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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Lectures on Faith 2, Part 2: Recognize and Avoid Satan's Pick Up Lines


Yesterday, how many minutes did you spend listening to Satan?

It's an interesting question, because if you really read Lecture on Faith 2, you'll see that it's more than just a discourse on the importance of hearing God's voice. It's also powerful prose about a consistent mistake we humans have made since we were in Eden: listening to the adversary.

We read in Lecture on Faith 2:5-17 that Adam and Eve heard God's voice...and Satan's, too. In verse 29, we learn that Cain was tempted by, and hearkened to, Satan. As we continue through Lecture 2, we read about Noah, Moses and others who were both imperfect. In other scriptures, we read how they, too, even succumbed to temptation.

The Predictable Pattern of Satan's Attacks on You


The pattern Satan uses to attack you are no different than the ones he used in Genesis, throughout all scripture and even throughout time. As Elder James E. Faust stated,
"Who has not heard and felt the enticings of the devil? His voice often sounds so reasonable and his message so easy to justify. It is an enticing, intriguing voice with dulcet tones. It is neither hard nor discordant. No one would listen to Satan’s voice if it sounded harsh or mean. If the devil’s voice were unpleasant, it would not entice people to listen to it.
Shakespeare wrote, “The prince of darkness is a gentleman” (King Lear, act 3, sc. 4, line 143), and “the devil can cite Scripture for his purpose” (The Merchant of Venice, act 1, sc. 3, line 95). As the great deceiver, Lucifer has marvelous powers of deception. As Paul said to the Corinthians, “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14; see also 2 Nephi 9:9)." ("The Great Imitator," October 1987 General Conference)
In fact, Satan's methods are so subtle, that the First Presidency stated,
“He is working under such perfect disguise that many do not recognize either him or his methods.” (Messages of the First Presidency, comp. James R. Clark, 6 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965–75, 6:179).
Those methods were well-defined by Nephi:
“And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.
“And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance” (2 Ne. 28:21–22).

This Part is for Those Seeking God's Voice


Good news and bad news:

Good: Whenever you start seeking God, hearing God and hearkening to God, God reciprocates.
Bad: Somebody else steps up his game, too.

Satan -- the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:10) -- is hell-bent on distracting those who hear Christ's voice with other voices which are equally powerful.
“The nearer a person approaches the Lord, a greater power will be manifested by the adversary to prevent the accomplishment of His purposes” (The Prophet Joseph Smith, in Orson F. Whitney, "Life of Heber C. Kimball", Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1967, p. 132).
Thus, knowing how Satan speaks to you is essential if you're to recognize his voice and turn away from it -- hence Paul's admonition that we "not [be] ignorant of his devices" lest "Satan should get an advantage of us" (2 Corinthians 2:11).

What Satan is Saying to Those Seeking God


There's no doubt that Satan's pick up lines are effective. They've proven over the millennia to be startlingly simple and definitely destructive.

And there's no end to his list of pickup lines, either (Mosiah 4:29). Here are some of his top faves (feel free to add to this list in the comments below):

FALSE VOICE #1: You're NOT the Right Stuff -- "You don't have the right [church calling / gender / genealogical pedigree / longevity as a church member / temple recommend status] to see (let alone hear) God." / "It's presumptuous to think you can [hear/commune with/see] God." / "It's prideful." / "It's the height of arrogance."
"Let us here observe, that after any portion of the human family are made acquainted with the important fact that there is a God who has created and does uphold all things, the extent of their knowledge, respecting his character and glory, will depend upon their diligence and faithfulness in seeking after him, until like Enoch, the brother of Jared, and Moses, they shall obtain faith in God, and power with him to behold him face to face." (Lecture 2:55; emphasis mine) 
"Seeing the Lord is not a matter of lineage or rank or position or place of precedence." (Elder Bruce R. McConkie, "The Promised Messiah," p. 569). 
(Click here for about another dozen quotes reiterating this point)

Thus, we see how the minute you try boxing God into a corner (for example, by stating that only those the right credentials can see God), you're on very tenuous ground. The requirements are clearly set forth: "any portion of the human family...shall...behold him face to face" (Lecture 2:55) and "every soul...shall see my face and know that I am" (D&C 93:1).

FALSE VOICE #2: You're a failure -- "You don't have what it takes."
“And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness” (D&C 50:23)
FALSE VOICE #3: It's impossible -- "You can't do it." / "It's futile to try." / "It's not worth it." /  "It's too tough."
"The things which are impossible with men are possible with God." (Luke 18:27)
"Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." (Mark 9:23)
"But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26)
FALSE VOICE #4: Unforgivable...That's what you are -- "You'll never be forgiven" / "Honestly, you deserve the self-inflicted punishment for what you did."
"Satan will try to make us believe that our sins are not forgiven because we can remember them. Satan is a liar; he tries to blur our vision and lead us away from the path of repentance and forgiveness. God did not promise that we would not remember our sins. Remembering will help us avoid making the same mistakes again. But if we stay true and faithful, the memory of our sins will be softened over time. This will be part of the needed healing and sanctification process." (Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Point of Safe Return", April 2007 General Conference)
FALSE VOICE #5: Wrong priority -- "Everyone does it" / "If you feel all right about it, it’s OK" / "Yes, that stuff is important. But you don't need to worry about that today! So, go ahead! Enjoy ___________ instead!"
“And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.
And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance” (2 Ne. 28:21–22)
Want to know what Satan's most popular telestial distractions are? Go here.

FALSE VOICE #6: You! Are! Awesome/Special! -- "You are worthy of a high and noble calling, even as a/the [impressive title]!!!"

Could Christ claim the title of Savior and Redeemer before He had completed his work? Of course not.

