Sunday, January 11, 2015

Section 6: Spiritual Dynamics: Satan, And The Dark Economy

The Correct World View

           In any drama, even the redemptive drama, there must be an antagonist...  

            Long ago, in a perfect place, a voice was heard making promises. It was a smooth voice, as articulate as a scholar, and as affable as a pleasant friend. Essentially, it whispered this temptation, “I can show you a better way forward which will change everything. All you have to do is ignore your fears and believe in your own potential.

            “You can then cast off the divine restrictions and begin to decide good and evil for yourself. At that point, your life will truly become your own. And, you can pursue personal gratification in whatever way seems good to you.” (Ref. A Paraphrase of Genesis 3:1-7)

            But, as they always are, Satan’s seductive promises to the first couple in the Garden of Eden were entirely deceptive. Indeed, everything did change. But, those changes were in no way positive, as promised. 

            Instead, mankind’s blissful existence in paradise was immediately lost. And, we became entirely broken – and brokenhearted. Death became an invariable part of the human existence. And real and intimate access to our benevolent Creator became a thing of the past. 

            And, no doubt, at the end of it all, Satan’s dark voice could again be heard laughing with sinister satisfaction. “See,” the old serpent must surely have quipped, “everything has changed – just as I promised.” And, for the very first time, mankind tasted the deep bitterness of what it means to be a very great fool. 

The Bi-dimensional View 


            Since the bitterness of that early moment, God has shown us that the correct world view is a view of life with two dimensions – the Physical Dimension and the Spiritual (or Metaphysical) Dimension. He has also shown us that in the Physical Dimension, where we are now living, there are really only two Prime Movers – God and Satan. 


            So, let’s briefly explore this larger, bi-dimensional life view. Doing so will enable us to better grasp the real context of God’s friendship. But, it will also enable us to better understand and anticipate the adversaries of that friendship: Satan, and the dark economy which he heads. 

            Let’s just begin with the basics. Indeed, the complete picture of life is composed of these two dimensions. The Physical Dimension (this physical life) is the smaller and more finite dimension. And, the Spiritual Dimension is the infinitely larger dimension of life. 

            Perhaps when trying to explain faith, especially to outsiders, should one use the word “Spiritual” some might be inclined to whisper this little sneer under their breath, “Whatever that means.” And perhaps rightly so, because, in truth, the metaphysical dimension is far less familiar to most, than is this physical realm. 

            And, in fact, how could it not be? Our physical senses are completely inadequate to even perceive, much less, carefully research this much more ethereal dimension of life. So, we are really left with only the clues in God’s Word regarding this larger aspect of our existence. But, we do gain very key facts from those revelations.

 

There Is A Connection


            For example, we do get that the metaphysical dimension is a much less touchable and observable type of existence. And, we also understand that it, nevertheless, completely envelopes, and is thoroughly integrated into the daily workings of this physical dimension. (Ref. John 4:24 / Ephesians 6:12 / 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 / 2 Thessalonians 2:9)

            Thus, the metaphysical is operating unseen, all around us every day. And, the superseding realities of this larger life are constantly affecting us – even though we may be mostly oblivious to the subtle complexities of this binary existence. But, this impactful connection is not really so hard to notice when we become alert to its existence.

 

The Great Conflict

            Take, as the prime example, the constant tension between good and evil which exists in this physical world. This reality has long been self-evident. But, in fact, this condition actually originates in the metaphysical sphere as the conflict between God and Satan. It then simply reverberates from there into this physical dimension, via that intimate interconnection between the two, to become an important aspect of both. 

            So, let’s consider, very particularly, this important aspect of the bi-dimensional life view. This “Cosmic Conflict” between God and Satan is actually too important not to discuss in some detail. And, this discussion necessarily begins with a look at the important “players” in the conflict.

