How Satan Gets To Us
by Matthew Cramer
This posting is the second in a four part series about The Devil and evil entities. It assumes the reader is well acquainted with the first installment, Satan And His Minions.
CLEVER, TARGETED TACTICS
Earlier, we saw that Satan and his minions are real. Hating God, and jealous of us, they want to prevent us from receiving our inheritance; i.e. to live with God in eternity. Their strategy is to murder the New Life of Jesus we receive in Baptism, or prevent us from receiving it, and lead us away from God through our pride, their accusations and lies.
Few of us come in contact with Satan himself. He has bigger fish to fry (no pun intended). Most, if not all, of our contact with evil comes through temptations from his minions (a.k.a. evil spirits). That being said, I doubt anyone would be tempted along these lines:
“Hello! I’m an evil spirit. I’m here to help you get what you want. Since I’m very smart, I can help in many ways. Just let me tell you what to do. I guarantee you’ll have more fun. Plus I have many friends who’ll help you in other ways if only you let them. Shall we begin?”
But, it’s never that obvious nor that simple. Evil spirits are clever at using deceptions and accusations that take advantage of our weaknesses. “What!” you say. “I’m not weak. I‘ve lots of education and experience. I’ve been around. I’m a good person. I’m successful. I’m smart enough to spot anything evil that comes my way.”
Well . . . maybe. But let’s push on.
There are two places in Scripture where Satan and his minions’ tactics are easy to see. The first is in Genesis at the fall of Adam and Eve, and the second is Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness at the beginning of His ministry. So, a brief scripture study is in order. I used the RSV translation (with Apocrypha).
We begin in Genesis with God’s command about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
“The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.”
- This command seems simple enough. There is no reason to suspect that Adam had any reason to disobey, since he had a good relationship with God and all of his needs and wants were available to him without cost or limit.
- Notice, however, that the tree’s fruit conveys knowledge about something of which Adam has no idea; i.e. evil. It is the promise of knowledge that Satan will use as a lever to attack their pride.
- To this day, knowledge and pride are closely linked — sometimes with disastrous results.
“Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?”
- The seduction begins in a very low-key, generalized, conversational approach. Satan does not refer to the specific tree, but any tree.
- When we make a decision in our intellect, we set our will to it. We make a permanent commitment to future actions, change our course accordingly, and close the door on the issue.
- It’s not that easy for us, of course, because we inherit a broken nature from the fall of Adam and Eve (more later). But Adam and Eve were not burdened with that dysfunction at the beginning, and there is every reason to suspect that they understood God’s command and had decided to obey it.
- Satan’s first step, then, is to get them to reexamine their decision, reopen the issue. He begins with a lie and accusation: “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree?” (emphasis mine). Notice he starts with a global reference to any tree, thus hiding the actual objective.
- In other words: “Did God really tell you that?” — “Are you sure you don’t have it screwed up?”
- Once Eve answers, she reopens the door to the issue, giving Satan an opportunity to help her interpret the facts and meanings, and reevaluate her decision.
“And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'”
- Eve doesn’t see the next step coming. She doesn’t realize she is being led to re-examine their decision to obey God.
- Instead of just adding, “Our decision about that tree has been made, it is not open for discussion”, she leaves the issue open.
- Eve’s answer is relatively correct, but somewhat embellished. Perhaps she is responding to Satan’s challenge by trying to sound more important, adding to God’s words so to speak.
- Has this happened to you? After considerable planning and thought, you decide — “I’ll start dieting first thing in the morning”. But next morning at work, when the doughnuts come around to celebrate another someone’s birthday, the first thoughts that come to mind are: “Does the diet really have to start this morning?” “Couldn’t it start at noon or tomorrow and do just as well?”
- I’m not suggesting all thoughts along this line are temptations from evil. Some of them could be, however, especially if you are trying to get free of an unhealthy attachment. The important point is to understand how our nature works. If you allow the decision to be reconsidered, you are in great difficulty. To stick with your original decision, the smell and sight of those doughnuts are powerful forces that must now be overcome.
