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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

– You shall not go up and down as a talebearer among the people.  The words of a talebearer are as wounds and go down into the innermost parts of the belly. – Leviticus 19:16 and Proverbs 18:8

– Gossip is the devil’s radio. – George Harrison

“Loose lips sink ships” is a decades-old American idiom that attained wide-spread popularity during WWII.  Originally created by the War Ad Council, it appeared on posters back then put out by the U.S Office of War.  It means beware of unguarded talk, as careless conversations may be of use to any enemy.

Loose lips breed gossipers and busybodies saying words they should not (2 Thessalonians 3:111 Timothy 5:13) – launching seemingly harmless talk such as “Guess what I heard about so-and so?”  We avoid trouble if we keep our mouth (Proverbs 21:23). Gossip means this hasn’t been learned (Psalm 141:3).

Gossip is ungodliness and being disobedient.  It is not having the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).  Jesus didn’t go around spreading rumors, revealing personal secrets (John 2:24-25), or engaging in any chit-chat. Gossip is lots of idle talk.  We will all give an account of every idle word we ever say (Matthew 12:36).

So, what exactly is gossip?  It comes to us from the Old English word “godsibb.”  Up until the mid 1500’s, it meant a familiar acquaintance.  As time passed, its sense was extended to one who “engaged in familiar talk.”  However, by the mid 1800’s, gossip had come to mean trifling talk and spreading groundless rumor.

A gossip is sometimes referred to in Scripture as a talebearer or a busybody.  A Christian busybody is not very disciplined – but one who walks disorderly.  It is one who doesn’t work, for they are more focused on the personal affairs of others, in hopes to find some new thing to gossip about (2 Thessalonians 3:11).

Gossip is unsubstantiated hearsay often revealing juicy secrets one has about another (Proverbs 11:13). It has a way of coming back full circle to the person being gossiped about.  It returns loud and clear to their ears.  Even if whispered to begin with, gossip separates close friends in the end (Proverbs 16:28).

Gossip is frequently spread by a person under the guise of them being knowledgeable about something or someone.  This is how gossip gains a foothold and is able to spread.  However, it is not the same as just exchanging information.  The difference between the two centers on intent and why a person is talking.

Information is helpful, gossip is hurtful.  Gossipers have a secret goal to build themselves up by making others look bad, exalting themselves in the process (Luke 14:11).  They speak of the faults, failings, or shortcomings of other people – revealing potentially embarrassing or shameful details about them.

We are all prone to gossip.  It’s why we have to be very careful as Christians as to what we are filling our souls with, for our hearts will always speak out of their abundance (Luke 6:45).  Still, some are more apt to gossip than others depending on how they were brought up – or where they are now in their life.

Those raised in houses full of strife and busy lives hear more in the way of steady talk than those raised in quiet and reserved atmospheres (Proverbs 17:1). People who grow up in the former might become gossipers early on.  Those brought up in the latter usually let their words be few (Ecclesiastes 5:2).

Others gossip out of boredom.  They always need to see or hear some new thing or person to spike their interest and talk (Acts 17:21).  In several studies, boredom was the #1 reason why young people say they spread rumors.  When everyone is happy and getting along, it’s dull.  Gossip can shake things up.

A third group very susceptible to gossip are widowed women and men who can find too much time on their hands.  Once accustomed to children and spouses around the house, they now have empty hours to fill. Without godly thought as how to spend them, idle walking and talking easily begins (1 Timothy 5:13).

Whisperings is another word for gossip.  Christians engaging in either are in eternal danger.  It is a sign of turning aside after Satan and departing the living God (1 Timothy 5:15, Hebrews 3:12).  God can turn one over to whispering when the devil is served and worshipped more than He is (Romans 1:25,28-29).

Gossip generates slanderous communications and comments.  Slander is evil in every way and corrupts any good manners a person may have (1 Corinthians 15:33).  Being a gossip or slanderer requires one to become a busybody – or have another to be one for them – to provide the proper “dirt” on somebody.

A busybody meddles in the affairs of others.  They snoop and spy, being the investigator for the gossips and rumormongers.  Just like some widowers, people like this are not redeeming their time very wisely (Ephesians 5:15-17).  Being a busybody is just as worthy of death as being a murderer (1 Peter 4:15).