The “Prime Movers” And Their Children

            As mentioned earlier, in the correct world view, there are only two Primary Influences in this physical domain. The first, of course, is God. His influence is the expression of all that is good in the world including truth, love, morality and order. The Godly influence always promotes an agenda of true goodness. 

            The second primary influence in the world is Satan’s. His influence is the expression of all that is evil in the world. It encompasses all that is dark, deceptive, harmful and chaotic. This satanic influence is never straightforward, or honest, or truthful - though it always initially presents itself as all of those things. 

            So, God and Satan are the “main players” in this great conflict. And, with their completely opposed agendas, each is competing to become the primary interpreter - the one who authoritatively determines truth in this physical reality. The rest of us are merely subscribers to, and supporters of, one or the other of their more primary voices. 

The Children


            Thus, whenever any of us express our own influence in the world, verbally or otherwise, we are really only giving amplification to one of these more primary voices. And, though we may believe that we are acting purely in our own interest, this is never really the case. Rather, in all that we do or say, we are actually giving support to one or the other of these two more primary influences. 

            So, as we exert our influence in our own way, we then, by those words and actions, make ourselves the “influential offspring” of one or the other of these two prime influences. And, this idea of our being the influential child of God or Satan is easily confirmed in the Bible. 

            Jesus exposed this idea with great clarity. Among other places, He did so in a conversation recorded in the Bible with some who were opposing His teachings during His earthly ministry. Jesus said, “I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.” 

            “They answered and said to Him, ‘Abraham is our father.’  

          “Jesus said to them, ‘If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now, you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father.' 

           “Then they said to Him, ‘We were not born of fornication; we have one Father--God.

            “‘If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.

            “‘Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 

            “‘But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.’” (Ref. John 8:38-47 NKJV)

Now, Back To Values

            These words from Jesus bring us back to the earlier idea values. Essentially, Jesus was letting these people know why they could not recognize or understand God’s truth. It was because they had rejected the divine values which distill that truth in favor of the values of their influential father, Satan. Thus, they were deafened to God’s interpretations of reality by their Satan-based values. 

            So, Jesus points out here that, as a result, they had become the children (the influential offspring) of Satan. And, indeed, it is easy to identify the character essence of God’s children and that of Satan’s children. Those identities are always established by which of those prime value systems we employ to assess and interpret reality.

            So, if through Christ, we embrace God’s values and thus His correct interpretation of reality (truth), we become a product (a child) of His influence. On the other hand, when we decide to self-interpret life, we have, by that decision, embraced the prime tenet of Satan’s value system (Self-determination) – and thus, we make ourselves the delusional offspring of his influence.

 

In Summary

            So, this is the way of things. There are these two diametrically opposed primary influences in the world, God and Satan. And, they are driven by two entirely different value systems which produce entirely different views (interpretations) of reality. And each of us is influentially identified by the values to which we subscribe and actually employ to determine truth – whether they are God’s values or those Satan-prompted, self-determinant values.

The Light And The Darkness


            Over time, we have come to label the differing economies which stem from God’s view of life and Satan’s view of life as simply, the Light and the Darkness, respectively. The simple meaning of the word, “Light,” as it is figuratively used in the Bible refers to, the divine values and the truth they distill, or an awareness of the same. Thus, the figurative idea of the “Darkness” becomes the absence of those things. 


The Satanic Economy

            So, let’s now look at this satanic economy: peopled by the children of the Darkness. Again, these are those who are duped by Satan’s treacherous pitch for self-sufficiency. Now, motivated by that value, these people of the Darkness, assert a personal sovereignty, as described earlier, over their own lives. And this assertion of their right to self-determine actually becomes the universal identifier of those who belong to the “Dark Economy.”


            And, this personal sovereignty, which so clearly identifies the subscribers to the Darkness, is always initiated in the same way. It is done by making one’s own self-developed value system the highest interpretive authority in life. This was Satan's “Eden Prescription” for Adam and Eve, and through them, for mankind. So, always, when it comes to interpreting life’s day-to-day issues, the children of the Darkness refer to their own Satan-inspired, self-concentric value system. 