- Your best response is to reject those thoughts at the outset and walk away from the temptation. Otherwise, just like me, most of us are goners.
“But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
- Now the trap is sprung. It begins with an outright lie, “You will not die”. In hindsight we know they will die and open the door to the train wreck of humanity.
- The lie is followed by a half-truth, “…your eyes will be opened”. Their eyes were opened all right, but to the horror of evil and all the modes of death they would experience. (See The Train Wreck Of Humanity )
- Next is calumny against God to damage His reputation in her eyes and open Eve to the prospect of disobedience. “…God knows that when you eat of it … you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” A direct lie, suggesting that God has not been forthright with them; He is selfish, He doesn’t want them to know as much, and be as powerful and great as He is.
- Finally is the promise of a hidden reward, to know something previously unknown and rise to the same level as God. “ … you will be like God, knowing good and evil”. This is a direct temptation to pride and rebellion: “Why can’t I have what I want? Make up my own rules? Know as much as God does?”
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate.”
- The direct accusation and slander of legitimate authority, followed by the prideful temptation and desire to know more, breaks down Eve’s resolve. She surrenders and Adam follows suit.
Now, let’s take a look at Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness.
When He arrived on the scene, Jesus had taken to Himself the complete nature of humanity — past, present and to come. His mission was to live a perfect human life, then allow Himself to be sacrificed, taking to literal death the old, Adamic life — all of it. Thus, as both God and man, He would atone for all sins in the old life and establish a New Life we could exchange for the old. That’s why He’s called The New Adam.
Since the train wreck of original sin revolved around obedience, Jesus must establish the New Life through obedience — obedience in the human life He lived, and obedience unto death on the Cross. As the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus’ task would have been easy. He was God. But to succeed, He had to pursue His objective as man, completely and unequivocally.
“… Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.”(Php 2:5-8)
Thus, Satan’s attack was on Jesus, the man. He attacked mankind’s most vulnerable weaknesses: pride, and the flesh. But in the background, was always the primary issue: Who would Jesus obey? Who would Jesus allow to influence His actions? In other words, to whose tune would Jesus dance?
“The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.'”
- Jesus had been fasting for a long time and was, no doubt, very hungry. This first temptation is a bit of a taunt, but directed primarily at Jesus’ hunger.
- Satan suggests that Jesus use His Godly powers to satisfy His human hunger. This would require, however, that Jesus use those powers for His own personal satisfaction, and erode fasting’s purpose to keep His human nature aligned with the will of the Father.
- Jesus’ response, unlike Eve’s, is authoritative. He doesn’t engage in an open, one-on-one discussion. Instead, He remains at arm’s length and invokes the authority of scripture.
“And the devil took him up, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it shall all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.'”
- This temptation involves a more significant weakness of the flesh: the acquisition of authority, power, high position, and elevation by others.
- Pursued in the service of God and humanity, desires in these areas can be legitimate and necessary. But they easily become sub-sets of pride, and corrupted because of our damaged nature.
- Satan tempts Jesus (as man) to skip over the Cross, a life of rejection by the religious authorities, and settle, instead, for worldly glory.
- Jesus remains at arm’s length and rebukes Satan, again with the authority of scripture — invoking obedience to the Father. The scripture also reminds Satan of his own disastrous mistakes that put him outside of Heaven and in eternal, painful, punishment.
“And he took him to Jerusalem, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here; for it is written, ‘He will give his angels charge of you, to guard you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'” And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’“
- Satan now uses scripture to package the equivalent of a schoolyard taunt, hurled directly at Jesus — prove that He is the God/Man.
- In our damaged nature, many of us, facing a direct challenge to our legitimate position would respond in a very direct way, perhaps with some overkill — “Oh yeah, I’ll show you who I am, and what I can do!”
