This morning I was reading “New Beginnings” in The Story, and the following passage leapt off the page: “The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. ‘We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,’ he said. ‘Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.’ Peter and the other apostles replied: ‘We must obey God rather than human beings! The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging Him on a cross. God exalted Him to His own right hand as Prince and Savior that He might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.'” (Acts 5:27-32)
Still thinking on this passage on my drive to work I listened to Failing to Listen to God by Dr. Charles Stanley. The statement at the beginning of his message is (paraphrased) that we are bombarded by worldly opinion through tv shows, news, movies, articles, cartoons and listening to friends, co-workers and strangers. We have to choose whether we will listen to the world, and by extension the devil, or will we listen to our Lord?
We are most vulnerable when we are most ignorant. Jesus said that we are to watch (remain spiritually alert) and pray. We are vulnerable to Satan’s lies if we fail to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. We’re most equipped when we’re able to relate specific Scripture to specific temptations— like Jesus in Matthew 4:1-10. We need only to see how Jesus responded to Satan’s temptations in the wilderness in order to identify God’s primary means of defense. It’s no wonder that Jesus said in (John 17:17), “Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.” It’s no wonder that Paul said in (Ephesians 6:14), “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist….” The good news is that we have available to us the first line of defense—the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (Eph. 6:17).
If we don’t spend time with our Lord in Scripture and prayer, we are opening ourselves up to the devil’s deception. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22) We deceive ourselves when we mistake the world’s wisdom for God’s wisdom. “Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become ‘fools’ so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: ‘He catches the wise in their craftiness’. (1 Corin. 3:18-19)