            Yet, this independent approach to life remains nothing more than it was in the Garden of Eden. It is still only a deceitful misdirection, based in a lying satanic whisper, which causes the gullible to entrust themselves to themselves instead of to God.

            And, it is this devilish delusion of self-sufficiency which Christ’s redemptive love continues to target. His intention is to draw to Himself, in love, those who have embraced this life approach, to set them free from the deceptive and destructive attraction of this idea. Thus, Jesus would say on one occasion, about those who would respond to His loving outreach, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (Ref. John 8:32 NKJV)

Again, It’s About Influence


            When viewed in its simplest terms, this conflict between God and Satan is, indeed, entirely about Influence. Remembering that Influence is always all about the power to shape reality to your own designs (to be in control), it becomes obvious that this is exactly what God and Satan are competing to do in this world. 

            God, would establish a physical reality that is shaped by His benevolent interpretation of good and evil. And, Satan would have a reality which is spun according to his sinister specifications. Thus, both are simply intending to exert their influence upon this physical reality to shape it to their own designs.

            And, the surrounding basics are these. God is the almighty and all-knowing Creator who has brought all things into being. Thus, He is the only legitimate ruler over His creation. And, in reality, He, as the all-knowing and all-powerful Creator is the only being who is actually equipped for and capable of filling this complex governing role. And, He intends to do so in a way which brings true and enduring goodness to the whole of His creation. 

            However, as already mentioned, reality can, indeed, be interpreted in infinitely varied ways in opposition to God’s interpretation.  Therefore, in stark contrast to God’s benevolent intentions, Satan’s selfish intention is to simply achieve his own supremacy over this world and those who people it. And, he is completely careless of the cost in human suffering to achieve this end.

The Satanic Strategy Of Conquest 

            As Satan has pursued this control over the physical world through the ages, his deceptive strategy has, by this late hour in history, become fairly transparent. Step one was simply to first reject God’s interpretative authority and assert The Right to Self-Interpretation for himself and those angels who would follow his lead. 

 
            Then, beginning in the Garden of Eden, he sought to deceive mankind into embracing this same idea. And, this strategic deception to gain man’s philosophical alliance in the idea of self-determination had, and has, a simple purpose. It is to defeat God’s influence in the heart of man.  This then leaves only Satan’s own chaotic whispers in a one’s mind to deceive and delude – thereby actually giving Satan control, while maintaining the illusion that the individual is free to choose his own path and control his own destiny – and that, with impunity.  But, in reality – not hardly.


            Thus, from the moment of that first temptation in the Garden of Eden, man’s God-given capacity and freedom to make moral choices has been twisted by Satan into a perverted and seditious battle cry for the, so called, “right” of self-determination. And, from that time, he has continued to constantly cultivate this rebellious illusion in this world.

 

            So, this insurrection of the Darkness is simply one which, at its core, simply opposes God’s interpretative authority, His right to establish the divine truth as the correct interpretation of reality, for mankind.  And, Satan’s chief strategy for this world is, then, to simply dupe as many as he possibly can into opposing Gods good intentions for mankind by convincing them to, instead, embrace the self-sovereign lifestyle which Satan touts.  And, in that interest, his seditious whispers are always, essentially, the same.  This is your life. Therefore, you should be the one to decide what’s good for you and what you would reject. You really are your own best hope for personal fulfillment.

            So, it becomes fairly obvious that, when the facts are all in, this conflict between the Light and the Darkness, into which humanity has now also been swept up, is, indeed, a conflict about influence.  And, for humanity, that reality begs a very simple and a very individualized question. 

 

            As the now rank and file players in this conflict, it simply becomes incumbent on each of us to decide with whom we will invest our own “influential weight.”  Will we, in faith, confide our personal influence to God through our embrace of the Lordship of Christ?  Or, will we choose to be self-determined and remain self-sovereign, thereby serving Satan’s delusional cause?

