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Posts Tagged ‘1 John’


KJV and NKJV Scripture

– Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire – wanting nothing. – James 1:3-4

– Not that I speak in respect of want – for I have learned in whatsoever state I am in – therewith to be content. – Philippians 4:11

– The devil does not come to you with his red face and horns.  He comes to you disguised as everything you’ve ever wanted. – Anonymous

The disembodied hand writing on the plaster wall was spelling out and sealing Belshazzar’s final fate, to be brought upon him by God later that same night (Daniel 5:5).  This, on an evening starting out as a celebration of the king’s power, posterity, and possessions (Daniel 5:1-4).  However, the mood of the party-goers changed – as did Belshazzar’s demeanor when the words “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin” (Daniel 5:25) appeared before them.  The king’s knees shook in fear and he soiled himself upon seeing it (Daniel 5:6).  Before he knew what the message meant, his guilty conscience before God got the best of him.

He understood immediately the words were from above – and it was not going to be good news.  When David was brought in to interpret, Belshazzar’s worst fears were realized (Job 3:25).  He’d been weighed in God’s balances and found to be wanting, and his kingdom was to be split among the Medes and Persians (Daniel 5:24-28). What was Belshazzar wanting?  Salvation – and it was too late.  No more space would be given to repent (Revelation 2:21).  The king’s neck had stiffened against God so much for being absorbed in idolatry, want, and pride – he was cut off from heaven forever (Proverbs 29:1, Daniel 5:23, Daniel 5:30).

When our Father in heaven says not to do something, He means not to do it.  God does not give out casual recommendations, or friendly suggestions and advice on how we are supposed to live in steadfast (Hebrews 3:14) alignment and agreement with His will and way.  Instead, He gives us commandments to humbly obey and abide by every second until we die (Philippians 2:8).  They are not heavenly options to ponder over and pass on.  Therefore, when God tells us we are not to want – then we are not to (Psalm 23:1).  Living in want keeps us from being presented as peaceful, unblameable souls at the end (2 Peter 3:14).

Why?  Want is worldly.  It is walking in the spirit of err – not in the way of truth (Proverbs 19:27, James 1:16, 1 John 4:6).  Not only does want keep faith and belief incorrectly focused on things below (Colossians 3:2), but it leaves a heart wide open for seeds of sins like lust, covetousness, envy, and greed to take root and grow.  Then, they slowly spread worldly weeds throughout the soul as it all gradually chokes out the Word, and production of spiritual fruits commanded by God to be continually be brought forth in keeping with repentance unto salvation (Mark 4:19, Galatians 5:22-23, Matthew 3:8, John 15:16, 2 Corinthians 7:10).

Any true Christian (John 3:5) in a state of want is spiritually unstable in all their ways (James 1:6-8, James 4:8).  Faith, trust, and belief in – and love of God and Christ waver and drift (Ephesians 4:14, Hebrews 13:9), often spiking and dipping drastically based on whether a want is being fulfilled/obtained or not.  A person in this condition cannot be content with anything they have in life now – because they’re concentrating on future wants (Hebrews 13:5, Luke 3:14).  Dissatisfaction in this sense breeds impatience with a God they want to do their will as soon as possible, making it impossible to receive heaven’s promise (Hebrews 10:35-36).

The definition of want is a lack or deficiency of something – or someone.  Sadly, some will spend their whole life pursuing want after want.  Looking for certain people, following dreams, and making purchase after purchase to acquire desired material possessions.  All to find a feeling of fulfillment and purpose – hoping a life of repetitively obtaining wants will be what it takes to create a lasting sense of happiness.  Although they may be aware of a nagging, inner emptiness and loneliness throughout – they keep relying on and turning to external means and methods to make the ache go away – trying to fill and fix the bothersome void.

They don’t work.  As Billy Graham said, “They make for great fire escapes, but terrible fire extinguishers.”  No one but Christ can quench wants.  Godly joy and fulfillment can only be regenerated daily by Jesus residing in the soul by faith through the power of the Holy Ghost (Ephesians 3:16-17, Titus 3:5).  This is why one must be born again of the Spirit (John 3:5) for all wants to begin subsiding through repentance and remission of such sin.  This is when God begins rooting out and burning up weeds of want (Matthew 15:13, John 15:1-6), to produce a spiritually fruitful soul (Galatians 5:22-23), from branches of inner happiness.

