Your eager and positive response to Wayne Benson’s “The Passion of the Vanguard
” was so strong, that again with his blessing I bring you what I am calling “The Spouse Seducer’s Strategies
” taken from his powerful series “Restoring Spiritual Passion
– A Passion for Holiness
.” Wayne’s heart has always strongly reached out to the needs of marriage and family, and I was blessed for 12 years to be Pastor of Marriage and Family at First Assembly of God in Grand Rapids Michigan where Wayne was Senior Pastor for 25 plus years. This teaching is one of the most incredibly insightful and on target teachings I have ever received on how “Hell’s Seducer of Spouses
” invades marriages. [
My comments will be in brackets as we go along.]
Now I share with you by way of warning signs that indicate the “Deception of the Soul.” Things that need to be perceived for what they are. I want to talk to you about “Warning Signs,” because the odds are there’s got to be at least a dozen or more people sitting out here right now, and you are on the thin edge of disaster yourself.
And I speak to you, not as a condemner, but as a brother and partner in tribulation who has to struggle against the same temptations of the flesh that you do. I see the same graphic displays of temptations, appealing to the flesh that you do, whether it be in ads, in the newspaper, or on television. Ministers don’t live in a bubble that is somehow sealed against the siren-song of the world.
[We must remember the words of the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 10:13,
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man.”
There are certain basic common denominators in the life of every Christian, regardless of age, sex, culture or creed. And one of these common denominators is “Temptation.” We don’t talk about them often, but temptations are there. Maybe right now you are battling a definite temptation. Maybe something as big as leaving your marriage partner and children for someone else!
“TEMPTATION OF EVERY KIND IS COMMON TO ALL – THE COMMON
DENOMINATORS OF EACH ONE OF US.”
Why so important to remember? Because the devil defeats us by buying into his lies! Lies like, “You are an exception, you have it tougher than most.” Or he will say, “You are the only one with this kind of problem, nobody else has it this tough in life.” Wrong! Lies! You are not an exception, this is not uncommon! Paul is saying, “We faced it all, God enabled us to bear it all and escape it. He will enable you too. Temptation is common, common, common to all.”
Listen to Paul in I Corinthians 10:13,
“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and
God is faithful, Who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what
you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of
escape also, that you may be able to endure it
“GOD DOES NOT PROMISE US THAT HE WILL REMOVE TEMPTATION
FROM OUR LIVES. RATHER THAT HE WILL ENABLE US TO
ESCAPE FROM ITS CLUTCHES AND BE TRIUMPHANT
I want you to hear these things out of a heart that is sensitive to your weaknesses. That’s what makes the ministry of Jesus so relevant to us, because He’s a high priest who is touched by the feeling of our infirmities, and tempted in all points as we are. He doesn’t stand on some God-lofted perch, preaching at us. He knows the feelings of our infirmities!
[We read in Hebrews 4:15,
“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our
weaknesses, but One Who has been tempted in all things
as we are, yet without sin.”
Therefore as Hebrews 2:18 says,
“For since He Himself was tempted in that which He suffered,
He is able to to come to the aid of those who are tempted.”
If you will:
“HE KNOWS WHAT WE ARE GOING THROUGH. HE KNOWS WHAT
WE NEED. HE’S GOT WHAT WE NEED. HE WILL GIVE TO
EACH OF US EXACTLY WHAT WE NEED.”
So we read His words in John 16:33,
“But take courage; I have overcome the world.”
And in I John 4:4,
“You are of God little children, and have overcome them; because
greater is He Who is in us that he who is in the world
And as I share these things, I could almost say, if I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it a hundred times, there are “Common Threads” that weave together a very intricate pattern of deception. And if you find yourself embroidered within its pattern, then you need to let the Holy Spirit deal with your heart, and speak to you through this message.
I want to talk specifically about “A Seducer,” whose sole desire is to draw our affections away from God, and come into marriages and households, to penetrate into the boundaries and steal that which belongs to God. We read in Matthew 24:43,
“Be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what
time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on
the alert and would not allowed his house to be broken into.”
