14 January, 2015

Played Like a Fiddle?

We have probably all heard the phrase, "He played you like a fiddle." I was talking with someone today and I said that, and they were totally bewildered. I said to that person that the Devil was playing them like a fiddle. They did not understand at all. The phrase means "to manipulate a person skillfully." Now days people just say, "you got played" but the root of the meaning is the same. Someone manipulated or controlled you.

The sad truth is that the Devil plays a lot of folks and they are completely unaware that they are being played. There are so many different ways in which the Devil plays folks that it would literally take a book to cover them adequately, but for the purpose of my blog today, I want to talk about one of them. This is probably one of the most shrewd games the Satan plays on folks. His goal is to make the person feel like they no longer need God. Now, the person being played would most likely never even realize that they have come to feel that way, and if you asked them about it, they would deny it. They are unaware... and that's why it's called being played. The devil is a master at this manipulation thing. He does it so slyly that people are clueless.

Here's an example of how he might play someone and get them started down the path to excluding God from their lives:
The Devil will cause something to happen in our lives (or even use an event or happening that naturally occurred) to break us down a bit, even to the point that we panic and call on God. We will call everyone we know and get them to pray. We will call the pastor and the prayer chains and we might even go so far as to go to church a time or two as we feel the need for God. But then as the problem begins to lesson and life straightens out, here comes Satan with his deception and excuses to keep us away from church, away from prayer and from reading the Bible. This is the key element of us being played, for he is teaching us that we don't need God in our everyday lives... we only need him like we need fire insurance. It's nice to know we have an insurance policy, but we stick it away and don't think about it until crisis comes.  So with time, we drift back to the same old same old, forget all about the crisis that once was and God is seldom thought about. 

Over and over in our lives this routine repeats itself, until we get to the place that we treat God like an insurance policy or a fire extinguisher, stuck in a corner some where and forgotten until we need him in crisis. The thing that we don't realize is that the Devil really does not care one bit if you call on God in the time of crisis. What he is concerned about is if you start calling on God and talking with Him when the sun is shining and life is good. He will manipulate you into thinking you are "on good terms" with God because you know where you left Him... but he has you deceived, wandering aimlessly and clueless to the fact that you are lost. He has you right where he wants you... because he has played you like a fiddle. You are not alone. There are hundreds of thousands who call them self "Christian", but they have been played and they have no clue that they are on their way to Hell. I said to someone earlier today, "I can call myself a millionaire, but that does not make me one." Calling yourself a Christian is meaningless, UNLESS you are a follower of Christ. The term "Christian" means "to act like Christ." I can hear the argument already... "Nobody is perfect!" You are right. But that does not exclude us from striving to be like Christ, living a holy (separated/different) life from the world and having the confidence that it is not our righteousness, but Jesus' righteousness that matters. The question is, do you put your trust in Him? Part of the game the Devil runs on people is to get them to thinking, "well, I'm not as bad as 'so and so'."  

The crux of his manipulation is that the more times he runs this game of us calling on God and then withdrawing away from God, the further we pull away each time and we don't even realize what has happened to us. It reminds me of something that happened several years ago while we were on vacation. We were in Florida and were spending the day at the beach. My wife is not the greatest swimmer, so she tends to hang close to the shore. This day, she was on a tube floating and she did not realize that as the tide was moving in, the undertow or back current was carrying her out further from the shore a little bit at a time.  By the time she realized it, she was too far out to try to get herself back in. She tried yelling, but none of us could hear her. Fortunately I turned and saw her being carried out and was able to go out and bring her back in. But this is exactly what happens to people in a spiritual sense. They are lulled into a false sense of security because they are "close" to God, but they don't realize that they are drifting and being pulled further and further away. Some never do realize it and they are eternally lost.

I ask you today to do a real gut level assessment of yourself and your family. Are you secure in Christ, or have you been lulled into a false sense of security as you've drifted so far away that you don't even bother calling on God anymore, except in the case of crisis.  I can't make that decision for you. You have to ask yourself... am I really serving God, or have I been using him as a fire extinguisher? 

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