 

The True Nature of Satan’s Darker Lifestyle Offering

            And, about that decision, it really should be made in the light of full disclosure.  And, in that light, this self-sufficient life approach becomes not nearly so attractive – even discounting the eventual destruction of one’s soul.  It is, in fact, easily shown to be one which is always, even now, very burdensome and very draining.  And, it is always marked by what might be called the, “Loneliness in a Crowd Syndrome.”

 

First, The Draining Burden

 

            These very real negatives are made to be so, simply by the essential nature of this satanic approach. It is burdensome because it makes us entirely responsible, not only for our moment-to-moment success or failure, but also, ultimately, for our own survival. 

 

            Unavoidably, the “Onemanship” of the self-determined life approach keeps us always “out front” in life, in a very exposed position.  Our every decision has up close and very personal consequences, all to be managed only by our own limited resources. 

 

            The ultimate idea of this Satan-sponsored approach where one truly becomes the “Long Ranger” is this, It’s your “back,” cover it the best way you can – or not at all.  Just do as you please.  It is this freedom to gratify our own whims which Satan uses to bait each new generation.  But, there is a hidden hook in that bait.

 

            It is true, at least in the short term, that the self-determined approach does leave you free to make your own decisions and chart your own course.  Indeed, everything is up to you.  But, the hook is that everything is also – on you. And, this constant exposure is not only a lonely one, but also a very depleting one.  It produces an unrelenting background pressure which, ultimately, just enslaves us to the demands of our own self-preservation.

 

Then There’s That “Crowded Loneliness”

 

            This product of the “me-concentric” nature of Satan’s suggested approach to life is an exaggerated competitiveness.  It is exaggerated in the sense that it is psychologically ever present and untempered by God’s good mediating influence. So, this underlying “me perspective” is always there, tending to create inter-relational discord, especially with others who are moved by this same, divinely untempered “me agenda.” 

 

            Thus, from the general public, to their co-workers, to friends, and even their spouse, the self-determined encounter this underlying relational tension – sometimes milder, sometimes more extreme – as they attempt to establish their own way about things in the day-to-day circumstances.  So, their days are ever attended by this higher level of relational abrasion which tends to push apart instead of draw together.

 

 

The Better Way

 

            So, we’ve now seen the basic ideas, the essential mechanics, of this cosmic war between God and Satan which has so dramatically affected the whole of the human family. But, in the course of our everyday existence, this conflict is usually perceived, not so much in terms of these specific underlying mechanics, but more in terms of simply the feel of our lives, the quality, or lack thereof, in our daily existence. 


            And certainly, standing in stark contrast to the draining tension of the satanic, all-on-you approach to life there is God’s alternative faith approach.  Indeed, there is this very real, and comforting, and personal embrace which God offers through one’s metaphysical merger with the Living Christ.  And, from that warm and very real interpersonal embrace comes a thorough reprieve from those lonely struggles of self-preservation.  Rather, in Christ, a growing synergistic confidence and a profound peace becomes the daily matrix of our life.  These are simply the foundational products produced by this loving league of two with the Living Christ. 

            Thus, the living Savior, empowering from within, truly becomes our means of escape from the relentless pressures of that “onemanship” of the self-interpreted life. We are, by God’s grace (innate goodness) liberated through the Living Christ from those previous dark and lonely patterns of life. We are set free from the devilish lies and treacherous delusions which have, before, led only to a reality of hollowed out hopes and dreams. 

 

            And, embracing God’s love and values through this character integration with Christ means that God’s children never walk alone.  Indeed, as we share in the living character essence of Christ, we will never again face another life challenge without the benefit of His friendship – operating either in the background or the foreground of our life circumstance.