- But Jesus must not respond this way. In His humanity, everything He does must be in collaboration with, and obedience to, the Father. He must let the Father orchestrate displays of Jesus’ power and wisdom. His final battle with Satan must happen at the Father’s choosing of time and place.
- Thus, Jesus’ response is again at arm’s length and with the authority of scripture. This time, however, He uses a quote that not only asserts His position, but also administers an authoritative rebuke of Satan.
There is an almost pun-like irony in these three exchanges — The Word of God, Himself, using the Word of God to do battle with Satan. At a minimum, it reveals the use of Scripture as a very powerful tool in our struggles with evil.
The exchanges also reveal that evil is not reluctant to challenge us head on, target our appetites, emotions, desires and pride for leverage, and use Scripture to fashion clever deceptions.
“… even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is not strange if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness …” (2 Co 11:14,15)
In their mint condition, Adam and Eve’s intellect and will functioned in unobstructed harmony. The intellect acquired knowledge and made rational decisions. The will obediently implemented those decisions through the body. The body provided inputs directly to the intellect through the five senses, emotions, appetites and desires. These were evaluated as part of the decision making process, e.g. see Ge 3:6 above.
Following Adam and Eve’s disobedience, Death entered the arena in the form of five different kinds or modes, all disastrous (see What Jesus Did). One of those modes is especially applicable here: i.e. Death in the inner harmony of our being. The Church refers to this harmony as “mastery of self”.
The intellect, the will, and their exclusive relationship were severely damaged. The will is now easily influenced, sometimes overrun, by demands from emotions, appetites and desires. The intellect is routinely ignored, its overriding rationality is frequently bypassed, it is substantially vulnerable to pride, and often makes irrational decisions.
Enormous effort and constant vigilance is required to manage this dysfunction. The Church calls it concupiscence.
“The “mastery” over the world that God offered man from the beginning was realized above all within man himself: mastery of self. The first man was unimpaired and ordered in his whole being because he was free from the triple concupiscence that subjugates him to the pleasures of the senses, covetousness for earthly goods, and self-assertion, contrary to the dictates of reason.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, § 377)
In Romans, Saint Paul uses the word “sin”, to describe the result of Adam and Eve’s disobedience that is passed on to us in the Adamic DNA we inherit at conception.
“I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. …For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members. (Ro 7:15, 19-23)
With such incredible vulnerability, it’s no surprise that Satan and his minions’ efforts are usually directed at our pride, emotions, appetites and desires. We are so vulnerable that our will consistently leans toward the things that give us pleasure, with very little input from the rationality of the intellect. Then evil comes along with a deception, an accusation, or a challenge to our pride — and easily pushes us over.
P.T. Barnum, the great impresario of the circus and various hoaxes, is often quoted as saying: “There’s a sucker born every minute”.
HOW DO THEY GET IN?
There are those who wonder why God doesn’t protect us from the consequences of evil’s suggestions. We don’t want to experience the results of our sins and that of others, except for the promised reward. When things don’t work out, or the consequences get ugly, we complain to God — “why do you let evil things happen?”
Out of love for us, God allows us free will. We couldn’t make a legitimate choice to live in eternity with God if there was no alternative. When we choose a relationship, we invest in it, and that investment allows us to receive its full fruits. We open ourselves personally to a free flow of all the investment has to offer. Without the choice and the relationship, our experience is only a surface one — truncated at best.
Adam and Eve already knew what good was. But they were not committed to an exclusive relationship with God. They didn’t know anything but good, and had not chosen to follow good to the exclusion of something or someone else. Thus, they were seduced by the opportunity to know what else was available, what was on the other side. And they found it; they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Thanks to them, we too are able to know what evil is, and all it’s consequences. If God saved us from the consequences, there would be no choice at all, no free will. We would be well-cared-for puppets, toys not able to enjoy the fullness of God’s created intent.
If there is no choice, there is no investment. If there is no investment, there is no relationship. If there is no relationship, there is no ability to receive the inheritance God has planned for us (i.e. living in eternity with Him, the Beatific Vision). This is what we were made for and the only state of existence that will bring us ultimate happiness. Short of this, we are incomplete, unsatisfied, in pain of varying degrees and sorts.