Whatever name we want to call gossip, all of them create a lot of contention in life.  However, just as any fire goes out without wood, so does strife cease when the talebearing stops (Proverbs 26:20).  All gossip is sin.  If we regard it in our heart we will have a hard time getting prayers answered (Psalm 66:18).

Loose lips can sink just as many spiritual ships (e.g. fellowship, discipleship, worship) as they do physical ones.  Careless and uncommitted walks with the Lord lead to careless talk and communications.  Unguarded talk such as gossip gives ample ammunition to our adversary, Satan – so he can devour us (1 Peter 5:8).

This is why it is eternally dangerous for Christians to keep on minding earthly matters (Philippians 3:19), and staying entangled in affairs of this life (2 Timothy 2:4).  It means we will keep listening to Satan’s lies more than God’s truths.  Our walk and talk will follow whoever we are heeding and believing more.

Our words will become our earthly and eternal burden (Jeremiah 23:36).  In the end, we will be justified or condemned by all the things we said in this life – or spread like gossip (Matthew 12:37).  Gossip grieves the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30).  It leaves one still stuck on destruction’s broad path (Matthew 7:13).

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.” – Luke 10:41

If we want to keep Christ in any Christmas, then we keep our love of this world’s things out of it (1 John 2:15).  Otherwise, it is just a catchy slogan about Jesus, without much truthful teeth behind it.  Some people may already be encumbered, perhaps even overcome with many misguided worldly thoughts and financial worries about this impending holiday season.

With hearts and heads already wrapped around the earthly hustle and bustle the last few weeks of each year can bring along with them.  Concluding with the arrival of Santa Claus on Christmas, when more visit emergency rooms than any other day.  When nerves finally get stretched out too far and too tight like an elastic band until they snap from all the strain.

Holidays can press upon a soul and create internal stress before beginning.  A barrage of Christmas ads before Thanksgiving may have already killed the so-called “holiday spirit” in many.  Still, a lot of people will likely feel they “have” to do all kinds of cooking and cleaning, send out cards, put up decorations, trim trees, and go visit special people – or have them visit.

It all harkens back to a story from Scripture about another special visitor.  No, it was not Jolly Ole St. Nicholas – but Jesus.  Christ had entered a certain village where two sisters named Martha and Mary received and welcomed Jesus into their home.  Right away, Martha set about in a whirlwind of busyness – encumbered with much serving around the house.

Most probably fixing a meal, doing some cleaning, and a bit of straightening up.  In the meantime, Mary simply sat at the feet of Christ, listening to the words God’s only Son had to say.  Well, it did not take long for Martha to get a little upset – because Mary wasn’t helping out.  Martha asked Jesus, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to serve alone?”

Christ answered her, “Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.  But one thing is needful, and Mary has chosen the good part which shall not be taken away from her (Luke 10:38-42).”  Matthew Henry once wrote, “Martha was for much serving; plenty, variety, and exactness.  Worldly business is a snare; keeping God’s Word from getting to our souls.”

Every season of Noel can bring mind-numbing and discordant noises not in harmony with heaven, nor in tune with His truth.  Along with laundry lists of what people think they “have” to do – trying to keep as many people pleased as possible (Galatians 1:10).  It can be exhausting if our heart is not right with God. Keeping up appearances; trying to seem “merry.”

Instead of sitting at the feet of Jesus like Mary and hearing what God’s Son has to say (Luke 6:46).  So, if we want to keep Christ in each Christmas, we keep the Word in it – and throughout our lives.  Otherwise, we’re always in danger of being overcome by bondage again to worldly clocks and calendars – observing days, months, times, and years (Galatians 4:9-10).

“The Christmas Guest” is a poem by Helen Rice.  It is about an old widowed man who owned a shop … and who almost missed the message of the season.  As the cock was crowing on Christmas morning, he was told by the Lord to expect His visit that day.  He had been busy getting everything “just right” like Martha did for Jesus.  Now, he waited to hear footsteps.

Sitting quietly inside his festively decorated shop, he listened carefully for any noise outside his window – not wanting to miss the knock heralding the arrival of Jesus.  However, Christ never showed up … or did he? The man rose in anticipation each time he heard a sound outdoors, soon followed by a knock.  Each time, he opened the door to three different visitors.