 

            It means that we will never have to face even one more day, depending only upon our self, forsaken to the dilemma of your own weaknesses. Rather, to embrace this life-changing personal merger with Christ is to know a truly durable and empowering friendship which dramatically elevates the basic quality of one’s daily life.   

            When we can walk around in the context of this constant divine reassurance: I love you; and I’ve got your back, it allows us to assume a much more manageable and comfortable level of responsibility in and for our own well-being.  Thus, Jesus would say, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Ref. Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV)

            So, we can afford to take advantage of this invitation to confide the heavy lifting to Jesus simply because we understand that He is managing for us on the larger plane of life.  And, having confidence in His graceful love, we are simply able to confide ourselves to the higher competency of His divine friendship.

With Both Limits and Latitude


            Certainly, when it comes to relaxing our own grip and offering control of our life to God in this way, there are some issues which are already completely settled. Indeed, in a relationship with The Holy God, there are some issues which neither allow for, nor require, a lot of discussion. These are typically the big moral issues such as “Thou shalt do no murder,” etc. Obviously, no need for a lot of superfluous gab here. 

            So, the “Big 10” and other clear and important moral directives in the Bible are, indeed, ever settled issues. All that really remains in this case is to whole-heartedly embrace these in Christ as a part of the divine value system. 

            But, life has many more issues than just these pinnacle moral issues. And, from this remaining multitude of everyday situational concerns and questions, flows a loving and transformative give-and-take with our Creator and Divine Parent. And this honest and loving interaction, in effect, becomes an important part of that relational discovery process which enlarges our view of God and deepens and broadens our appreciation of who He really is. 

            And, this daily relational access and exchange is also the means by which we are matured in Christ. This is that time-based transformative process, mentioned earlier. It is this daily exchange which brings full definition to the new value system which Christ brings to us in infant form through our metaphysical merger with Him. 

            So, in our friendship with God through Christ, it is not that He demands that we entirely abdicate all direction of our own lives. In fact, nothing could be further from His true intention. 

            Our capacity to make intellectual and moral decisions is what distinguishes us as a creature.  And, God, Himself, built that capacity into us as a distinctive enhancement to our species. So, it has always been His intention that we grow exponentially in that capacity and constantly employ it in our daily decision making. 

            But certainly, it was never God’s intention that this capacity should become self-contained and twisted into a rebellious wedge of self-determination to separate us from His love and daily friendship. Rather, when it comes to these daily interactions, God’s simple intent is that, in the living Christ, we grow to be increasingly articulate in our proper discernment of life’s issues based in our growing awareness and embrace of the divine values and the truth they distill.

 
            And so it is, that in our growth and discovery process involving our Divine Father there are both limits and latitude.  It is an interaction which absolutely thrives within the relational latitudes of love and faith and respect for His authority – allowing for broad personal expressions. But, true love, true faith, and true respect, by design, never rise to the level of actually challenging God’s ultimate authority, His final say, over every issue of life. 

            And, in truth, in a healthy relationship with God, our interactions rarely come anywhere near the place where He is required to “put His divine foot down.”  However, certainly, even in Christ, a circumstance can occasionally go there – especially in the early years of our discovery and growth. But, as time goes by and our maturity in Christ does, indeed, grow, those instances tend to simply fade away in the face of a growing heart-oneness with Him. 

            In spite of how the Darkness paints it, such intense confrontations are just simply not the everyday norm in our relationship with God. Once we truly embrace God, as God, eventually, we rarely have to be reminded that He is.  And so, the truer reality is that most of our days are merely spent enjoying Him and all that He brings to our life.

It’s Just Love Finding Its Way

            I can remember an incident with my own Dad which has become, for me, a very good, flesh-and-blood example of this kind of positive relational interaction. This incident involved an impatient 17 year old (me) who was ready to own the road in his very own first car. So, I set my mind to convince my Dad that, “It’s time.”