Still, God saved us from the consequences of sin, but in a way that preserves our free will. He sent us Jesus who defeated Satan and his minions, and set us free from the bondage of sin.
Jesus instituted His Church to guide us and provide the requisite graces to live our lives in communion with Him.
And He sent the Holy Spirit, Who brings all the charisms necessary for us to discern what is good, holy and loving; which keeps us close to God and strengthens us for the fight. “…and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Mt 28:20)
The remaining part of the equation is the independent variable — our individual free will. Let’s face it. We are all sinners, seldom fully aligned with God’s will. Worse, we have no way of knowing how far-reaching, or how serious are the combined effects of humanity’s individual sins as they rattle through creation and down the paths of time. If Adam and Eve’s sin is any example, our own sins can have incredible, long lasting and far-reaching effects.
Our loving God does not desire suffering and other sinful consequences for us. But given the sins we freely choose, He does not hesitate to use their consequences to bring good to others and us, whenever and however it fits. “…but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,” (Ro 5:20)
Evil’s plan is simple: gain a foothold in our will, expand the foothold to substantial control, then pursue another area. Evil spirits hatch a regular barrage of temptations to sin (disobey God’s will), typically packaged in anger, fear, guilt, revenge, or one of the many kinds of lust — which all promise significant reward to our pride, an emotion, an appetite or a desire.
When the individual yields (gives in) evil moves the process along to solidify and expand their foothold through repetition and escalation. Their objective is to gain so much control, over so many areas in our life, that we are — on a de-facto basis — dancing to evil’s tune instead of God’s, and will ultimately reject Him completely.
Here are five ways in which evil spirits frequently gain a foothold:
- ENVIRONMENTAL PROXIMITY — This means being constantly bathed in the faulty behavior of others. It typically occurs in families or a close-knit group, and frequently involves abuse (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual), manipulation, dependencies (alcoholism, drug addiction), lust of various sorts, etc.
Even if we haven’t chosen the environment, and don’t engage in personal sin, the culture in which we are bathed can set up false values, paradigms, and relationships with “familiar spirits” that will cause trouble for us later in life.
Our initial involvement may be innocent, but a question of fairness is not at issue; it’s a question of diagnosis. If you walk down the street and shake hands with a good friend who has the flu, the odds are high you’ll get sick. You may be innocent, it may be unfair, but you’re still sick.
- HABITUAL SIN — Personal choices, repeated over time, easily become behavior patterns. When those choices are sinful, an evil spirit related to that behavior — who probably provided the temptations in the first place — could attach itself to that area of the will, and try to perpetuate the sin to gain additional control.
In these situations, we’re seldom aware that we’re inviting an evil spirit to have access to a part of our will. Our conscience may tug at us to caution that sin is being proposed, but most of the time it is overridden by our focus on the alleged, cleverly packaged, rewards of the sin.
Thus, over time, by cooperating with its repeated initiatives to the sinful behavior, we yield control of an area of our will to an evil spirit.
- TRAUMA — A sudden psychological or physical shock, that immerses us in fear, guilt, anxiety, anger or other strong emotion, lowers our defenses of rationality and the ability to make deliberate choices. In these situations, while our spiritual defenses are temporarily suspended, an evil spirit related to the situation can attach itself and use that attachment to assault us in other ways.
Consider the case of Harry who had nightmares most of his life. They were so common to him, that in the middle of their occurrence, he could tell himself he was in the middle of a nightmare, set his fear aside, and watch the rest of the nightmare as though he were watching a movie.
Ministry revealed that when he was a young boy, Harry watched a scary movie that caused him great fear and anxiety. When he discarded a spirit of nightmares, they stopped, never to return.
