I could not focus on God. This is how Satan gets us.

  • Propaganda - Wikipedia explains propaganda like this: "Propaganda often presents facts selectively (thus lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis, or gives loaded messages in order to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented." And this is exactly how Satan works. His lies always sound good, and he does that on purpose. I can think of countless conversations I've had with non-Christians totally buying into Satan's lies and thinking, "How on Earth can you believe something so illogical and ridiculous?" They've been mesmerized, that's why. Satan does a masterful job of using half-truths and flash to get us to buy into his garbage. It doesn't even matter what it is, as long as it's not God's he wants us to believe it. Even as Christians Satan doesn't want our faith to match how we live. He uses tons of lies to get us to do his will, lies like: "Just this once is alright," "I can't help it," "Everyone else is doing it, so it can't be that big a deal," or "At least I'm not as bad as those other people."

It is my prayer that God will help us recognize Satan's schemes for what they are: schemes. We should be careful how we live, and not let Satan creep in through the back door unnoticed.

"lest Satan should take advantage of us, for we are not ignorant of his devices" 2 Cor. 2:11


Paul Ford said...

Great thoughts.
I become distracted far too often. In fact, I get distracted by what seems to be a good thing, when I should be doing something else. For instance, when I'm supposed to be working - I find myself being distracted to sneak a peak at an online bible and spend a couple hours doing that instead - on someone else's dime. Both are good, but at the time, only one is the proper thing to do. Jesus reprimanded the Pharisees for this also. When they should have been taking care of their parents, they told their parents that what was theirs was already given to the temple.
God help me do what's right - at the right time, and not to be distracted.

Terry said...

I have found that fear is another tactic used by Satan. It occured to me as I was watching the 2 most recent Batman movies. In both cases, the villains tried to get the citizens of Gotham City to destroy each other because of fear. In Deuteronomy, Moses warned of a time when the Israelites would be in such a horrifying siege that they would turn on each other and even eat their own children. I believe the prophet Jeremiah (or perhaps Ezekiel) wrote about it actually happening. As Psalm 37 says, fretting only leads to evildoing. Satan loves to manipulate situations so that fear and anxiety drive us to sin. Thanks for provoking these thoughts. We need to be aware of how the devil works.

david said...

That's how he's always done, as far back as Genesis 3 (half-truth). "You will not surely die...for God knows the day you eat of the fruit you will be like God knowing good and evil."

What he said in essence was true - "You will not die." They ate of the fruit and they didnt die.

God said, "The day you eat of that fruit you will surely die." Did God lie?

Clearly just one of Satan's half-truths.

It has enough truth in it to make it appealing but it has enough falsehood to make it damning and that's really where the devil gets us.

It's like a slice of cake loaded with cianide and poison inside.

david said...

(I forgot to also say...they DID die in terms of the relationship they had with God in the sense of the innocence that had been there before. That innocense was never there again when sin entered into the world).

Thank you for these sobering reminders, brother.

Tevet said...

Very cool post.

"IF" is a tactic satan uses to create doubt and confusion, to the point of apathy. Mathew 4:1-8

Doug said...

Awesome post Josh. Of late, I've been distracted by things, and the moment I think I'm back on track, I seemingly become distracted once more.

Always the distractions are from the outside, in part, because I'm seem to be living from the outside. I'm responding to what happens to me, instead of living in the peace of God.

Thanks brother!

Alisha Dawn said...

Yep. It seems like Satan can use distraction so easily. I could think of things Satan used in the past that lead me away but distraction is one that is more hidden than others. Or at least to me it seems this way. Hidden in the fact that detractions from God seem like normal life. It's staleness. It's doing what "normal" people do. Reminds me of the verse in Revelation about being luck-warm.
I DO NOT want to be that way! Thanks for the reminder.

Joshua Tucker said...

Thanks for all the thoughts!

Paul - Good thoughts. I'm guilty of the same. Sometimes I feel like I have spiritual A.D.D. There's nothing wrong with enjoying life and lots of other things, as long as we keep them in perspective and in the right context.

Terry - Fear is definitely a tactic the devil uses too. I guess for me many times he uses fear through distractions or propaganda too. Procrastination is a fear of failure... so I put things off. And through lies Satan makes me feel worthless, unable, and afraid. Thanks for the thoughts brother.

David - I agree, half-truths work so well for deception. Satan used those a lot on me in Russia. Yeah it was hard (truth), but I tended to get down on myself or the field and give myself over to negativity. Since it was based in truth I somehow felt justified. You reminded me of my post on "glamorous poison." Satan uses things that look so good, but in the end bring death. It's like Gerald says, we give up the eternal for the temporary.

Tevet - Thanks for dropping by, and thanks for the other blog links you gave me. I definitely feel the "if" factor since I tend to be such a perfectionist.

Doug - I've been there lots too. I wish that everything in life were like signposts that pointed me to God, but much of the time they're just distractions Satan uses to mess up my focus. Thanks for your heart, brother.

Alisha - Thanks for the thoughts sweetie, and thanks for helping to keep me focused on God even when I don't feel like it. I appreciate you.