The Ploy

 

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How easily we succumb to the temptation one-by-one! It is not unlike an avalanche that can begin with the smallest unstable thing that begins to tumble down creating and attracting other unstable things. Gradually it becomes larger and moves faster creating more and more destruction in its wake.

 

Century after century Satan uses his wiles in the same pattern. He uses ploy as his most effective strategy. By definition a ploy is “a cunning plan or action designed to turn a situation to one’s own advantage”. There is no need for him to alter his strategy because it has proven effective time and time again no matter how erudite we may think we are.

 

Any of us can name specific wiles and wickedness he produces as a result of the ploy, but if we look at the ‘big picture” we must come to grips with his ultimate desire and that is to divide. First, he would seek to divide us from the Lord for nothing would please him more than to rob Him of us, His trophies won on the cross. Second, he would seek to divide us from one another weakening and destabilizing one and then another. Whether the result is our worship of him in fact matters little to him so long as we forfeit our commitment to the crux of our connection to Him and one another.

 

Daily life provides Satan with the fodder he needs. Nearly any situation or circumstance can be used to distract us from our focus on the Lord and who He has created and called us to be. ANYTHING. I know it and you know it. I have experienced it and you have experienced it as well.

 

Inevitably one of the results is to become anxious or fearful because things are not under our control. What any of us does next will determine how successful the ploy will be? If we quickly recognize it for what it is and turn our focus back on the Lord, our faith and trust is strengthened and he loses the skirmish. If we do not and let’s face it, none of us do so all of the time, then he nudges us to try to take control ourselves in more ways than we can even count or want to admit. (I don’t want to give him credit by listing them here.) He can be effective in this because he has duped us into allowing fear to become larger than life and larger than God.

 

We lose sight of the key words from 1 John 4:18 ESV:

 

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”

 

Okay, none of us love perfectly or perhaps even come close to it, but God does love perfectly. He loves us perfectly. He shows us that in countless ways despite our fallibility, our station in life, or our current circumstances. If the ploy causes us to doubt that and the truth that such love will always be faithful in providing for us, we will quickly look to what John Eldredge calls “less wild lovers” to rescue us or provide for us. Those “less wild lovers” can come in many forms, sizes, and disguises. They can include any and all addictions, self-protection, staying in a victim mode, operating in self-righteousness that belies the truth of our pride, looking to someone who will agree with us whether they speak truth or not, and more. They can include relying on organizations, institutions, or any other entity instead of the Lord.

 

These then open us to the second punch of the same ploy. We start to fear and distrust others unless they agree with us and support our shaky position. Our fear of others points to the downfall of not loving others as ourselves.

 

The end result of the interweaving of this two-pronged ploy is increased division. If we, His children, are one body destined to live with Him in one Kingdom then when we fall prey to the ploy, we exemplify what Jesus taught in Matthew 12:25:

 

“But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.”

 

In the end of all time and all things, scripture makes clear that what we will be judged on will be whether we have loved the Lord with all our heart, mind, and soul and if that has brought forth His character in us so that we demonstrate that by loving one another. That is the litmus test each of us faces.

 

At present, it would seem the skirmishes in the two-pronged ploy are succeeding with too many of us so that we find ourselves arrayed in battle one against another while proclaiming we are a part of the same Kingdom. Our rhetoric has shifted from eloquence based on Kingdom truth to empty rhetoric replete with hateful, fear mongering words and tones whether our position has merit or not. I might think we are in danger here of not only harming whatever cause we believe in, but more importantly tearing down the Kingdom.