Bill and Janet had six children and a significant conflict in their 20-year marriage. Janet could not, or would not, do laundry. Bill had painted the laundry in bright colors and installed high-powered lighting to purge the room of darkness. Still, Janet would not go there and Bill was at his wit’s end.
In ministry, Janet remembered that, as a young child, she used to play with several companions at an abandoned house. In the yard was an old trunk and the children would take turns being locked in the trunk to see what it felt like. Then, they’d all have a great laugh at how scary it was.
One day, it was Janet’s turn in the trunk. This time the children were called home for supper, forgot about Janet, and left her locked in the trunk. Later, the children remembered Janet; authorities rushed to the trunk and released her. By then, she was hysterical with panic.
The laundry room was a trigger that touched her fears, buried along with their attendant memories, over many years. In ministry, Janet forgave her friends, asked the Lord to heal the memories of the episode, and discarded a spirit of panic. A week later, Bill called to say that Janet was singing in the basement, doing laundry. She’d just completed her 12th load.
- OCCULT PRACTICES — These are far more serious. Whether in full knowledge or not, those who participate in the occult are seeking direct contact with evil spirits who are more than happy to respond.
The occult menagerie occupies a broad, well-populated range from the heavy-hitting Wicca, Witchcraft, Transcendental Meditation, Energy Religion and New Age practices — to the seemingly innocent Tea Leaf Reading, Table Tipping, Ouija Board and Fortune Telling. Nevertheless, each of them promises special powers and knowledge, mysterious and hidden, that do not come from God.
Involvement in the occult is a form of idolatry and is directly linked to pride. Manifestations of occult practices in the individual can take almost any form, at any time. We like to say that a relationship with the occult is the equivalent of giving Satan permission to back a truckload of evil up to your mind, and dump it in, whenever and how often he wants.
The scriptures are quite clear on the subject. Note the severe punishment in the Exodus passage, which indicates how serious is the transgression:
“You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me…” (Ex 20:3-5)
“There shall not be found among you any one who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, any one who practices divination, a soothsayer, or an augur, or a sorcerer, or a charmer, or a medium, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD…” (Dt 18:10-12)
- ABDICATION OF SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY — The scriptures indicate that all authority comes from God, irrespective of the process by which it is delegated. Further, authority has specific functions it is charged to fulfill; among which is the spiritual protection of those entrusted to its care.
“…For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” (Ro 13:1)
“…I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Ti 2:1-4)
- When someone in a position of legitimate authority abdicates their authority or refuses to exercise it for the spiritual protection of those entrusted to their care, the consequences include excessive harassment by evil spirits, or worse.
The sin of Adam and Eve is the best example of this principle. They were given responsibility and authority for ruling the world. But they gave their authority away when they decided to follow Satan’s words rather than God’s. The train wreck of humanity followed, along with Satan and his minions’ entry into this world to harass, tempt and mislead us.
But spiritual protection involves more than the sacred realm and harassment by evil spirits. The principle applies to all those who hold legitimate positions of authority. This includes parents, bishops, political leaders, lawmakers and law officers, judges, teachers, and bosses at work — anywhere legitimate authority is conferred. The scriptures make no distinction between the secular and the sacred.
- Years ago, I consulted with a lumber wholesaler who owned several large lumberyards around the country. After discussing the concept of Spiritual Authority, one owner decided to try it in a lumberyard business for which he was responsible. His plan was to protect those who worked for him and the physical property as well. We got water, prayed over it, then as best we knew how, walked the property line sprinkling water and invoking God’s protection in the name of Jesus.
- A very large shed in one corner of the property belonged to someone else; whose owner allowed my client to park vehicles and store materials in there when they wished. Since the shed itself was not part of the owner’s responsibility, we excluded it, leaving a notch in the corner of the otherwise rectangular property.
- The lumberyard was located in the middle of a large, old and run-down railroad yard. A year later, the railroad yard was engulfed in a huge fire. It was so spectacular, it headlined the news for days. I called my client to sympathize with his certain loss of the lumberyard.