And the Greek phrase that is translated “Broken Into” literally means:
The first warning sign (of “The Seducer
” coming into your marriage to dig through and steal away) is that of “Mental Preoccupatio
n.” When you find a “Mental Preoccupatio
n” with this “Other Person
,” and you find yourself beginning to think about them, and you are honest enough to recognize, “I’m thinking about them more than I should
,” that’s a warning sign.
” has already broken through into your mind and marriage.The paint has already begun to peel on your marriage-house, and it won’t be long and the wood will begin to rot.Even though everything seems to be A-Okay.]
And of course, at first you don’t realize that you are doing that. First:
“THERE IS AN UNUSUAL DESIRE FOR THEIR PRESENCE.”
“THAT PRODUCES A CONTRIVING OF SITUATIONS WHERE YOU
CAN BE TOGETHER WITH THEM.”
And you will try to find the best ways to legitimize it. As a matter of fact, in your mind at first, there is a very natural propriety to the idea that you need to be with them. In fact, it’s not always at all that you are planning deliberately to be alone with them. And that’s a part of what legitimizes it to you.
This is why this can begin more easily in terms of people that you are associated with all the time. People in your place of business, someone you work with at the shop or the factory, someone you are associated with in some particular organization or function, somebody who is there all the time. That makes for a “Natural Situation.” And:
“IF YOU OR THAT PERSON IS NATURALLY ASSOCIATED, THAT
MEANS THAT IT IS VERY EASY FOR YOU TO BE NATURALLY
AT EACHOTHER’S DISPOSAL
You can all the more easily arrange the situation.
[I think in this regard of the statement made about Satan when he first showed up in human history and we read in Genesis 3:1,
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field….”
Satan as you will recall came as a cunning, crafty serpent. Seeing that cunning craftiness is his MO, he at times comes in “Designer Suit or Dress.” Satan comes even in the form of “God-Confessors.” Satan comes in form of men’s cologne or women’s perfume. Never forget it, that cunningness is his craft. It is from the very beginning what he does best, as this seducing spirit casts his spells.]
It is amazing then, how cleverly the mind works. Maybe there’s an option of 2 or 3 people that could work on a particular project or task. But quickly you can think of 2 or 3 or 4 “Logical Reasons” why it should be this person that you need to spend time with on this project. And perhaps these other people would be better suited in other areas.
And then, I want to be clear to you, that at this point, perhaps in your mind, it isn’t that anything is actually designed that’s improper. Listen church, the “Adversary” would never have to go through some “Charade” with us, cleverly deceiving our mind, if we were anything else than godly persons committed to holiness, with a passion for the things of God. I mean, otherwise he would just come in and say to you and me, “Hey, man, chuck it. Let’s go for it today. Make your move. This is your chance.”
But we as believers, we are committed to another way of life, so it has to be a very slow process by which he erodes the wall of the household. He erodes the sensitivity to holiness, and creeps in subtly. It is:
“A SLOW INEBRIATION BY DECEPTION.”
[Yes, that one other person who you are already wooing, courting and seducing under the guise of an office project. Satan will always not only give you reasons for justifying your already sinful moves, he will also always make you think that He has a better product for you. He will stealthily make it look better. It is a lie, it is not better, but he makes it look that way.
Remember the words of Genesis 2:9,
“God made every tree pleasant to the sight and good for food.”
There was not need in their lives for the forbidden tree and the forbidden fruit. All the trees were good to look at and their fruit good tasting. So Satan disguised that one tree, and made it look better, sound better, smell better and holding greater promise of delectability than all of the rest. When the fact is:
“THERE IS NOTHING BETTER THAN WHAT GOD GAVE YOU
2. NATURAL AFFINITY
Not only does a “Mental Preoccupation” indicate that the “Spouse Seducer” has already broken through into your mind and marriage, but there is now also such a “Natural Affinity.” And I put that word “Natural” in quotes, because what you probably can see is that it is indeed a remarkable affinity. In fact, it’s very likely a supernatural affinity. It is just such an amazing affinity that you have with this other person. We just seem to think alike. This new volunteer secretary and I, or this new guy in the office, or this person that I involved in a ministry with me, or a fellow Sunday School worker, or a person in the choir and the orchestra.
