1 Timothy 4
Today’s New Testament reading is Paul giving advice to his protégé Timothy on the art and science of being a minister. My attention has been drawn specifically to the first three verses. Paul is warning Timothy about false teachers, which was a particular problem for the church at that time. In Verse one Paul writes
But the Holy Spirit distinctly and expressly declares that in latter times some will turn away from the faith, giving attention to deluding and seducing spirits and doctrines that demons teach.
Deluding and seducing spirits. Is this important for us as Christians to pay attention to? I would say that if you believe in God you have to believe in the enemy. Our enemy does not arrive at our door to the sound of trumpets and waving his banner before him. His only hope of victory over the faithful is the thin end of the wedge approach. When I was younger and had children to feed I took a job as an insurance agent. They taught me how to sell insurance and the overriding approach to selling insurance was baby step by baby step. Selling insurance in the 80’s and 90’s was a long drawn out process of making the approach; getting the appointment; getting agreement in stage after stage after stage. If I knocked on your door and when you answered I said “Do you want to buy an insurance policy”? how many of you would say yes? Our enemy works in exactly the same way.
This is particularly relevant at this present time. On Saturday night the overwhelming majority of people in the country will be ‘celebrating halloween’. This always struck me as the most awkward time of year for priests. How do they play this? Too heavy and you lose your audience. Too light and you lose your audience in a much worse way. For myself I would point out that there are forces abroad in the world that are looking for your destruction, baby step by baby step; stage after stage after stage. Those lost souls who attend demonic groups or proclaim themselves to be witches or whatever else it is they call themselves all refer to Halloween as the devil’s birthday. In a certain city in America a demonic group would hire a shop for the month of October at a cost of $30,000 and sell costumes and candy, items that would arouse no suspicion in anybody’s mind. It was all harmless fun; or so everybody thought. But in testimony the people who worked in the shop admitted that they prayed to our enemy over everything they sold. Was any real harm done? You tell me.
I would urge you all to have an extra prayer this weekend and if you can find some time between one o’clock and four o’clock on Sunday to pay a visit to Holy Cross just to touch base with God. In 1 Peter 5:8 we are warned that the devil is like a lion looking for his dinner. Go on youtube and watch how a lion stalks her prey. She takes her time; she watches every twitch and turn of her prey; she inches closer, careful step by careful step until the optimal time to strike arrives; then it’s bye-bye zebra. We need to be watchful, alert and at all times prayerful.