The first was a shabby beggar clad in ragged clothes looking for better shoes and a warm coat.  After he left, an old woman showed up a short time later, cold and looking for some hot food – and a place to rest (Luke 3:11).  The third visitor was a lost child who had wandered away from her home too far.  Each time the old man helped with a joyful and glad heart.

However, it was now getting very late and he was getting very worried.  Where was Jesus?  Heading off to bed thinking he had misunderstood the message about the promised visit, he prayed for an answer. Jesus replied, “Three times my shadow crossed your floor – three times I came to your lonely door.  For I was the beggar, the woman, and the child.”

The old man had not entertained angels disguised as strangers unaware (Hebrews 13:2), but Jesus himself. The cock crowed that Christmas morning.  However, he did not deny Jesus three times like Peter did – but had acknowledged Christ thrice (Matthew 26:34,75). Will we do the same this season, or will our worldly whirlwinds keep getting in the way (Hosea 8:7)?

Keeping Jesus Christ in our life at all times begins with keeping Jesus Christ in our hearts at all times. We can’t do this without being born again of the Spirit (John 3:5).  So when times like holidays roll around, we don’t put on a show of Christianity.  Rolling our eyes around in our heads as we put on phony smiles and false fronts, or speak fake words of love.

When we receive the gift of the Spirit from above, we become rooted and grounded in His love (Ephesians 3:16-17).  We are returned to the Shepherd of our soul (1 Peter 2:25).  We receive a firm anchor for our spirit (Hebrews 6:19) so we don’t drift to and fro with this world’s motions (Ephesians 4:14) – all entangled in its deceits or cares (Mark 4:19, 1 Peter 5:7).

So production of spiritual fruits He commands begins, as we grow up in His grace (Matthew 3:8, Acts 17:30, Galatians 5:22-23, 2 Peter 3:18).  So we can show all others and God we are learning Christ from the inside out (Ephesians 4:20-32).  So our love is purified as it flows fervently and unfeigned to all, and is no longer purposeful lust (1 Timothy 1:5, 1 Peter 1:22).

So our hospitality is without grudging (1 Peter 4:9). So our charity is cheerful as purposed in our hearts – not out of worldly wants or desires to get something back while on earth (Psalm 23:1, Matthew 6:8, Luke 6:35, 2 Corinthians 8:12-14, 2 Corinthians 9:7).  So God’s grace becomes sufficient always; so the power of Jesus may rest upon us (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Otherwise, keeping Christ in Christmas, or any other season is nothing but a catchy slogan about Jesus with little truthful belief of His Word behind it.  This creates spiritual spikes and dips depending on what calendars dictate.  Leaving holes in the heart to fill up again after holidays are over, unless Jesus and God have truly been there all along (Ephesians 3:19).

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– And through covetousness shall they with feigned words, make merchandise of you.  Whose judgement now of a long time lingers not – and their damnation does not slumber. – 2 Peter 2:3

– And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her – for no man buys their merchandise anymore. – Revelation 18:11

There is never anything new under the sun to God (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10).  Back in the days of Isaiah, nobody judged the fatherless or took care of widows, but everyone loved gifts and followed after rewards (Isaiah 1:23).  There were those during the days of Job who saw no personal profit by serving God.  Also, what was the point of praying if they could not get earthly presents in return (Job 21:15, James 4:3)?

Job himself saw his righteousness as more than God’s – at least in Elihu’s eyes – because Job said, “What profit shall I have if I be cleansed from my sins (Job 35:1-3)?”  There were men during Malachi’s time with a similar mentality – who saw no profit by keeping God’s ordinances and walking mournfully before Him (Malachi 3:14).  Samuel’s sons turned to filthy lucre as soon as he appointed them judges (1 Samuel 8:3).

In Jeremiah, Judah had become saturated in idolatry and immorality.  Deceived to the point they couldn’t conceive of the notion they had turned their temples into dens of robbers – even though God clearly saw it all (Jeremiah 7:11, Hebrews 4:13).  Basically, many in Old Testament days saw no purpose in worshipping God and walking in accordance with His way, unless there was something “in it” for them (Luke 17:7-10).

