The Dilemma of Choosing the Familiar Over the Divine

The Dilemma of Choosing the Familiar Over the Divine Devotional Reading and Podcast

There is a great reward for faithfulness! “In yet a little while, He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” –Hebrews 10:37

As we grow closer to the Second Coming of Jesus, our struggle to remain faithful will increase. Fighting the inner conflict of right versus wrong every day is making us weary. Although we desire to have a close relationship with Christ, our sinful nature is drawn to things that are new and exciting. Satan is using many deceptions that are readily embraced by believers whose hearts do not fully belong to Christ.

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? Therefore, Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:14 and 17).

It is now acceptable in the church community to socialize with and have relationships with unbelievers. Trending reasons: We are witnessing, or demonstrating the love of Jesus to others, “Jesus hung out with sinners,” and they know that we are Christians, but they respect us.

Satan has introduced the corruptness of false doctrines and omissions into our churches. There are Pastors and church leaders who rely on the recommendations from their advisory committees to only preach on certain parts of the Bible. The sermons are constructed as professional letters with a non-offensive tone and the Scriptures as a recommendation to live your best life.

The escalation of membership numbers proves that today’s Christians embrace churches with watered-down doctrines and those who sing for a couple of hours. Because we do not pray consistently for God’s guidance or study the Scriptures, we are led astray. The result of self-governance has led us to accept the opinions of others instead of seeking knowledge of the Truth for ourselves.

Following our inclinations has produced many denominations under the umbrella of Christianity who agree on only one belief that God and Jesus Christ exist. Many churches and Christians do not believe in the Triune Godhead, the Holy Spirit, or baptism by water immersion. There are countless manmade versions of God’s Truth. And Satan continues to deceive us into thinking that we can treat salvation like a multiple-choice exam.

We avoid pursuing God’s Truth because it causes mental distress and does not fit into our lifestyles. Unless we have a faithful relationship with Christ, we choose to face the vicissitudes of life alone, which leave us too weary to study for ourselves.

Without biblical knowledge and wisdom from the Holy Spirit, we do not have a foundation based on the Word of God. We readily accept the half-truths preached from the pulpits of those who are pursuing wealth instead of eternal life. What are our beliefs and what does God require of us? With the various interpretations of the Holy Scriptures, we are confused, and console ourselves that we are doing the best we can.

Why do we desire the familiar of the past? And what has propelled us to form relationships with unequally yoked individuals? “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” –James 1:14

Many believers lost their closest relationships when they accepted Jesus. And as time passes, the life of being alone escalates into loneliness which Satan uses as a catalyst for compromise. Attending church once a week does not allow us to form bonds with fellow believers. We socialize with unbelievers because we desire to be around people that we know. Not studying the Bible leaves us with a void—even though we do not have the desire to return to a worldly lifestyle, we do not understand that God expects us to dedicate our lives to Him.

We begin to perceive the spiritual [Christian] journey as restrictive. Daily worship is not a priority. Our zeal for serving God rapidly declines which results in a change in our mindset and lifestyle. The inner conflict escalates and we begin to focus on our emotions. Being a Christian is not what we expected. Our heart desires the familiar friends and family we used to have good times with.

Without praying for strength, our resolve to live holy weakens. We contact our family who never understood our decision to become a Christian and former friends just to check and see how they are doing. And once we open the door of compromise, we make plans to visit and agree to attend select worldly activities that we determine to be acceptable.

The seed of compromise grows rapidly in our hearts. We justify our attendance at worldly social functions through rationalization. “It’s an opportunity to see my family or friends. Yes, there will be alcoholic drinks and smoking marijuana, but I don’t drink or smoke, so that has nothing to do with me.”

Common Ground: The workplace is an ideal environment for Satan to gradually introduce different philosophical theories, paganistic religious beliefs, relaxation techniques such as yoga, alternative lifestyles, modern worldviews, and diverse ways to pursue success in casual conversations between coworkers.

Most of us have a natural desire to be included at work and sit and chat, take breaks, and eat lunch with our coworkers. We passively participate by just listening but admit the information is interesting. We begin to think about researching and learning more about the various topics.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” –Ephesians 6:12

Our enemy, Satan is a fallen angel. Without God, we are no match against His power over humanity. Our greatest earthly enemy is a mastermind of evil schemes. Easy targets are Christians who are naive, lonely, overly curious, overconfident, and prideful. Satan’s deceptions are personalized temptations. He is aware that each of us is unique in our desires.

Although Satan is not Omniscient and does not know our thoughts, evil angels observe our behaviors and lifestyle choices. Satan has many vices, but one characteristic that ensures his success in making us fall, Satan is patient! He uses the familiar people, places, and things, we like to make us fall hard into sin. Temptations are not presented in a threatening manner or else he would not be successful.

Satan’s favorite tactic is to use the familiar to deceive us. Familiarity leaves us vulnerable! We trust the people we are comfortable with, especially those whom we love and respect [family and friends, coworkers]. We reminisce on the places where we used to hang out or we tell others about a new restaurant with a live band. Our perception changes and we no longer view our friends, family, and coworkers as unbelievers. We desire to socialize with people we know.

The estimate of 6,000 years since the earth was created gives Satan the confidence we will choose the familiar over the Divine. The generations of people that he has presented earthly pleasures to and has fallen began with Adam and Eve. Our enemy knows without Divine help that He has the advantage over humanity.