- He was ecstatic. Somehow, inexplicably, the lumberyard had survived. Amazed, I congratulated him for the absence of loss. “Not quite,” he said, “two trucks and several stacks of lumber were destroyed.”
- They’d been stored in the large shed we excluded from the protected zone a year earlier. The shed burned to the ground with all its contents. The fire destroyed everything up to the protected property lines, even taking the notch in the corner, then stopped.
IT’S LIKE DEJA-VU, ALL OVER AGAIN
When you step back a bit to gain some additional perspective, don’t the tactics and strategies outlined sound strangely familiar? Something we’ve seen or experienced before? It reminds me of the famous Yogi Berra quote cited above.
In my lifetime, we’ve been inundated, both personally and culturally, by the lure of ancient wisdom in Transcendental Meditation, Yoga, New Age — supposedly wisdom of the ages, passed over and kept hidden by the Church; opportunities to tap into the Mysterious; secret powers and knowledge available only to The Select Few. Hear the pride in this, and the slander of Church authority?
There is now wholesale assault on legitimate authority: parents, teachers, church, culture, government and moral law. It’s not that there haven’t been serious problems that needed, and still need, to be addressed in these areas. Because of our Adamic nature, there will always be. This is not to minimize our human failings. To this day many are, and have been, hurt badly by the serious sin of others. To borrow from an old 1960’s song, “the beat goes on.”
But we’re throwing the baby out with the bath water. In significant and rising numbers, we see broken homes and absentee fathers; pandemic classroom discipline problems; rampant smut, pornography, perversion and unfettered sex; wanton crimes for a few moments in the spotlight (posthumously or otherwise); and arrogant, pro-abortion, Catholic politicians, that scandalously present themselves to receive the Eucharist at Mass, as though they’re in full communion with Church teaching.
There’s rebellion. We’ve migrated far beyond the (once thought) innocent and cute, drug induced, 1960’s hippie motto: “If it feels good, do it.” Now, “it’s all (unabashedly and aggressively) about ME! There are no laws, vows, cultural limits, commitments, concerns for others, or authorities, to whom I cede influence, much less obedience, in my life. Why must I follow the rules and norms laid down in moral law, in Scripture, by the Church or the Pope? After all, I’m the best judge of what’s right and wrong for me. I’m more spiritually mature.”
I don’t paint all of us with the same brush. There are still responsible, hard-working, God-fearing, morally upright, and law-abiding people today. But, it’s become obvious that those who subscribe to the notions outlined above are a substantial and rapidly growing part of our culture; its size having now reached the point it’s obvious they’re not a minority. In selected areas — arts, media, entertainment, academia and the press — they’re a powerful majority.
At this writing, I am 74 years old. My significant memories begin mostly at the beginning of WW II when I was 7. Since then, I’ve seen, and participated in, great achievements in technology, medicine, creature comforts, transportation, space exploration, computers and a long list of other inventions, advancements and discoveries in our culture. But, I’ve also watched the dysfunctions, mentioned above, grow as well, to such a degree I fear we are headed for chaos followed by authoritarian rule. If that happens, we will surely lose our freedom.
Today’s youth, and others under the age of 45, may brand these comments a bit over the top — rantings of an older generation that claims (as did my grandfather), “the country is going to the dogs.” For them, dismissal of my concerns is a no-brainer because they’ve been dunked in these dysfunctions all their lives. They think their life is normal and rational; they have no concept of life without these dysfunctions.
My concern is — like the proverbial frog in slowly heated water — they’ll not sense the level of dysfunction is growing too hot, and fail to take personal action in time to avoid being cooked.
To be sure, not all problems are caused by evil spirits. We must still deal with many character issues, false behavioral paradigms, and the lack of truth. But, there are many more evil spirits at work than most of us would care to admit.
It seems each of us, our country and our culture is under serious, sustained and significantly successful attacks to frustrate God’s plans. Nevertheless, we’re guaranteed all the necessary wisdom and power to win the fight — because Jesus has won it for us.