Some type of tangible earthly profit or gain to touch or see – otherwise what was the point of serving God? Sound familiar?  Doesn’t it sound like a lot of worldly lust and covetousness – completely void of God’s love despite any lip service claims to the contrary (Ezekiel 33:31, Mark 7:6)?  It was much more of the same in the New Testament (lead verse, Titus 1:11) – and it is certainly no different in far too many places today.

Much of the Christian landscape in the modern world appears to have turned into one giant shopping mall. Multitudes of merchandise to mull over, and plenty of purchases to ponder are available for the masses to contemplate on a daily basis – and even the foyers of some Sunday sanctuaries are not safe.  It is ungodly. It is in alignment with the worldly and Babylonian system of buying and selling as a steady way of life.

Believers entangled in such a setup can often feel like they have to open their pocketbooks and wallets on a regular basis to keep buying the latest and greatest CD’s by Christian artists – to keep their spirits lifted. Instead of speaking to themselves in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs – singing and making melody in their heart to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19).  The former always has a price tag – the latter is always free.

Christians can also get caught up in paying money to hear those people who are maybe being touted as the hottest speakers on the Christian preaching/teaching circuit.  Perhaps promising to reveal revolutionary and new ways for a winning Christian walk; instead of the believer being led by the Spirit (Romans 8:1).  This is so God can freely teach them His way without any lie; without them having to pay any price (1 John 2:27).

If we are born-again, then we have been bought with a precious price – the blood of Christ.  We have been reconciled back to God through the Cross – meaning we are now completely in agreement and alignment with His ways (Ephesians 2:13-16).  It is no longer the Babylonian way found throughout the Bible – but with His found in the same book.  The former is for earthly gain and profit; the latter is for eternal.

Therefore, Christians are to be chargeable to no man – lest others charge that we are preaching, teaching, writing, singing, etc. about God – merely for worldly profit (2 Corinthians 11:9, 1 Thessalonians 2:9).  We are to buy His truth from above in our soul, and not sell it with a price tag attached below.  This includes the marketing of any godly wisdom, instruction, or understanding we have acquired (Proverbs 23:23).

We are to be content with such things as we have at all times – including our wages (Hebrews 13:5, Luke 3:14).  If we spend any of our brief existence here on this earth (James 4:14) attempting to exact any more than God has already appointed to us (Luke 3:13), we have uncorrected greed/gain issues to confess.  Left unaddressed, we trouble our house, God’s, and all of His flock (Proverbs 15:27, Isaiah 56:10-11).

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and it is profitable for doctrine … not for the sound of dollars and profit (2 Timothy 3:16).  However, who’s going to preach, write, teach, or sing against such things, if they’re involved in the Babylonian system of selling God for gain?  If so, they have not departed from such iniquity, nor have they been sanctified – purged from such dishonor to His name (2 Timothy 2:19-21).

To be meet for our Master’s use and prepared unto His every good work – all that He requires of us is a humble and obedient heart just like Jesus had until death (Philippians 2:8, 2 Timothy 2:21).  Our Father will then thoroughly furnish everything we require to do His work along the way, including finances (2 Timothy 3:17).  We are to always be content with food to eat and clothes to wear (1 Timothy 6:8).

The only time Christ was recorded as getting angry was when he went into the temple of God and cast out those who bought and sold within (Luke 19:45). Overthrowing the tables of the money changers, and upsetting the seats of the dove sellers (Mark 11:15). These people had turned God’s house of prayer into a house of profit – a deceitful den of greedy thieves and grievous wolves (Matthew 21:13, Acts 20:29).

There is an old Latin saying of “caveat emptor” – or “let the buyer beware” in English.  It means that the purchaser of any product assumes the risk it may fail to meet expectations or have defects.  Christians who fall victim to the Babylonian way of merchandising the gospel – are not being aware of evil and disobedient workers walking with God to attain worldly wealth for themselves (Romans 10:21, Philippians 3:2).

Believers deceived by Satan’s devices succumb to minds thinking spiritual growth, unwavering faith, and steadfast belief can only be obtained and maintained by spending money and emptying pockets.  It does not create an equality among all (Ecclesiastes 5:9, 2 Corinthians 8:13-14).  It is following the wide road of commerce to destruction – not Christ’s narrow path to heaven (second lead verse, Matthew 7:13-14).