Through His truth, God has to transform an always “wishing and wanting” soul conformed to this world (Romans 12:1-2) into a perfectly content being – no matter what state they are in at all times (second lead verse) – even if they have no more than food and clothes (1 Timothy 6:8).  Worldly Christians would not want a life with so little, for they would see it as God messing with them.  They desire earthly blessings; not eternal.  Unholy pastors prey upon this “more is better” approach to achieving a happy life with Christ (1 Corinthians 15:19).  Gearing and steering sermons into alignment with the world – not the Word.

Don’t misunderstand – for there can be seemingly noble and honorable wants such as sound health, happy homes, or strong inter-personal relationships.  However, these desires can become a means to an end.  In other words, God may only receive praise when these wants are first achieved – then maintained.  If health starts failing, homes become filled with strife, and relationships falter, then problems with God can begin.  Along with the words “This is NOT what I want (need) right now.”  However, He requires all things past (Ecclesiastes 3:15), and we must get past all want to be in agreement with Him (Amos 3:3).

In conclusion, when anyone gets deceived by the devil, they begin believing they know themselves better than anybody else – including the One who fashioned their heart in the womb to be desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9).  In turn, they foolishly start trusting their heart and self (Proverbs 28:26, 2 Corinthians 1:9) to know exactly what they need and want at all times.  Being certain that whatever they get will “work out” – and it does not.  Or, maybe it does for varying periods of time, until the devil tempts and entices them once again they have got to buy or try some new thing they see on TV or hear about from others (Acts 17:21).

It’s an endless cycle for some as Satan constantly spins his”want wheel” before their eyes.  It’s how Christians can end up feeling like they are being spiritually yanked about (Matthew 11:30) by a dizzying array of daily product options to consider, and periodic life-change choices to make or forsake.  Their attempts to partake at God’s and the devil’s table simultaneously – beget jealousy in Him (1 Corinthians 10:21).  It says His grace isn’t sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9) as they are still in want of something or someone.  Life with Christ isn’t satisfying.  It’s why hell will never be full – and full is how Satan wants it (Proverbs 27:20).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– But many that are first shall be last – and the last shall be first. – Matthew 19:30

– So the last will be first, and the first last.  For many are called, but few chosen. – Matthew 20:16

In New Testament times, the Gentiles were considered an unclean people by many Jews.  Gentiles lacked admiration, advantage, and privilege.  They were despised and looked upon with contempt – especially by those who had high seats in the synagogues; who were famous in the congregation (Luke 20:46, Numbers 16:2).  The same could be said for people today who don’t seem to fit in with society or the church very well.  They are the hobos, the homeless, or the menial workers barely eking out a living; having a hard time making ends meet.

Many of these souls (and others) often feel like they finish last – no matter what they do.  They always seem to be “coming up short” – never really gaining much in the way of money or material possessions.  Far too frequently, they receive the “loser” label.  However, in God’s eyes, they are first in line upon heaven’s narrow path (Matthew 7:14).  They may be shunned and looked down on by others, but many know to keep their faith focused on a better country above if they patiently endure below (Hebrews 11:13-16, Colossians 3:2, Mark 13:13).

Unfortunately, there are people who will be first on this planet.  These are the souls who exist solely to please themselves (Romans 15:1-3).  High-minded and prideful ones who always act as if God owes them more than sacrificing His only Son (Luke 17:7-10).  And, they are the worldly pleasure and profit pursuers who lay up treasures under heaven – being rich towards self as they seek their own wealth and fortune first (James 5:5, Matthew 6:19-20, Luke 12:21).  Well, they have their Father’s proper position to stand in the same heavenly queue, too.

It’s in the back – bringing up the rear in unbelief.  Even though they are further behind than they may think because the devil is still blinding their minds from having the glorious light of Christ shine unto them.  They’re just as lost from the Cross as ever (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).  All for disobediently fashioning themselves to old worldly lusts in ignorance (1 Peter 1:14)  Therefore, they don’t have God’s love in them (1 John 2:15-16).  Making them last for first trying to gain all kinds of stuff they can’t take when they leave this world (Luke 17:31, 1 Timothy 6:7).

 

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– And many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many. – Matthew 24:11

– He who is false to his God will not be true to his fellow mortals. – Matthew Henry

Our word “false” comes to us from the Latin “falsus.” It means deceptive, feigned, or pretend.  Our word “prophet” is defined as a person who is regarded to be an inspired teacher or proclaimer of God’s will.  Put them together to get “false prophet.”  It is any person who asserts they know (and are doing) His will – but it is all a pretense intended to defraud souls under the guise of following Christ and the truth of God’s Word.

These imposters have privately brought damnable heresies into the church since the time of Christ (2 Peter 2:1).  They’ve crept into sanctuaries unaware; turning God’s grace into a license for lasciviousness (Jude 1:4), or a green light from heaven to pursue worldly lusts under the banner of faith.  Mocking the Cross by making money off of God’s Word, they are the ungodly souls whose destruction will be swift.

We usually see these swindlers on TV, putting forth their false dreams and lying divinations (Ezekiel 13:6-7) to people in the pews and general viewing public. Saying things like, “The Lord placed this on my heart last night, and it’s imperative I tell you now.  Just sow your seed of faith with this ministry – a minimum of $100 please – and God will double your blessing in 24 hours.  Double your donation and He will triple it.”

Speaking words smoother than butter and soften than oil, their hearts are but drawn swords (Psalm 55:21). They could care less if we are blessed by God or not. As long as they keep people opening their wallets and purses to keep their own cash drawers full and bank accounts brimming, they don’t believe or see they are foolishly sinning.  Fashioning themselves to former lusts in willful ignorance of the truth (1 Peter 1:14).

Ir’s right in their eyes (Proverbs 14:12) so it must be the same in God’s (Deuteronomy 13:18).  They say it’s being done for His glory, but it’s just so they can generate worldly profit and pursue worldly pleasures (James 5:5).  Laying up treasures below (Matthew 6:19) they cannot take with them when they go (1 Timothy 6:7).  Preying upon the needy (Matthew 6:8), greedy, and those of easy belief and/or deceit.

Billy Graham once said that prisons are full of con men, and sadly, so are many churches (end).”  If these Christian charlatans and scam artists had any good conscience towards God as commanded, they would stop cheating on Him (1 Timothy 1:5).  They would cease subverting whole houses for filthy lucre’s sake.  They would stop their mouths from teaching vain, unruly things they ought not to (Titus 1:10-11).

If these con artists prophesying false dreams had stood in God’s counsel to begin with, they would be turning from their evil ways (Jeremiah 23:22,32). They’d stop swerving everyone from the truth (1 Timothy 1:6), using their perverted versions of His Word and like visions.  Making things up (Numbers 16:28) and moving everyone far from the gospel they first knew as kids (Galatians 1:6-7, 2 Timothy 3:15).

These are the grievous wolves Jesus and Paul said would enter in and deceive many, because they will be disguised in sheep’s clothing, speaking perverse things to draw disciples away after themselves.  They will be ravenous for earthly riches and will not spare God’s flock in the process (Matthew 7:15, Acts 20:29-30).  Draining bank accounts of others to bolster their own, and to keep their bellies full (Philippians 3:19).

Some travel in packs, seeking God’s true sheep to fleece – picking pockets clean.  All so these deceivers can be of one purse and fill their homes with spoil (Proverbs 1:13-15).  Yet, they live on in err (James 1:16), having forsaken the right way to heaven in favor of Balaam’s way and the gainsaying of Core (2 Peter 2:15,18, Jude 1:11).  Spiritual whores chasing worldly riches or rewards on every floor (Hosea 9:1).

God warns us to take heed, testing and trying the spirits, for many of these false prophets have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1).  One test is this:  If any Christian preacher, teacher, singer, writer, or movie maker, makes merchandise of you – even if they charge a cent for a thing they sell (2 Corinthians 12:9)- they are false prophets.  Their damnation in hell from long ago does not slumber (2 Peter 2:3).

 

 

 

 

 

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– God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and truth. – John 4:24

There has been a TV ad running here in Gainesville for about six or seven months now, promoting various aspects of an area Christian school.  Near the end of it, an voice from off-screen says, “I believe God has a spiritual home for everybody.”  Yes, it’s true He does. However, this house is a habitation in our heart.