            As I was preparing my thoughts on the matter, the good context of our relationship allowed me to never doubt that my Dad loved me and wanted the best for me. I also never doubted that, ultimately, he was absolutely on my side; and that, when we sat down, we would just be settling and clarifying the details of what that meant – in this instance. 


            I was also very clear on the limits involved in what was about to take place.  I knew that there was absolutely no future in going out of bounds in my upcoming presentation. “Out of bounds” was the place where disrespect for my Dad’s ultimate parental authority lived. You could push my Dad’s love buttons all day in pursuit of your goals. But, you dare not push that disrespect button even once. 

            So, by my seventeenth year, we had both become fairly comfortable with this relational brinksmanship. In fact, within the safe boundaries of our love and respect for each other, we actually, I think, both enjoyed managing life together in this way. 

            And, I learned.  In a thousand ways through this give-and-take, my Dad invited me to see a more adult perspective on life, and to better understand manhood and what that role really entailed. So, always I grew, as my “immature” bumped up against my Dad’s “very mature.”  And, I truly did come to appreciate, all the more, who he really was through this process.

            But, for me, tonight’s upcoming discussion was not so much about any of that stuff.  It was just about getting some wheels – ASAP. So, I spent the day getting ready (i.e. thinking again and again what I might say) in the contest to come that evening.

            My Dad worked swing shift in those days. And, he would typically arrive home around 10:30 PM. So, sitting around the kitchen table while he ate a light bedtime snack had gradually become the negotiating venue of these little summit talks. Thus, at the earliest possible second after he was seated on this night, I started in on my agenda. 

            But, as soon as I started, my Dad raised his big hand to stop me. Obviously, as Dad’s are known to do, he had seen what was coming through those eyes in the back of his head. So, it would seem he had also been putting his presentation together in anticipation of mine.

            Thus, as it turned out, this time, he got the first word. He said, “Now, just wait a minute. Before you start, I just want to ask you one question: Have I ever, in your whole life, advised you wrongly?”

            Well, for a brief second, I thought I had him. Obviously, all I had to do was point out one significant incident where he had been fallible, and I would gain huge standing in this discussion. 

            But, wouldn’t you know it. For the life of me, I had nothin’.  I would have given almost anything to be able to come up with even one significant error on his part. But, absolutely nothing came.

            Long story short, Dad already had a plan for my driving future which was much sounder than mine. And, by the time he finished his outline, it even impressed me. 

            However, as you might expect of a seventeen year old, I tried very hard not to let that part show. Nevertheless, even though Dad’s plan involved a short waiting period (the hard part), it did end with his agreement to help me get my first brand new car (the really good part).

            Dad and I had a lot of these “summits” over the years. And sometimes my point of view did prevail. And sometimes he carried the day.


            And, sometimes, I think probably most of the time, things ended in a very embraceable compromise, as on this occasion. But, whatever the outcome, I can see now that I was always benefited by those relational exchanges.


            And, I have now had more than a few of these with my own four children as they were growing up. And, out of all of those exchanges, some – pretty intense, and others – not so much, sometimes I prevailed, and sometimes my love and respect for them enabled their point of view to prevail. 

            This is just the good way of loving relationships composed of both limits and latitude. And, when it’s done right, always, discovery happens. And, that discovery, within the bounds of love and respect, then deepens our appreciation for each other. Thus, the bonds of the relationship are strengthened.  And this is true, whether we’re talking father/ son, or God/ man. 

            So, when it comes to His children, God is not, after all, the narrow minded autocrat which Satan and too many presumptuous unbelievers would make Him out to be. He is, in truth, a loving and devoted “Raiser” of His respectful children.  And, He is perfectly willing to listen and respond to their questions, and their requests.  And, He is certainly anxious to hear and respond to their point of view on any legitimately debatable issues which might arise in the relationship.