For the sellers it is a different story … for they have run greedily after the err of Balaam for reward, and in the gainsaying way of Core (James 1:16, Jude 1:11, Numbers 16:24-40).  Making money off of God’s free gospel is the bane of any relationship with Christ.  If the sellers do not soon remove themselves from the Babylonian way, their damnation might not slumber or linger too much longer (lead verse).

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. – 2 Peter 2:20

– “Wherefore, come out from among them and be separate,” says the Lord. – 2 Corinthians 6:17

Most of us have probably experienced the frequent frustration of attempting to untangle Christmas lights. It can be an extremely tedious and time-consuming process.  Even though we finally strung them out and hung them on our tree last year, and all the wires and lights seemed to be straightened out then, they have since managed to sit in some storage place and twist themselves into a tangled pile again for this year.

The word tangle means to twist into a confused mess, physically or spiritually.  Entanglement can start at any point in this process.  It means to not only get caught up in the snarled mess it makes, but finding it very difficult and sometimes very painful to escape. However, it’s far easier to untangle Christmas tree lights each year – than to ever finally separate and escape from years and years of life’s entanglements.

Christ did not hang upon the Cross for us to live like this.  However, only God can make straight again the crooked course He first created for us to travel upon this earth (Ecclesiastes 7:13).  This means we must walk His narrow and untangled path of truth all the way to heaven; and few find it.  The broad road to destruction’s door is paved with plenty of Satan’s likeable lies to get tangled up in (Matthew 7:13-14).

There is never anything new to God (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10).  The world system today is no different from the Babylonian one existing all throughout the Bible.  It is a murky world of merchandise and purchase in where people love gifts and follow after rewards (Revelation 18:2,11, Isaiah 1:23).  A life where one always has to pay some sort of price to maintain a continued sense of satisfaction or gratification (Proverbs 27:20).

Either through spending money, sins of the flesh – or sometimes a mixture of both.  It is a steadily flowing stream of alluring pleasures (James 5:5), loveable lies, and subtly seductive temptations – all having a physical, emotional, or spiritual price tag attached. We know there are those who will go whoring after prostitutes or gigolos, but it is harder to admit when we go whoring after the way of Babylon (Hosea 9:1).

The world tells us the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.  We just have to keep finding out where the fence is first – then figure out what is so much better beyond it for us to leave our side.  Still, some will always need to see, hear, or have some new thing (Acts 17:21) – even in Christianity.  Some revolutionary or exciting product, self–help program, or investment program to buy or try (2 Peter 2:3)

This all creates a twisting and turning road of near constant confusion – as the world presents one angle, then a different one to keep people deeply entangled and entrenched in its ways.  The longer this path of merchandise and purchase is pursued and followed, the more frustrating and time-consuming it can be to untangle from.  As always, the prince of this world is the pitchman holding the pitchfork (John 14:30).

As John Ritenbaugh writes, “The result is an unhappy world held hostage by the Babylonian system having its roots in human nature.  Because of this, it feeds right into inner desires for frequent changes and a variety of adventures as the answers to fulfillment in life.  It promotes contentment in the possession of material things (Luke 12:15), having much fun and excitement, and a variety of religious experiences.”

Ritenbaugh continues: “Its major fruits are easily seen in both the world and church these days as confusion of purpose, competition, disharmony, and disunity abound all around (1 Corinthians 14:33, 2 Corinthians 10:12, Ephesians 4:3).  Far too many Christians are still clearly tangled up in the world’s web – separating themselves from each other, from the Spirit, and love of God by doing so (Jude 1:19).”

In conclusion, Ritenbaugh writes, “None of these factors gives a lasting sense of peace, fulfillment, or abundance according to God’s ways, because they’re not in harmony with His purposes.  They only produce short bursts of satisfaction.  Israel was often warned by God about such proclivity.  Still, they remained disastrously careless and curious – full of discontent, unsettled, and impatient ‘grass is greener’ yearnings.”

We are all in bondage to the world right from the womb (Galatians 4:3).  Caught up in its pollutions of idolatry (Acts 15:20), blinded by the devil’s lights (2 Corinthians 4:4), and tangled in his labyrinth of lies. Born as corrupt beings of flesh and blood who cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven by staying this way (1 Corinthians 15:50).  Unless we are spiritually reborn before we die, worldly chains cannot be broken.