Then why are there so many people in the world claiming important latter-day authority (like the sealing power) and/or titles, including "The One Mighty and Strong," "The Servant," "The future New Jerusalem Temple President" and more?

Even more curious: Why are so many latter-day saints falling for these deceptions?

FALSE VOICE #7: Cheap Imitations -- "Tell 'Em What They Want to Hear"

Closely aligned with #6, there's an interesting phenomena occurring these days:
  1. Aforementioned important title/authority-holding person (I'll call them a "VIP") seeks out people who are interested in the last days, spiritual gifts and mysteries of God.
  2. "VIP" befriends these people.
  3. "VIP" discreetly shares that they have a special title and/or authority.
  4. "VIP" unilaterally offers to give person or persons a special blessing.
  5. Person or persons (either believing in "VIP's" claims, or not wanting to offend them) accept gracious offer.
  6. Blessing given under the hands of the "VIP" contains grandiose ("excessively grand or ambitious") promises which are, in fact, NOT divinely authorized.
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears" (2 Timothy 4:3)
“Some have received revelations and heard voices that are put there deliberately by wicked sources to lead astray. You can learn to recognize those and tune them out, if you will." (Elder Boyd K Packer, “Revelation in a Changing World”, October 1989 General Conference).
It's a fact that we can do all sorts of cool spiritual stuff and exercise profound spiritual gifts. But just because people say they do it under God's authority doesn't mean they really have it:
"And many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name; and in thy name cast out devils; and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I say, Ye never knew me; depart from me ye that work iniquity." (JST Matthew 7:32-33)

Recognize and Cast Out These False Voices Now!


Even (and especially) the best and the brightest among us are vulnerable to heeding these false voices (Joseph Smith-Matthew 1:22).

The potential long-term problem here is that by giving credence to false voices, and being comfortable with them, you expand the possibility of doing so with greater regularity...until you have gradually, yet effectively, tuned out God, and totally tuned in Satan. At this point, you may either be ignorant of this status (because you're so spiritually blinded), apathetic or in denial.
"We all have an inner braking system that will stop us before we follow Satan too far down the wrong road. It is the still, small voice which is within us. But once we have succumbed, the braking system begins to leak brake fluid and our stopping mechanism becomes weak and ineffective." (Faust, ibid)

Get A Proper Perspective


Sometimes, the signals can get so confusing, we aren't able to effectively discern who's signals we're receiving. We desperately want to do the right thing, and don't want to do the wrong thing.

Is there a way to filter out all these conflicting signals and discern God's truth for us, personally?

Yes. Could I leave you with some personal insights?

First, consider improving (and maintaining!) your spiritual filtering. As President James E. Faust stated,
"We need to learn how to ponder the things of the Spirit and to respond to its promptings-to filter out the static generated by Satan. As we become attuned to the Spirit, we 'shall hear a word behind [us], saying, This is the way, walk ye in it.'" (First Presidency Message, Liahona, June, 2006).
Below are some filters for you to consider, all elaborated here:
  • Filter 1: The Source Filter
  • Filter 2: The Scripture Filter
  • Filter 3: The General Wisdom Filter
  • Filter 4: The Time Filter
  • Filter 5: The Godly Counsel Filter
Second, please do not underestimate Christ's willingness -- in fact, enthusiasm -- to forgive you! Remember the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)? Even today, after almost two millennia of teaching about God's grace, the Father's willingness to forgive his runaway son is shockingly generous. In my opinion, those who don't believe they deserve forgiveness are likely unfamiliar with Jesus Christ, because if they knew Him, they would know just how enthusiastic He is to forgive us.

Finally, I encourage you to go back and read one of my past blog posts, "Don’t Just Know About Christ…EXPERIENCE Him!" Not only be one of His sheep who follows Him (John 10:27), but also experience Christ as often as possible!


In Conclusion


Words cannot describe how deeply both Jesus Christ and His Glorious Father wish to be part of your life.

There's no thrill quite like hearing the voice of Jesus Christ simultaneously resonating, reverberating, through your heart and mind.

There's no laugh quite like those generated by His sense of humor.

There are no words of appreciation you can adequately express when you've heard Him tell you, in a very unique and personal way, how much He loves you, and why.

You don't have to be perfect, or have some kind of important status, to hear Him. In fact, I'd say it's your imperfectness that brings Him closer to you, because He loves broken things.

Seek Him. And in the process of seeking Him, you WILL find Him. You WILL hear Him.

And, having heard Him, you will be launched into the greatest, most exciting adventure you could ever imagine.

5 comments:

  1. Thank you. I enjoyed reading about the various ways Satan tries to mislead us. What a thoughtful reminder. I'm not one for commenting often, but I am enjoying your series on the Lectures on Faith.

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  2. I'm glad to see you've written that God loves broken things. These have been the words on my heart the last few days.
    You've also successfully pointed out which false voice I've fallen for most recently (#1) in that I thought it was my own mind explaining why I can't see more than I already have right now because it would make me too prideful. Wow writing that out makes it seem even more ridiculous. 😂

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  3. Thank you so much for all you do! You are a dream come true for me. I am enjoying reading every word you post. Please keep them coming. What's interesting my conformation blessing said that my husband and I will have our C&E made sure. Oh! How desire to see the face of the Lord. One time in prayer I had my whole body burning as if on fire. Such a special moment I will NEVER forget. Do you have any thoughts about the burning I felt? I would love to know your thoughts.

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    1. Thanks, Terri! I so appreciate your kind words. :)

      There may be many reasons behind your burning experience. What has the Lord said about it?

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  4. I felt as if it was a cleansing or baptism by fire. Very spiritual experience.

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