So, Both Mechanics And Feel

            So, beyond the mechanics which govern the spiritual economies of the Light and the Darkness, there also arises this very real, and simple, and heartwarming everyday feel of our relationship with God. And, it is probably safe to say that most people perceive God, and the metaphysical life dimension in this mostly intuitive way. Certainly, fewer, by far, go to the trouble to carefully search out the underlying mechanics of these more intuitive perceptions. 

            Nevertheless, as we consider this great conflict between God and Satan, it becomes obvious that understanding those mechanics is actually a huge help. When we note the treachery of the Darkness, it becomes clear that, indeed, we need to grasp more than just the warm and fuzzy to manage well through this intense conflict. So, it really helps to be able to clearly connect the mechanics which are in play in the metaphysical dimension to their inevitable impact on our everyday physical life (the actual feel of it all).


The State Of The World At War

            So, it becomes simple, really. To embrace Satan’s dark philosophy of an independently guided life is to be forced into a tense and draining lifestyle of self-preservation, void of God’s sustaining friendship. And yet, even though we may struggle diligently to sustain ourselves, the satanic prescription for life always turns out the same. At the end, personal autonomy always leaves us destitute and sitting in an acrid puddle of our own deep regret. 

            But, to embrace God’s heart and live in the light of His daily friendship and blessing is, indeed, the “Shining Redemption.” Certainly, this is the substance of the redemption of our soul and the restoration of a truly fulfilling future. But, it is also the joyous redemption of our here-and-now life condition.

 
The Range Of Responses

            So, the battle lines are drawn in this physical world. And the ranks of the Light and the ranks of the Darkness are set in place around only one essential issue: “Who gets to determine truth?”  Who is the real authority when it comes to the correct interpretation of life’s good or evil?  Who gets to define and shape reality according to their interpretation of the facts?

            Within the Economy of the Light, that question is always answered with a faith response made consistent by the living Christ. And that humility always embraces and implements God’s truth (God’s interpretation of good and evil) regarding the issues of life - moral and practical. 

            And, the Dark Economy always answers consistently, also. Believing themselves to have the higher conscience, and thus, the unfettered right of to follow it, the Darkness always answers essentially this way regarding good and evil. “I will determine good and evil for myself – to please myself.  And, I will relinquish that right to no one - not even God.” 

            So, the embracers of Satan’s Dark Economy march in a thousand chaotic directions through this life. They murder babies in their mother’s womb. They would legitimize the practice of homosexuality as normal behavior. 


            They use and attempt to legitimize the use of mind-numbing, soul-killing drugs. They produce media filth. In unwitting service to the dark cause, they devise, and commend to the world, false religions which serve only to confuse others and obscure God’s redemptive truth.

            They embrace every kind of intellectual, philosophical, and moral perversion – calling it all, “good,” “the actions of the higher conscience and superior consciousness.” Thus, they embrace and propagate every vulgar and ugly thing on earth.

            They employ brutality and oppression, political and otherwise, to ever facilitate the control of the Darkness over humanity. So, from Mohammad’s ISIS, to Hitler’s Fascism, to Marx’s Communism, to the dark minded leaders of American’s Socialist movement, the deluded ranks of Satan’s children make every effort to advance his militant grip upon this world. 

The “Dark Light”

            But, more deceived yet, are those children of Satan’s cause who go much more responsibly about their days. They do charitable things. They are conscientious in business. They give back. 

            They attend to religion. They carefully contribute to the general well-being of those around them and their society. And yet, for all of their “goodness,” these are even the more victimized by the treacherous subtlety of the Darkness. 

            This is true because they are operating under perhaps the most subtle of all of Satan’s misdirections. It is the idea that God’s approval stems simply from the intrinsic quality of our “good” works. But, in fact, that is not the case. 

            Rather, as we have noted, God’s approval only ever flows from the correct answer to the basic question, Are we God-directed in Christ or Self-determined?   So, when determining the worth of “good works,” the criteria really becomes, “Who is directing the heart which is directing those works?” 

