This series is dedicated to a Man of God who is after God’s own heart. My Pastor, Elder William Eakins, II wrote a book titled Conversations with the Devil and in this book, he goes into great detail about the different strategies and tactics that the devil uses to wreak havoc in our lives. The Bible tells us in John 10:10 that the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy. That is his job, but Pastor Eakins exposes how the devil plans to do that in his book. Being a student of the Word under the guidance of this Man of God, I am blessed to learn how to navigate this world and maintain my righteous walk with the Lord.
This is part 5 of an 8-part series about the different conversations we have with the devil on a regular basis. Part 5 is based on the scripture Luke 22:1-6, and it deals with negotiation. When you negotiate, you essentially try to bargain your way into or out of something. I watched a standup comedian named Kabir Singh recently where he talked about how Indians always try to bargain, even when they are being robbed. It was a funny joke that reminded me of how the devil tries to bargain with us using ridiculous offers. For example, he will try to convince us to partake in something that will provide a brief amount of satisfaction, followed by long term regret. Be careful of THAT conversation! We have to remember to weigh all of the pros and cons AND to seek God for direction, instruction, and correction. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. God will always steer us down the right, or righteous path.
In his book, Pastor Eakins references “The Yogi Bear Syndrome” where people think they can outsmart the devil. Yogi always says, “I’m smarter than the average bear.” First of all, the devil has been doing his job for as long as humans have existed. Do you remember how he seduced Eve in the Garden of Eden? Adam and Eve were the first humans God created, and the devil was right there, waiting for his chance to bring sin into the world and begin his terror against mankind. He has had a very long time to perfect his negotiation skills. Don’t think for a moment that yours are better than his. That is the worst mistake that you can make in this situation!
Also in his book, Pastor Eakins talks about how the priests and scribes in the bible were looking for a way to get rid of Jesus because he was a threat to their social status. They did not realize how their scheming and plotting would lead to their destruction because it was a sin against God. However, the devil knew and was ready to help them be successful in their endeavors to get rid of Jesus. Although, I don’t think the devil knew the benefit that people would receive once Jesus was dead. His death, burial, and resurrection has paved the way for us all to have eternal life, while the devil is destined for eternal death in the Lake of Fire. I am thinking that perhaps the devil was only able to see in the short term where he could inflict harm to mankind by using negotiation to “appeal to their hopes and aspirations” to get rid of Jesus. He was essentially attacking the hopes they had for their life because they were thinking they were operating within God’s will. They did not believe Jesus was the Son of God, so they desired to get rid of Him. However, the devil knew who Jesus was, so he entered into Judas Iscariot to carry out his plan. While it appeared that Judas was providing a “benefit” for everyone involved, his betrayal of Jesus for 30 pieces of silver proved to be “detrimental” to everyone involved. The priests and scribes sinned against God by having Jesus crucified and Judas hung himself because he was riddled with guilt for betraying the innocent blood of Jesus.
The example of negotiation that pastor Eakins presents in his book is one where “Christian parents discover that their teenage daughter is pregnant.” The devil begins his negotiation by whispering to them how they can secure their daughter’s future. He tells them they should “Convince her to abort the baby” because even though God says killing is a sin, it is not an unforgiveable sin, and the baby will go to heaven. He tells them that their daughter will be able to have more children later, after she is married. She will be able to do it the “right” way. The devil knows that the Christian parents have a desire for their daughter to follow the righteous path where marriage comes first, and then children. Hopefully, they will recognize they are negotiating with the devil since his so-called solution is to murder an innocent child. This is an example of the “ridiculous offer” that I previously mentioned.
Think of negotiating with the devil as a compromise. You may think that you are getting a good deal, but it comes with a price. You have to sacrifice or compromise something of value when you negotiate with the devil. Judas sacrificed his soul and compromised his faith when he negotiated with the devil. Don’t compromise your faith. In case you have not heard the definition of faith that I gave from Pastor Eakins, it is the recognition and acceptance of reality as it truly is. This is best described by an ice berg, whereby the harmless looking tip is visible above the water, while the dangerous portion is out of sight. On the surface, the devil tries to warp your perception of reality so that you compromise your faith. I caution you to look beneath the surface to see the true reality of your situation. When negotiating with the devil, remember the saying I mentioned before, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Pastor Eakins warns us in his book that this “always applies to any opportunity that causes one to turn away from God.”
So, how do we recognize negotiation? Well, first and foremost, you must arm yourself with the Word of God. If you know the truth based on what God says, you will know what lines should not be crossed. You will have a sense of things that are not negotiable. If you familiarize yourself in what God wants, a red flag will prompt you to recognize when the devil is trying to negotiate with you. Stand firm on the truth of God, and the devil won’t be able to sway you.