I never understood how anyone could not love—much less like—God, because He is so good and does nothing but good to us. Because of that I have always been convinced that if people could just somehow be exposed to who He is, they couldn’t help but love Him! Yet the abysmally sad reality is that there will be those who are not only God’s enemies because they’ve not heard of Jesus or repented yet, but also because they have been deceived into actively opposing and hating God.
“They also cursed the God of heaven…but they refused to change their hearts and turn away from the evil things they did.” (Revelation 16:11 NCV)
This verse refers to the time God begins to judge the evil of humankind. The last book of the Bible, written by John the disciple of Jesus, figuratively refers to this as “pouring out the bowls of judgment.” Yet even though mankind is struck with great pain (you would think, to direct their hearts and minds toward their sin and guilt) instead of repenting, they hate God more. Can you imagine where you have to be—mentally, spiritually, emotionally—to be so hardened against God? Keep in mind that these are real people who will respond like this—people like our friends, neighbors, coworkers, God forbid even family—real human beings alive at that time, not fictional bad guys of some imaginary plot. What could have gotten them to such a point, that they would be so set against the love and mercy and goodness that is God? I think I may have at least part of the answer.
It has to do with the demonic work of deception. We have to be careful, though; our prideful tendency wants to presume that other people are somehow more stupid or vulnerable than we are; to underestimate the allure and potency of Satanically inspired deception. Let’s not. Let’s come to terms with the fact that Satan—a very real and active spiritual entity at work behind the scenes in the hearts of those who reject Jesus Christ—deceives the brightest and most talented minds to introduce his most intellectually alluring untruths. He did it to Eve (whom, by the way, I feel we have grossly underestimated for millennia); he deceived her into doubting God’s goodness to her—and, of course, we all think she was pretty dumb to fall for it. But that’s not fair to her—yes, she failed to respond correctly; she failed to consult the only other human being who could have offered support and help her think straight—but the deception was also highly sophisticated and powerful.
And that’s still going on today. We may laugh when we read that “Satan is out there deceiving us;” but he is, and he’s using the brightest and best minds in every field.
So how is he deceiving us? Jesus Himself warmed us that before He comes back, “False christs and false prophets will appear, and they will offer great signs and wonders in order to deceive, if possible, even those whom God has chosen.” (Matthew 24:24 CEB)
I don’t think we’ve reached the “signs and wonders” stage yet, but there are definitely already some very intellectually tantalizing (but deceptive and untrue) philosophies out there—so powerful that they could (almost) deceive God’s own people. But they won’t—they won’t deceive those of us who are grounded in Christ, because we know and trust Him!
Strangely enough, one of the most recent ones is actually the oldest—the idea that God does not have our best interests at heart, that He can’t be trusted. I find it fascinating that Satan has bothered to infuse this concept into our modern, secular “God isn’t real and doesn’t exist” world; I’m sure it wasn’t intended that way, but it’s actually a testament to the fact that God does exist and is real. Why else make the effort to put in the safeguard of trying to deceive humankind into not trusting Him?!
Where do we find these deceptions? Everywhere. One dominant example I can think of, which all of us are exposed to, is entertainment. Because someone I know and love is highly into it, I recently made the effort to watch two episodes of the program “Westworld” (if you haven’t watched it, I’d encourage you not to—it’s full of everything God hates, and despite its highly engrossing and well-thought-out plot line, difficult to sit through because of so much ugliness). This isn’t the first program I’ve encountered purporting the concept that the creator is untrustworthy and it is desirable to awaken to that fact and rebel; God has been attacked before in entertainment. Years ago now, Dr. Who made the term Master (what we call Jesus) frightening in our minds; the more recent Handmaid’s Tale is openly hostile against God, the Bible, and biblical values.
But why bother attacking Him if He doesn’t exist? I know, it’s just a plot line for writers like Greek or Egyptian mythology—that’s the secular human explanation. But those of us who still read the Bible and believe what God tells us in it see the writing on the wall; we see the hostility to, and fear of, God programs like these and many others are raising generations of people to have, deeply entrained in them. That, along with other deceptions, is how and why there will be so many who hate God and are unreceptive to repenting and trusting in Him; because they have been weaned on subversive entertainment painting Christianity and all associated with it—including God Himself—as frightening, evil, and not to be trusted. Can you even imagine!
What should we do? I believe the answer is to obey Jesus, who taught us to remain in Him. That means to keep reading God’s Word, the Holy (yes, holy) Bible; to gather with other Christians as we are able; to pray; to listen to sermons, read books, and even fast as the need requires. In other words, to fill ourselves with Him, because otherwise the world, influenced by Satan, will fill us with lies and deception. And it should not need to be said, but I will articulate it, just in case—anything that teaches us differently than God does is the deception, not the Bible. We can believe God; He is utterly and completely good and worthy of our trust, although Satan will keep working to convince us and the rest of the world otherwise. Don’t fall for it! God does love us: He IS love.
Remember, “…Those who live by their own rules, not God’s, can expect nothing but trouble, and the longer they live, the worse it gets…Because they insist on shaking their fists at God, defying God Almighty to his face, Always and ever at odds with God, always on the defensive.” (Job 15:17-26 MSG)
Please open our hearts and minds; show us, convince each and every one of us, that You love us; that You made us and died for us and that Your very being is GOOD! Let us be part of You; don’t let us believe the lie that this is a scary or evil thing! Amen!!