Our soul is where all true worship of our Father starts, and then finishes upon our final breath.  Not within the confines of any physical building or dwelling man designates as a “house of worship” – or a “house of faith.”  It does not mean people cannot go to these places, but they’re not where worship is centered.  

Why?  Well, God says the following words to us in the book of Acts: “However, the most High does not dwell in temples made with hands.  Heaven is My throne and earth is My footstool.  What house will you build for Me?  Or, what is the place of My rest?  Has My hand not made all of these things (Acts 7:48-50)?”

In a similar vein, when the apostle Paul was in Berea, he penned these words about Him: “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth – doesn’t dwell in temples made with hands.  Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as if He needed anything (Acts 17:24-25).”

This is why true worship can only be within us.  It begins, continues, and finishes with our last day on earth.  It is why we must be “born again” of the Spirit at some point before we die (John 3:5).  This is the only church plant mattering to Him – for a seed of salvation is sown in the heart when it takes place.

It begins growing, and starts producing spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).  An inner church is birthed, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone.  In whom all the building is fitly framed together – so it grows into a holy temple of God in our soul (Ephesians 2:20-22).

All other forms of external worship are wrong and fraudulent.  They create a feigned, often forced faith, complete with fake smiles.  It can fool many for a long time, but not God (Hebrews 4:12-13).  Being born again is the only way we can be guided into all truth without being lied to (John 16:13, 1 John 2:27).

Otherwise, we can be deceived by a lot of likeable lies disguised as His truth.  We can then be dangerously misled.  With Satan having his own seat in Sunday pews (Revelation 2:13) spewing forth such falsehoods (John 8:44).  Or, preaching these fallacies and errors standing in the pulpit (Ephesians 6:12, James 1:16).

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.  For he that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  For let not that man think he shall receive anything of the Lord.  A double minded man is unstable in all his ways – James 1:6-8

– Don’t be double minded or you’ll be falling where you used to stand strong.  Don’t be double-minded or you’ll be talking to yourself, and yet you just can’t get along. – Double Minded, written by Nick Laird-Clowes, sung by The Dream Academy, copyright 1987

In general, physical storms all around this planet are formed by conditions of atmospheric instability.  Two opposite types of air masses collide and then begin spinning around each other.  When they evolve into turbulent tornadoes and hurricanes, the resulting whirlwinds can cause widespread destruction, and it can take years for some to rebuild and recover from.

Storms in the human soul start in a similar fashion. They are formed by conditions of spiritual instability. Two opposite types of life collide when the world and Word meet inside a double mind and begin turbulently spinning around each other.  The ensuing whirlwinds can destroy relationships, including one with Christ. Some can rebuild and recover; but some never do.

“Double minded” comes to us from the Greek word “dipsuchos” meaning a person with two minds or two souls.  It appears just twice in Scripture, both in the book of James (James 1:8, James 4:8).  However, all Christians must fully comprehend what it means at all times, as it is disobedience with fiery consequences forever if left uncorrected (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

If you say you are a Christian, but you often find faith and belief wavering, drifting, spiking, or plummeting – based on how life is going, or not – then you are not walking the right way with God.  You are not being steadfast, straight, confident, and patient on heaven’s narrow path that few find (Matthew 7:14, Hebrews 3:14, Hebrews 10:36).  Double minds prevent this.  .

Spiritual instability is a hallmark of doubting hearts, divided souls, and double minds.  It is a lack of faith, and it is impossible to please God without it (Hebrews 11:6).  Even drawing back from faith a little bit upsets our Father’s soul, as it signals an evil heart of unbelief that cannot save, and puts one on perdition’s perilous and unrighteous road (Hebrews 3:12-19, 10:38-39).

We are not to cast away our confidence, for it has a great recompense of reward (i.e. heaven).  We have need of patience, that after having done God’s will, we might receive this promise (Hebrews 10:36-37). Confidence comes from the Latin “con fidentia.”  It means firmly trusting.  When people start losing it, they can get washed away in a tidal wave of doubt.

They might start questioning aspects of their life in the world, or in the Word.  They may begin opposing or disputing some of God’s truths, even if it’s silently inside the soul (Philippians 2:14).  Objections may be raised and dangerous aspersions could be cast upon Him.  In time, one can get to where they don’t know what or who to believe; a perfect double mind recipe.