His plan [with our name on it] will come to fruition because we become weary in well-doing. Giving in to our emotions or desires led us into the maze of temptation. At this point, either we will come to our spiritual senses or we will move forward into the depths of sin.

Reflect on your relationships. If the person or people you enjoy being with do not desire eternal life then they are living in darkness. In socializing with unbelievers, we do not fully understand righteousness or we desire companionship at any cost, including the loss of our reward of eternal life.

“If you dance with the devil, then you haven’t got a clue, for you think you’ll change the devil, but the devil changes you.” ― J.M. Smith. In this author’s book, the focus is on people who do not have a conscience. “…genuine and sincere feelings toward others are completely absent. In other words, they lack emotions, like love, kindness, compassion, remorse, and pity. Nevertheless, they pretend and impersonate those feelings, but theirs are superficial and false.”

Unbelievers are not aware that Satan is using them! Even with only basic knowledge of godly principles, we realize that we cannot serve God and hang out with worldly people. It is the familiar that Satan uses to set the background for his greatest deceptions to lure us away from God’s divine plan.

What makes a believer reject God and desire to return to their former life? It is a gradual process of desensitization to worldliness. Our habits and lifestyles reveal the reason we easily fall. The programs we watch, the music we listen to, and the conversations we passively engage in fail to honor God. We are double-minded.

Choosing one day [Saturday or Sunday] we put on the outward clothing of the appearance of righteousness, attend church, and listen to sermons, but we never make progress in our spiritual journey of transformation because of the sinful desires of our hearts.

“But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do, for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” –1 Peter 1:15-16

We attempt to blend oil with water to produce a worldly Christian. If you have ever thought or verbalized, “There is nothing wrong with…” then you have crossed over the line of righteousness into sinfulness. With God, there is no middle ground or gray area.

There is no doubt that we are living in perilous times. Whether we are steadfast or not, we recognize the decline in society’s ethics, morals, and values, the rise of global financial instability, and political corruption. There are wars, rumors of wars, nuclear preparations, and civil insurrections that indicate Jesus is coming soon. The Bible gives us concrete evidence of last-day events in Matthew chapter 24 and Second Timothy chapter 3.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” –John 3:16

God knows the dilemma we face from being born in sin and shaped by iniquity. He gave us the ultimate gift of Salvation and Redemption through His Son, Jesus Christ. When we are in a state of confusion and ready to turn back, God uses the Holy Spirit to appeal to us to accept His love and obey His commands. Yet, we have free will of choice. To grieve the Holy Spirit is to continuously reject the Truth as evidenced by our disobedience.

Satan knows his time is short, he is working overtime to customize the temptations that satisfy our heart’s desires. During the Dark Ages, the Christian church fell into apostasy, embraced false doctrines, and became corrupt. History is indeed repeating itself in our era.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” –John 15:5

To follow Jesus requires us to give our all to Him. We accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior because we love Him. Our role is to be Christ’s disciples who follow in His footsteps. Maintaining a steadfast relationship with Christ requires a do-right mind. We give up our relationships with unrighteous people along with avoiding all forms of worldliness because we love God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds.

Our Helper, The Holy Spirit: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment…when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth…” –John 16: verses 7,8, and 13

God knows we cannot live holy without Divine Intervention! Before Jesus died, He promised the disciples a Helper, the Holy Spirit. As disciples, we have the help of the Holy Spirit who is only a prayer away. The Holy Spirit is our Teacher who leads, guides, and comforts us through our earthly journey, keeping us on the Path of Righteousness.

When tempted by thoughts of the familiar, pray fervently! The union of human effort and Divine Intervention is required for overcoming temptation. Delete phone numbers, pray for strength at work, and exclude yourself from godless conversations. Invite your family and friends to church. Either they will accept the invitation or leave you alone. Keeping your relationship with Christ requires self-control, discipline, and much prayer.

In our natural, sinful state, we cannot live holy or receive the eternal inheritance that Jesus promises us in Revelation 22:12. The human effort of determination and the Divine Intervention of the Holy Spirit keep us from falling and failing in our spiritual journey.

Spiritual transformation requires faith, trust, obedience, and perseverance. We must decide for ourselves whether or not we will surrender and love God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds. God loves us but we must never forget that He is a Righteous Judge who will not tolerate sin whether it is through compromise or total and wilful disobedience.

We have too much to lose! With the strength of the Holy Spirit, we can say goodbye to the familiar! Preparation for life in the New Heaven and New Earth begins now and continues throughout our lifespan or up until the day that Jesus returns to this earth. Nothing on this earth will ever compare to the glory of living forever with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

“For the Lord, Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. –1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 17

Prayer: God, we ask You to create a clean heart and renew a right spirit within us. We pray for the anointing, power, and presence of the Holy Spirit to withstand the temptation of choosing the familiar over the Divine. Lord, we need Your supernatural strength as we prepare for eternal life. Thank You for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in Jesus’ Holy name, Amen.

© 2023 Steps2successwithspiritualsolutions

Author: steps2successwithspiritualsolutions

It takes courage, perseverance, faith, and trust to serve God in today's unstable world. Yet, we are never alone. Pray daily and pray often. Study the Bible. The Scriptures are a Love Letter from God to those who accept Jesus as their personal Savior. You will receive comfort, knowledge, and wisdom. God says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love." Jeremiah 31:3. Be blessed in Jesus' name. Amen.

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