 

The ploy can be defeated. The power of the Lord exceeds any and all that Satan can and does throw at us. The answer comes when we lay aside our sin, our self-righteousness, our pride, and anything that is not like the Lord. The Lord showed us the principle and our purpose before He returned to His Father. I think it behooves each of us to reflect each day on what He pointed to as the foundation for our speech and our actions and we can only do it when we first submit our will to Him:

 

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”  And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”   Matthew 22: 36-40 ESV

 

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22 thoughts on “The Ploy

  1. Interestingly, Pam, I just put a post on Facebook that sent an uproar. It wasn’t to devise. It wasn’t to criticize or tear another down. I thought it was interesting and some insight to things that are setting fear into the hearts of many. OH goodness! I even said no comments – just some brain filtration! But arguments ensued. As they argued and got hostile, they didn’t even knowledge that I had said, “No comments, please!” The enemy SO wins in these situations. His ploy to divide is working well in our country. I pray we can use the power of God to stop him in his tracks!
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

    1. I understand that one completely! I hit “like” on a page that I thought was showing something similar and made no comments and got an angry response expressing sadness and shock I would do so and then using my name in it that reposted it. It can feel like the world has gone mad. Sadly, too many in the body seem to be falling prey to feeding this as well. We cannot shift our focus from the Lord. We really cannot. Love and hugs to you! Stand strong in your faith, His grace, mercy, and love, my friend. The Lord is not caught off guard and told us division would increase more and more as the ‘end of the age’ approaches. So appreciate you!!

  2. Pam, you are right on–the way to defeat the enemy’s ploy to divide and distract is to love! I was just listening to the radio and Ron Hutchcraft used the same exact analogy of an avalanche. The enemy comes to steal kill and destroy, but Christ came to give us abundant life! Thanks for these great reminders! (Your neighbor at Thought provoking Thursdays)

    1. Thanks so much for what you shared here, Christin! It is an encouragement when I learn someone else has heard something from the Lord that aligns with what I have sensed from Him. Have a blessed weekend touched by His love and grace!

  3. Funny that I read words from Elisabeth Elliot just this morning warning that “the enemy is determined tor make us forget that he exists. He would love to tempt us to deny his existence, or to to to the other extreme and to feel an unhealthy and an excessive interest in him.”

    I love it when my wise friends’ messages come to me in harmony!

  4. Such a big bully, that satan. ick. And, you’re so right – He conquers by dividing. ick again. Great thoughts on tripping him before he has a chance to do greater damage. So grateful for God’s love and protection. 🙂 Thank you for sharing with #ChasingCommunity today. Great to see you! ((hug))

  5. The answer is always love, isn’t it Pam? Great things here to think on and to consider. And division is certainly a tactic that keeps us from walking in love, it steals and destroys all the good things that God has already provide in the the fellowship of His Son.
    Thanks for sharing these thoughts at the #GraceMoments Link Up.
    Blessings,
    Dawn

  6. Hi Pam, I am your neighbor blogger from Brenda’s blogs site. I asked God this morning to lead me to a fellow writer to pour encouragement over them. He lead me to you. Keep sharing your story, Pam. Keep following His promises and dreams He placed on your heart. You have a beautiful ministry. His ministry to talk and love over women. I understand days of loneliness and self-doubt. Me too. Keep sharing, keep searching, keep shining the light of our Teacher. Hugs, Michele

  7. Hi Pam! It was so interesting to follow the logic of the ‘ploy’. I can tell you that evil has made me a fearful mess more than once. Of course, that includes my decision to agree with that fear. Sigh. As you said, there is no need for Satan to change his ploys, they all work too well.

    I have learned that doing much of anything based on emotion at the time is usually a bad idea. How do I know that? Because I have done stupid things in the moment! They are hard lessons to learn, but I hope they are enough for me never to do them again. I have to grab my grace and get on with my life in the Lord.
    Wonderful post!
    Ceil

  8. Pam- this is so thought-provoking. I’ve been thinking on the idea of a “ploy” as well- Satan turning things to his advantage. 2 Timothy talks about being ensnared by him to do his will- and that’s just it, we’re either serving God’s will, or the devil’s. And we’re very easily led to “less wild lovers” as you quoted. Thanks for giving me more to chew on on this topic!

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