Jesus said, “Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them (Mark 11:24).”  However, double-minded believers pray in doubt (1 Timothy 2:8).  Still uncertain and confused as to what being a Christian is all about, their loyalty stays divided between world and Word, usually based upon which one is working out the best.

God won’t tolerate such split service and devotion (1 Corinthians 10:21).  Deviating from the Word in any way, is in err from God’s ways, and our Father warns us many times not to (e.g. James 1:16).  A double mind can be masked with a lot of righteous words in front of the masses for years, but it’s always manifest and naked before the Almighty (Hebrews 4:12-13).

A double-mind exists when God is not in all one’s thoughts – and He knows every one (Ezekiel 11:5). God is fully aware if any person is wavering, slipping, or backsliding in spirit, despite what they declare with their lips (Mark 7:6).  If one is ever like this, it gives place to Satan (Ephesians 4:27), always ready, able, and willing to lead a soul away in err (2 Peter 3:17).

So are mortal men and women disguised as believers following Christ, but who are false teachers lying in wait to deceive us with their cunning craftiness and sleight (Ephesians 4:14).  Hiding immoral, misguided, and ungodly agendas in dissembled hearts.  Grievous wolves trying to draw disciples away after them, and not sparing the flock in the process (Acts 20:29-30).

Satan and false prophets operate slowly and subtly. Because double-minded souls don’t have complete allegiance to God, they fall prey to these pernicious ways (2 Peter 2:1-2).  Then, as the certainty of God’s promises (2 Corinthians 1:20) are questioned more and more because they’re not coming true, their ears get turned to unsound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

Hearing swelling words of vanity sounding good at first, but they fizzle out quickly when the double minded soul realizes they were exactly that – vain. Meaning wasted time because they didn’t produce promised results if one bought a Christian product, read a devotional, followed a prayer plan, etc.  Still, they keep looking for something new to tell or hear.

A very accurate description of a double-minded and divided soul comes from the Scriptural sound website Got Questions as follows (with a couple of personal additions): “They are unsteady and wavering in both character and feelings.  They are quite restless and confused in thoughts, actions, and behavior.  They are always in some sort of conflict with themselves.

Those torn by this type of inner dissension can never lean with any confidence on God and His gracious promises.  They slowly become convinced they are never going to be granted.  Correspondingly, the term unstable is analogous to a drunk unable to walk a straight line, swaying one way – then another.  With no defined direction, they never progress spiritually.

God cannot grant His blessings on the double-minded. Those who mind earthly matters one day (Philippians 3:19), then mind Christ the next.  As Jesus said “No man can serve two masters, for he will hate the one and love the other – or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and Mammon (Matthew 6:24).” (end Got Questions)

Mammon is wealth considered as an evil influence, or a false object of worship and devotion.  Pursuing it debases God.  It is a destabilizing factor causing faith to fluctuate.  Serving Mammon at any time shows Him where affections are really focused.  It tells God one believes there is still a better country down here, than what awaits up above (Hebrews 11:13-17).

We either love God with our whole heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37) or we do not.  There is no middle ground.  As Edwin Chapin once said, “neutral men are the devil’s allies.”  Our Father always knows if He is the only master of anyone’s life.  If not, it puts one on a very dangerous and disastrous path.  It is the broad one leading to destruction (Matthew 7:13).

It is a direction that has to be corrected before it’s too late.  We are to present a singleness of heart towards all people no matter what the situation might be, with one totally undivided soul unto Christ and fearing God always (Ephesians 6:5, Colossians 3:22).  The way to do this is doing what He tells us to do.  This does not mean obedience is easy, but it keeps us out of the pit.

God’s commandments are not grievous (1 John 5:3). They are meant to grow us in grace (2 Peter 3:18).  A single heart cannot keep gravitating back to the world (Philippians 1:23).  Some ways to help stay stable are to meditate on the Word day and night (Joshua 1:8), keeping affections set on things above (Colossians 3:2), and thinking right thoughts (Philippians 4:8-9).

Lastly and most importantly, a double mind is a tell-tale sign of being a false convert or nominal believer. This is a person who’s convinced they are a Christian, but became one by external means.  An example is creating their own criteria based on self-perceptions of goodness (Proverbs 20:6, Mark 10:18), and using a willingness to love and lend as some of the qualifiers.