And man, I just can’t believe, you now, she’s just such a godly woman, and he just such a wonderful, sensitive man. And man, I just can’t believe how much we think alike. It’s just such a “Natural Affinity,” it’s just amazing.
[Well now, isn’t that just honky dory, just like two peas in the devil’s pod.” But don’t you ever forget that the devil is an evil spirit, and:
“BEING A SPIRIT, CAN OPERATE LIKE A SURGEON ON THE MIND AND
THE IMAGINATION, RAISING UP IN IT SEDUCTIVE THOUGHTS AND
DESIRES, BY REPRESENTING OR MISREPRESENTING THE OTHER
PERSON AS MOST SUITABLE TO OUR PREDOMINANT
NEEDS, AFFECTIONS AND THOUGHTS.”
In other words:
“SATANICALLY INSPIRED NATURAL AFFINITY.”
You are probably saying by now, “Why that sneaky sucker! He has entered into my thinking already. I was just thinking those very “Affinity Thoughts” about my secretary the other day. I didn’t even know that he was messing with my mind. Yes, I know, he is so subtle and slippery, that he can slide into the hearts of men without any resistance or observation, because his seductive thoughts of natural affinity seem so right and reasonable.
But in he comes, as we read about Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:3 under a different but equally seductive operation,
“Satan filled their heart.”
And about Judas in John 13:27,
“Satan then entered into him.”
And you push back the idea. Wouldn’t even allow it come to the full statement or a sentence in your mind! But the sentence starts off like this:
“MAN, I WONDER WHAT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN LIKE IF
I’D MARRIED HER OR HIM?”
But of course you are too faithful, your mind is too faithful a servant to actually form the thought in fullness. But the thought was there, beginning to worm its way in. But, it’s just amazing:
“WE SEEM TO HAVE THE SAME VIEWPOINT. WHY, I START A
SENTENCE, AND HE SAYS THE SAME THING I AM
THINKING AND ALMOST FINISHES IT.”
Dear church, please understand, there are people that have unusual similarities in the way that they view things. But please don’t ever make the mistake that that kind of thing is fostered by anything else than the gradual intrusion of a spirit. Don’t make any mistake. There is an illusion that is being sown in your mind. Just as certainly as a farmer knows to sow seed in the season when that seed will most likely germinate, so the “Spirit of Seduction” knows when to sow seeds that are most like to germinate! The season and the soil that is most likely to nurture it!
IMPRESSION OF COMPATIBILITY
The next thing that begins to happen is that there comes an “Impression of Compatibility.” Perhaps you begin to make verbal observations of that. Usually the way that those verbal observations begin is in the realm of simple, seemingly “INNOCUOUS COMPLIMENTS:”
“OH THAT WAS JUST DONE REALLY GREAT.”
“THAT’S JUST EXACTLY THE WAY I WOULD HAVE DONE IT.”
Or maybe compliments about appearance. You are hardly around them but you need to say something about how nice they look. Oh, we do it with sensitivity and social delicacy, because I mean after all, you don’t want them to seem inappropriate. But it is nonetheless quietly happening.
And when those compliments are coming your way, and you are on the receiving end of it, I mean, everyone of us are just insecure enough that any kind of affirmation, we drink it up. But especially when it’s being given by someone who just seems to be so much akin to the interests and concerns that we have.
And I am not suggesting that there’s some game cleverly going on in your heart and theirs. Nobody’s plotting a plot that’s going to lead to the bedroom or break up the marriage. All that’s happening here is a couple of dedicated people that always go to prayer meeting together. I mean, they love God and the work of the Lord, and just seem to be kind of “Thrown Together.” There are things that are always sort of happening.
And there comes a kind of “Headiness” about this whole thing. Not a “Headiness of Pride,” but kind of a syrupy warmth that comes over your head when you get around them. As though you’ve drunk an elixir! Just so nice to be around them, so soothing!
And it’s about this point where you begin to ask yourself, “Hey, what am I doing here? Maybe, is it possible…?” But quickly you cut it off and say, “No, I know I’m not that kind of woman,” and, “I know that I am not that kind of man.” And:
“THOUGH YOU ARE NOT IN YOUR HEART, BUT ALL OF US ARE
IN OUR FLESH. SOMETHING IS STILL BEGINNING
TO WORM ITS WAY IN.”
[It all so far seems so innocuous, so innocent, but all the while it is so inviting. I mean, what harm can there be, what evil could ever be lurking in something so harmless and helpful and even wholesome sounding. I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit was thinking about this and much, much more when he said in Song of Solomon 2:15,
“Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that are ruining the
vineyards, while the vineyards are in blossom.”
Yes, the little foxes, the little worms, not the huge anacondas. When William Temple, later Archbishop of Canterbury, was an undergraduate at Oxford, he went to a famous American evangelist who pressed upon his student congregation the forgiveness of God, quoting the text,
“Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow,
though they be as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
Temple said, “Though I went to the meeting in a serious, enquiring spirit, I found myself quite unmoved, for alas, my sins were not scarlet, they were gray – all gray.” But it is in the undetectable gray sins of life that the darkness is beginning to form. The flirting tease, the inviting wink, the seemingly inadvertent brush of clothing, the fawning flattery, and quickly this seductive spirit of spouses slips into minds and hearts, and the little, destructive foxes sneak into the garden of marriage.
We must never forget:
“OUR BODIES ARE THE VEHICLE OF OUR SPIRITS, AND THEY ARE
THE CHIEF MEANS WE HAVE OF COMMUNICATING
Of course, we have all said at one time or another about a cold encounter we had with someone, “Man, if looks could kill, I’d be dead.” Sure, admit it, your eyes and mine can be “Death Dealing” or “Life Kindling.” So can our words. Our bodies communicate in many ways, and we must make sure that they convey holiness at all times.]
3. THE DRAWING OF COMPARISONS
Now, you don’t usually say that to anybody. It’s just something that’s happening in your mind, and the scenario goes something like this:
“HE’S JUST SO MUCH MORE UNDERSTANDING THAN MY HUSBAND.”
“SHE’S SO MUCH MORE SENSITIVE THAN MY WIFE.”
“HE JUST SEEMS TO HAVE SO MUCH MORE TIME FOR ME
THAN MY OWN HUSBAND.”
“SHE JUST SEEMS TO KNOW WHAT I NEED, WITHOUT MY
HAVING TO SAY IT.”
On and on it goes:
“HE’S JUST SO UNDERSTANDING, HE’S JUST SO MUCH
And you begin to draw comparisons. And you begin to use “Hints,” little suggestions to your spouse:
“SAY, YOU KNOW HONEY, HAVE YOU THOUGHT OF DRESSING
“WHY DON’T YOU WEAR SO-AND-SO NOW AND THEN?”
And what’s really happening is that you’re beginning to feel “Guilt” of the fact that your soul is being sucked toward another person, and you’re trying to build a defense for yourself by reshaping your partner, who doesn’t need reshaping. It is you who needs REPENTANCE.
But we don’t see it that way, because the deception is getting deeper and deeper all the time. And you don’t know that you’re deceived. That’s the way DECEPTION WORKS.
[Of course, if deception could and did take place in the state of innocence in the Garden of Eden, how much more easily can we be deceived by Satan in the state of Paradise Lost? We read of “The Great Deception” in I Timothy 2:14,
“And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite
deceived , fell into transgression.”
And we read in James 1:15,
“Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin.”
Double Trouble – Satan’s deception and Lust’s conception! The end products – sin and death! Hear this:
“WHEN WE ARE PREGNANT WITH SATAN’S DECEPTION AND
LUST’S CONCEPTION, WE ARE IN LABOR UNTIL WE
BIRTH THE SINFUL ACT.”
The act of adulterous intercourse could have happened already on this continuum of the seduction of the spouse, or it is not far around the corner.The seduced spouse is just a step away from acting out like the toddler who sits down in that enchanting mud puddle and then crams an irresistable fist full of mud into his or her mouth, and afterwards begins to spit and drool.]
END OF PART 1 – PART 2 WILL BE HERE SOON