We can’t be born again of the Spirit until God knows our hearts and minds have finally had it – fed up with always to trying live in alignment and agreement with the world’s ways.  Tired of longing for, living for, and loving its things we can’t take with us (1 Timothy 6:7, 1 John 2:15).  Otherwise, God knows we will only be sorry about sin for a season; and we will not be ready to repent unto salvation (2 Corinthians 7:8-10).

When we are born again of the Spirit, it is a baptism of fire from above (Matthew 3:11).  It is an intense and complete purging of our hearts and minds from heaven, as God burns up all the worldly clutter within, untangling all the lines of Satan’s lies.  It’s an instant and clean escape from the world – but it is far from being permanent.  We still have to live in this world, surrounded by a daily smorgasbord of temptations.

The prince of this world (John 14:30) is going to do all in his power to prevent us from getting to a place he can never return to again – heaven.  Once salvation’s seed is sown with the Spirit – Satan gets busy.  When the Pharaoh oppressed Israel, he wanted to suppress their thoughts towards God by getting them so busy in the steady production of bricks, they wouldn’t have any time to do anything for Him (Exodus 5:7-9).

Satan operates in much the same way.  Wanting us to get so caught up barging through busy days – trying to “do it all” – we barely have time to breathe; much less keep God in all of our thoughts.  This is the same type of prideful countenance as Satan’s (Psalm 10:4). This is how we can easily fall into condemnation with our Father (James 3:1), and how we can embark on a path to destruction (Ecclesiastes 7:16).

Although we become rooted and grounded in God’s love upon being born again, so spiritual fruits meet for repentance can be produced (Ephesians 3:16-17, Matthew 3:8, Galatians 5:22-23), worldly weeds can quickly creep back in.  Without zealously repenting of our sins daily, so God can continually regenerate our souls by the Holy Ghost, unrighteousness takes root once again (Revelation 3:19, Titus 3:5).

The daily cares of this world, deceitfulness of riches, and lusts of other things entering in – can choke the Word (Mark 4:19).  This is how ungodly worries and wants stress the spiritual soil of our hearts and minds (1 Peter 5:7, Psalm 23:1).  Making them unfruitful – and producing wrong roots for unrighteous works of the same kind (Titus 3:8,14).  Satan is always ready to be their constant gardener (James 3:16).

There is more.  The liberty we have in Jesus frees us from the fear of death we are in bondage to all our lives (Hebrews 2:15).  It is not heavenly authority to do whatever we want in the world or Word until we actually do die.  Misuse of our liberty like this is an abuse of God’s grace (Romans 6:1-2,15).  It also trods Christ under our feet by counting the blood of the new covenant as unholy (Hebrews 10:29).

It means we are not standing or holding fast in our faith or liberty with Jesus – thereby allowing ourselves to become entangled with a yoke of bondage to this world again (Philippians 4:1, 1 Thessalonians 3:8, Galatians 5:1).  How do we repent according to the Word, if we are still repeating the world (Revelation 3:3)?  The latter means we are using our liberty for ungodly things (Galatians 5:13, 1 Peter 2:16).

If we keep minding earthly matters, and making our bellies and bank accounts god (Philippians 3:19), and continue getting ourselves entangled in the affairs of this life (2 Timothy 2:4) – we’re still lost in the dark despite any light we think is inside us (Luke 11:35). We are still ignorant of Satan’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).  It will so be easy for him to snatch us in his snares, and take us captive at will (2 Timothy 2:26).

The devil can certainly keep us all snarled up in the world, and in our souls – and has his angels of light and righteousness to assist in hiding God’s light from us (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).  However, we also must be careful about being deceived by man’s vain words (Ephesians 5:6) – who through lusts of the flesh and much wantonness – allure those who have cleanly escaped – back into worldly bondage (2 Peter 3:18).

In summation, if we allow Satan to keep us tangled up in the world by staying ignorant of his devices (2 Corinthians 2:11), we are being disobedient to God. We are not repenting as commanded of ways keeping us all wrapped up in the confused mess this world creates each day (Acts 17:30).  It would be better if we had not known the way of righteousness – than known it – and turned away (2 Peter 2:21-22).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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