Instead of the only way by being born again of the Spirit within (John 3:5).  This is when God convicts one with His sorrow about their sin, when there isn’t any doubt in His mind they are ready to repent unto salvation (2 Corinthians 7:8-10).  This is one becomes rooted and grounded in His love (Ephesians 3:16-17) and receives an anchor for the soul (Hebrews 6:19).

Because false converts and nominal believers have not received the gift of the Holy Ghost from God, they cannot say Jesus is Lord of their life (1 Corinthians 12:3).  They have not been returned to the Shepherd of their soul (1 Peter 2:25).  They do not have Christ inside their heart to pull them back into the fold if they begin wavering and straying from the flock.

As Watchman Nee once wrote,, “People with mixed motives, those of a double mind, shall not be able to receive the baptism in the Spirit.”  Their heart is not right with God, and He knows it.  Just like it was with Simon, the sorcerer who said he believed, who’d been baptized in physical water, but who thought the Holy Ghost could be bought with money (Acts 8:13-21).

In closing, regardless of what creates a double mind and keeps it in an unsettled and wavering state of spiritual instability, there is always hope.  It is what faith and salvation are all about (Romans 8:24-25, Hebrews 11:1).  However, only God can balance and steady spiritual ships (like worship) – and keep them moving straight ahead on salvation’s narrow road.

Our Father does not do this automatically as it would negate His free will.  It takes a lot on our part, such as mutually abiding side by side with God every day, and humbly obeying Him unto death just like Jesus (John 15:1-6, Philippians 2:8).  It takes repenting of worldly ways so one does not keep repeating them. Again, this all can’t be done unless one is born again.

Even still, God says “Draw near to Me, and I will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners – and purify your hearts, you double minded (James 4:8).” Only He can draw any lost and alienated spirit to the Cross (John 6:44).  When this occurs, He begins the inner renewal and regeneration of the soul, cleansing sins and purifying hearts continually unto salvation.

To paraphrase Matthew Henry, “Wavering faiths and spirits have bad influences on communications.  When they rise and fall, filled with secondary causes, there’ll be unsteadiness in all behavior.  If having one God to trust, love, and be governed by doesn’t keep a person steady at all times, a double mind exists in a divided soul heading down a very perilous path to damnation.

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KJV and NKJV Scripture:

– But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. – 2 Corinthians 11:3

– The Scriptures were not given to us to confuse us – but to instruct us.  Certainly God intends that we should believe His Word with all simplicity. – M.R. DeHaan

The word simplicity means easy to understand.  It is something comprehensible and not complicated; plain and not perplexing.  Even if it is a detailed process requiring expounding, a simplistic approach makes it much easier to keep things in correct order.  Spiritual simplicity is an existence free from guile or deceit.

Conversely, subtlety is difficulty in understanding, or making elusive or hard to detect.  It is employing deceit to subvert and achieve goals.  One intent of subtlety is to corrupt a process undetected as long as possible.  If someone finally does notice, it’s often too late to reverse or repair the damage already done.

The teachings of Jesus are always correct – but the teachings of the devil are always corrupt.  Satan is the deceiver of this world, the night and day accuser of man (Revelation 12:9-10), and the master of all confusion and illusion.  There is no truth in him (John 8:44), but he can make his lies seem very believable.

Christ’s yoke is easy (Matthew 11:30).  The devil’s yoke yanks Christians around in dozens of directions daily, often duping them into thinking every new fad or doctrine in the church is the proper one to follow. For a while at least, until they find out it all did not satisfy their spirit as advertised (Proverbs 27:20).

Still, Satan remains subtle but pernicious (2 Peter 2:2), a seductive and persistent presence.  Roaring around the world he is the prince of (John 14:30) – as a spiritual lion who does not sleep, seeking souls to devour.  Steadfast Christians in faith are not exempt from his devices (1 Peter 5:8-9, 2 Corinthians 2:11).

Believers who mind earthly matters (Philippians 3:19) and remain entangled in life’s affairs (2 Timothy 2:4), stay ensnared by Satan’s lies, blinding their minds in unbelief from ever seeing the simplicity of truth (2 Corinthians 4:4).  The devil isn’t alone.  He has angels of light and right to help (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).

Unstable, wavering, and straying Christians walk in the err of confusion with God (Ephesians 4:14, James 1:6-8,16, 2 Peter 3:17).  They remain influenced by Satan.  If they turn aside after him (1 Timothy 5:15), they are now unbelievers who’ve departed God, and often see Scripture as contradictory and inconsistent.

These fall prey to itching ears and unsound doctrine. Turning from the truth and swerving to words making it sound as if God should be serving them (2 Timothy 4:3-4, 1 Timothy 1:6-7, Luke 17:7-10).  They also pervert certain passages or verses just so they can justify living in the world much like they always have.

Never realizing Satan or one of his ministers could be preaching from the pulpit (Ephesians 6:12) or sitting in their pews (Revelation 2:13).  So, they continue on in disobedience and unbelief (1 Corinthians 14:33, 1 Peter 2:6-8).  Unsure of what God’s plan is for their life, and frequently doubting if there really is one.

So, they hatch their own plans, and do what is right in their own eyes (Proverbs 14:12).  Making things up to do in their mind (Numbers 16:28) – and hoping God doesn’t mind.  Then, they get confused after as to why things didn’t work together for good (Romans 8:28).  In turn, some simply stop doing anything.

As the lead verse indicates, there is a simplicity in Jesus clearly missing in today’s Christianity and the church.  Our Father is straightforward about many things, giving us commandments to humbly obey until death like Jesus (Philippians 2:8).  These are not recommendations, suggestions, or advice to consider.

This is all so we can keep moving steadily and straight ahead along heaven’s narrow path (Matthew 7:14), if we desire to be made partakers of Christ (Hebrews 3:14).  It is so we follow the process of repentance and do not fall away off course (Hebrews 6:4-6).  This gives place for Satan to set a new one (2 Peter 3:17).

God’s commandments only become confusing or unclear when they interfere with something else a person has already decided they are going to do in the world – or in the Word.  This is how false dreams or lying divinations start.  When people say “The Lord says” and He never spoke to them (Ezekiel 13:6-7).

Tony Khuon once said, “The goal of simplicity is to achieve the lowest amount of complexity – for the highest amount of fulfillment.”  God’s Word is full of simple sounding passages and verses about how He commands us to live as believers.  So our joy may be full, if fellowship truly is with Jesus (1 John 1:3-4).

For example, how to prove His will is found in Romans 12:1-2.  The key to happiness is found in Job 5:17 and Hebrews 12:5-11.  The way to enter His rest is found in Hebrews 4:9-10.  The pathway to a peace passing all understanding is found in Philippians 4:4-7.  And, Joshua 1:8 contains the only key to success.

All the above verses are clearly written and easy to understand.  There isn’t any doubt as to what God is talking about.  One cannot read them and then think, “I wonder what He really means by that?”  However, people with tendencies to over complicate matters in the world – are prone to do the same in the Word.

Unless they allow God to transform their minds daily towards His simple truths, they’ll stay conformed to the world’s way and keep on succumbing to Satan’s trickery (Romans 12:1-2).  They will see Christianity as complex, difficult, and thorny – and Jesus is not. It’s not why Christ wore a crown of thorns at Calvary.

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– But grow in grace, and in the knowledge or our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. – 2 Peter 3:18

– Behold now, Your servant has found grace in Your sight, and You have magnified Your mercy in saving my life. – Genesis 19:19

Grace is unmerited favor.  It gives people something they do not deserve.  It is giving others benefit of the doubt.  It hearing them out about a matter – instead of jumping in with a piece of mind, or to a conclusion and passing judgement too speedily.  It is allowing another person extra time to do something when deadlines have already been set and established.

It was God’s grace that sent His Son to the Cross (Hebrews 2:9), giving Christ something not deserved – death.  So we might live through Jesus (1 John 4:9) and be kept from something we all deserve from birth (2 Corinthians 1:9).  This is called mercy.  Mercy is also unmerited favor.  Mercy is how we make it out of bed each morning of our life (Lamentations 3:22-23).

God will have judgement without mercy upon anyone who shows no mercy to others; for mercy rejoices against judgement (James 2:13).  Christians are to grow in grace and in knowledge of Jesus (lead verse), or else it gives place to Satan (Ephesians 4:27).  It gives him space to lead believers away in err (2 Peter 3:17), if they forget what grace and mercy mean.

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