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Misled by a spirit?
- Jacob Ninan
The Devil once suggested to Jesus that He should jump down from the pinnacle of the temple so that when He came down without getting hurt people would be amazed and recognise who He really was (Mt.4:5,6). Since this was after the Father had miraculously launched Him into His public ministry, it might have appeared to be an attractive idea. Had Jesus accepted this suggestion it would have been suicidal, because as Jesus Himself recognised, it was trying to test God (v.7). It would have been presuming on God's protection for something God had not asked Him to do. Aren't we also tempted in the same way at times? What we need to ask ourselves is not whether God is capable of doing what we want but whether He has told us to do it. There a big difference between the two, sometimes as much as life and death?
We can be tempted to 'trust' in God for healing and stop taking medicine because we think God will surely heal us because He can. Certainly God can heal any sickness; He can even raise people from the dead. But has He told us He would heal us this way? Doesn't He heal many times through medicines? If God hasn't told us specifically and we refuse to take medicines, it can be suicidal.
When we get converted our sudden love for the Lord makes us wonder if He would want us to resign from our job and become a full time worker. How many people have followed their feelings here, only to find themselves in dire straits later!
What is missing in situations like these is not a love for God or trust in His ability, but an inability to discern His will in particular situations. Noting our love and zeal for God the Devil may put fantastic ideas into our mind which look attractive to us because of the novelty, excitement, challenge and the thought of the possible impact on God's kingdom. Usually we assume we have 'faith' for this action because of our belief in God's ability to do great things. But true faith, in such situations, also involves having heard from God what He wants us to do (Ro.10:17).
All our thoughts are not our own. Do we recognise that many of the ideas we get could be from the Deceiver? Even when our heart is right before God, it does not automatically follow that we know what God wants us to do. Especially when we have offered ourselves to God as living sacrifices we will be particularly tempted to attempt fantastic things 'for God'. Sincerity is not enough to protect us because if the Devil tried to make Jesus jump from the temple top, he can try similar things with us. When we look around we can see several who have been deceived like this, and perhaps we ourselves have made such mistakes.
God is almighty. But we cannot assume that whatever we plan God will back us with His power. One of the mottos for Jesus was to only do what the Father told Him to do (Jn.5:19). We need to wait on God in prayer to know His will for us, and we also need to think and consult with others to make sure we have heard God right.