 

            Thus obviously, the actions of a self-directed life are not always ugly – at least, from the human point of view.  Sometimes, the self-guided lifestyle does, indeed, veneer itself with very attractive behavior which is responsible and even charitable or religious. 

            Nevertheless, God’s approval is first, always, and only, an issue of true faith (influential humility). So, if our good works are merely the product of a responsible, but still self-directed life, then, they do not commend us to God’s favor in the least.  It was to just such people that Jesus once said, “…For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.  Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Ref. Matthew 23:27-28 NKJV)


            Thus, as these poor, deluded souls confidently guide themselves through their “good life,” they are really, unknowingly, only the saddest example and most unsuspecting victims of Satan’s subtle deceit. So, Jesus would lament on another occasion, “…If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Ref. Matthew 6:23 NKJV)

            Perhaps, these particular children of the Darkness, with their self-righteous blind spot, most dramatically bring us back to the bedrock idea, which is this. If a Christ-empowered faith (a true and encompassing humility before God) is the only bringer of God’s approval, then the reverse is also true. The motive of self-determination is ever the essential sin motive which keeps us from a relationship with God – regardless of the look of it at first glance. 

            Thus, this reality remains. Even a beautifully balanced and cultured, but nevertheless, self-directed life, can still, in fact, be a life of insensitivity to God’s guiding authority. And, as such, this seemingly “good life” merely insulates us from a truly faith-based relationship with Him and therefore endangers the soul. 

            Thus, again, the Bible records these words of Jesus in this regard. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Ref. Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV)

 

Again, The Friendship Key

            With these words, Jesus clearly confirms again, the dangers of this nice looking but self-righteous insensitivity. And conversely, he also clearly confirms the indispensable value of a humble responsiveness to God through Christ. 

            Christ’s simple prediction here is that there will be those in the judgment who will be surprised by His rejection. Again, this will happen because they mistakenly believe that simply the intrinsic value of their “good” works will commend them to God. 

            But, Jesus leaves no doubt that this will not be the case. And further, in dismissing these deluded people, He defines the underlying problem. He says, “I never knew you…”

            The Greek word for “knew,” which Jesus used in this passage, is “Ginosco”.  In that original language, this word means, “A deep and intimate knowing.” 

            So, the idea which Jesus is expressing is that these misguided souls do not actually share with Him the heart-binding commons of an intimate friendship.  And, like the reader could not see this coming,  those commons would be the divine values and the truth they distill.   

 

            Indeed, it is those divine values, truly embraceable only in the Living Christ, which, in turn, bring that encompassing humility of influence before God which enables a truly appropriate response to the divine heart.  And, that true response stands in stark contrast to merely expressing our own will though self-initiated “good” works.

Satan, Hunter Of Souls

            So, this is the larger life picture. And, these are the issues surrounding Satan and the dark economy which he heads. And, this is the nature of the far-flung conflagration which he has initiated – both in the physical and the metaphysical dimensions of life. 

            And, in fact, none of us can abstain from the necessities which this conflict has brought upon us. We must, and we all do choose to embrace the light of God’s truth or the darkness of Satan's illusions. And, we do so, either as a matter of volition (willfully) or by our negligent passiveness.

            But, be all of that as it may, The Great Lie of self-sufficiency remains just that, - the great lie. And, this attractive subterfuge of Satan is as empty, deceitful, and devastating to the human soul and the quality of the present life as it has ever been. 

            But, even in this late hour of history, that smooth and affable voice still whispers from the darkness, “Come on, entrust yourself to yourself. You really are your own best hope for personal fulfillment.” And, the gullible do, indeed, still succumb, in huge numbers, to this cosmic lie – despite all evidence to the contrary.

             Nevertheless, Christ ever awaits the moment of our individual desperation – and the clarity of mind which can arise from that moment.  And, He awaits that moment with this promise, And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (Ref. John 8:32 NKJV)


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