The Prize and the Prison
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The TV news report was actually slightly amusing. These individuals came into the store, waving a piece of paper indicating that they had just won a free DVD player, and they were coming to claim it. What they didn't know was that notice had been mailed by the police to their last known address. See, these people were wanted, but they had disappeared. But when they checked their mail, they had news of having won that DVD player. The amusing part came when the police arrested them on the spot as some of them were actually laughing at what they thought was a joke or some kind of "Candid Camera" TV stunt. It was no joke. They were going to jail.
That's what the police call a "sting operation." And it really worked - offer something good just to capture people. And the police use that strategy to accomplish good things. Satan has been using that strategy for a long time to accomplish his destructive purposes in people's lives. He may be using his "sting operation" to capture you right now.
The Bible describes his devious tactics in 2 Timothy 2:26, our word for today from the Word of God. Paul talks about people for whom it is his desire "that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will." I don't know anybody who wants to end up doing the will of the devil; whose desire is to be Satan's captive. But they fall into his clever trap, which is invariably baited with something good. Something that it looks like will come from just a little compromise.
The lure may be the promise of sexual pleasure, or sexual conquest, or just a chance to feel loved. The lure could be a chance to get ahead or to get out of a jam, just by a little lie or a little compromise of your integrity. Maybe the devil is tempting you with what looks like the advantages of leaving your marriage vows, the thrill or the relief from checking out a little pornography, the satisfaction of getting even, or the relief you'll get from abandoning a commitment.
The devil's basic strategy is really pretty simple: get you obsessed with the prize you might get so you're blind to the trap you're walking into. He'll convince you that "it's just this once," "just a little," "it won't hurt." Lies. All lies. Jesus exposed the devil when he said he is "the father of lies" and "there is no truth in him" (John 8:44). He is, as Jesus said, the "thief" who comes "only to steal, kill and destroy." You will not ultimately get what he seems to be offering - the satisfaction, the love, the excitement, the relief. It's just Satan's bait to take you captive and ruin everything he can in your life. But he'll promise you anything to get you to walk into his trap.
Now, while you still can, run from that temptation that you've been flirting with, surrender yourself to Jesus and "be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power...take your stand" the Bible says, "against the devil's schemes" (Ephesians 6:10-11).
If you're being lured into a "sting operation" from hell, you can't afford to go for the prize that you'll actually never really get. But, of course, you won't know that until the handcuffs are on you and the cell door slams shut behind you. Please don't go there!
Distributed by Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc.