Well, had I asked you that question after I addressed my #1 Stumbling Block in part 1 (do I want to know if I am wrong?), it would have been a treacherous walk! I would've told you "wear your helmet cuz there's going to be a lot of stumbling... I'm BLIND now!!"
Yep. That's what overcoming stumbling block #1 feels like. You go from thinking you saw everything clearly to suddenly realizing you're blind! Pitch black darkness. How scary is that? I absolutely understand why so many of us look at stumbling block #1 and go "um, no thanks! That looks like it's going to suck... and hurt... and be scary. I'll keep things just the way they are, thank you very much."
Because it does hurt!
Have you ever been deceived by someone you completely trusted? Do you recall how the unexpected betrayal felt at the very core of your being? Do you remember the inconsolable pain that nothing of this world could touch or reach? That is the power of our Adversary.
Just as Love (what IS good) is the power of God, Deception (what SEEMS good) is the power of Satan. Take a moment and read that sentence again. After all, Eve did not partake of the forbidden fruit because she thought it was a bad thing to do... she partook only when Satan deceived her to believe it was a GOOD thing to do.
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:6)And so it was with what I believed as my sincere devotion to God. I genuinely believed it was good, that it was a delight to Him and I thought myself wise in His ways. Nowhere did I realize I was ignorant! Because nowhere in my devotion and worship did I intentionally seek "hey, how can I act wickedly against God? What abominations can I commit towards Him?" I was sincere in seeking what I thought was good!
But so was Eve.
But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3)But here's the good news... do you know what the surprising thing is about finally realizing you're blind? You start feeling your way around desperately... you start looking/seeking for what is solid... you start looking for what is TRUTH. It's like being born again... vulnerable and having to re-learn everything from scratch! Until that point, there is no seeking, only assuming everything we're doing is "good".
"Truly, I say to you, unless you turn [repent / reject old ways / do a 180] and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3)
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance... Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth... since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God. (1 Peter 1:22-23)
And [God] made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth... that they should seek God in the hope that they might feel their way towards Him [like a blind man] and find Him... The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent. (Acts 17:26-27 & 30)
Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation - if indeed you have tasted that the LORD is good. (1 Peter 2:2-3) - please note that Paul refers to this spiritual milk as the oracles of God in Hebrews 5:12-13 which Stephen equates to the Law of Moses in Acts 7:38
I struggled with admitting I was blind! Oh how humbling!!! How can the LORD love me when I have been blinded? But in His great mercy and comfort, He showed me why my blindness was beautiful in His sight and why it was necessary:
"For judgement I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind." Some of the Pharisees [prideful teachers] near Him heard these things, and said to Him, 'Are we also blind?' Yeshua said to them, "if you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, 'we see,' your guilt remains." (John 9:39-41) - Had these teachers tackled stumbling block #1 of 'could I be wrong?'
"I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to these things... delivering you from your people [Israel] and from Gentiles - to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me"... that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance." (Acts 26:16-18 & 20)
So deception is the conviction that something is good, when in truth, it is evil. That is the true blindness. That is the real darkness. Therefore, the weapon of warfare for deception is ignorance!!
Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?" (Mark 12:24)
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. (Hosea 4:6)
Therefore my people go into exile for lack of knowledge. (Isaiah 5:13)
YHWH has revealed to me that Deception is a beautiful broadly-paved road with twists to the right and to the left, winding and curving, distracting its wanderers from the sudden last turn that ends in death. Deception is a death whose tombstone reads: "Ignorance is Bliss."
So Stumbling Block #2 for Rita:
1. Have I been deceived?
2. Have I been ignorant?
3. Am I blind?
With this, my spirit cried out "if ignorance is the weapon of our Adversary that ensnares us into a blind slavery, what can be our only weapon in fighting back? How do we fight with wisdom and discernment to breaks off the bonds of deception?" The Father answered me:
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
"If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:31-32)
With that, my dear ones, the LORD revealed to me that there is a war happening. It is not a war where I am looking outside and around me for some evil red-horned being whose wickedness can be seen from a mile away! No. The war is spiritual and it is within me... it's within all of us... in our thoughts, in our heart (which is deceptive above all things)... therein lies the spiritual realm and it is at war.
Put on the full armour of God for His precepts are like the splendid armour of a heavily-armed soldier, so that you may be able to successfully stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood... but against the rulers, against powers, against the world forces of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places... Above all, lift up the protective shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. (Ephesians 6:11-12 & 16-17)
Praise be to God! My fighting back began when I was finally willing to look at Stumbling Block #1 of 'could I be wrong?' and not walk away! Praise be to God who revealed to me my blindness and caused my spirit to cry out to Him and to finally start seeking for Truth as if it's a treasure hunt for my life!! He has caused me to hunger and thirst after Him!
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6)
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 29:11-14)
Who shall ascend to the hill of the LORD? And who shall sit in his holy place? He who has clean hands [repented] and a pure heart [circumcised], who does not lift up his soul to what is false... He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. (Psalms 24:3-6)
Now, my dear ones, we have walked together and here we are back at your doorstep. Thank you for walking with me... thank you for listening to a story. I pray its words be a blessing to you, a comfort and a hope in the face of its terrifying possibility of being true. But that will be your journey, your walk... one I hope and pray unites us at a doorstep knocking and asking "Do you want to go for a walk? Do you want to hear my story?"
I have not met many of you, and yet I love you so deeply. I am with you in your warfare! I pray for your protection, for the armour of God to protect you! Fight, my dear ones! Fight and win! But begin with the biggest battle of all: asking yourself "have I been deceived? Am I blind?"
God bless you all and see you in part 3!