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 6 of an 8-part series about the different conversations we have with the devil on a regular basis. Part 6 is based on the scripture Acts 16:11-18, and it deals with confusion. In my older age, I find that I get confused more often than I used to. In his book, Pastor Eakins mentions multiple meanings for the word “confuse,” including “to perplex or bewilder, to make unclear or indistinct, to associate by mistake, and to jumble or disorder.” In my case, I usually experience things that are unclear. People say things to me all the time that are confusing to me. I have to take a moment to think about and analyze what they are saying. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.
A noisy environment can also cause confusion for people who are trying to communicate with each other, or who are just trying to see what is happening within their surroundings. Crowded sports events and concerts are good examples of this. Have you ever been in a meeting where the participants try to speak at the same time? Sometimes, it leads to a shouting match because each person wants their voice to be heard. As a result, everyone is confused because nothing is effectively communicated. The confusion from multiple speakers is even worse when the meeting takes place on a conference call. There have been countless times where I had to follow-up with individuals after a conference call to clarify what they were trying to communicate.
In his book, Pastor Eakins reiterates the warning found in 1 Corinthians chapter 14. There are many voices speaking in the world. There are many voices speaking to YOU and ME. We need to be able to distinguish between which voices mean us good and which ones mean us harm. We need to remember that confusion does not come from God. God has given us a voice to speak truth with clarity and conciseness. Confusion comes from the devil because he is trying to attack our voice. He wants to sow discord so that we don’t have a clear understanding, which in turn destroys our ability to relay important information in a clear and concise manner. The devil wants to thwart our ability to understand the truth because it contradicts everything he stands for. The bible tells us in John 8:44 that the devil is the father of lies and no truth is found in him. Just like how a lie represents the devil and what he stands for, the truth that you speak represents you and what you stand for. When you represent God and stand for the things of God, the devil wants to silence you with confusion so you cannot spread the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Another way that the devil causes confusion is by adding noise when we speak. I cannot count the number of times I read or heard a message on social media that was praising God or speaking truth about God, followed by someone trying to tear down the message. This can be detrimental to new believers or someone seeking truth. Because of the “noise,” they become confused and don’t know what to believe. When that happens, the devil gains a foothold in the life of the new believer or the one seeking truth. When I see that happen online, sometimes I will throw in my 2 cents, backed by scripture of course, just to give leverage to the truth. I try not to address the person causing confusion because more often than not, they are set in their stance even though they probably don’t realize they are working for the devil.
In his book, Pastor Eakins goes into detail about how the message from Paul the Apostle was setting people free from the bondage of sin. Of course, the devil could not let that go, so he “devised a subtle counterattack.” There was a young lady following Paul and singing his praises because she was trying to present herself as one of the followers of Jesus so that when she went off and did her demonic deeds of soothsaying and divination, she would appear credible because she was seen following Paul and proclaiming his good deeds. She was essentially trying to “attach” herself to Paul so she could elevate her reputation. The devil was trying to put her in a position for people to say, “She must be trustworthy because she was with Paul, who is a follower of Jesus.” We have to be very careful when trying to mix godly acts with ungodly people. Oftentimes, instead of reaching the lost soul, we end up elevating the ungodly agenda and giving the devil a voice. Of course, that leads to more confusion!
Another thing the devil was doing with the young lady who was following Paul was setting up a scenario where Paul’s message would be discredited because of his association with the demon-possessed girl. Once the soothsaying and divination proved to be phony, people would start to doubt the message from Paul because they would appear to be working together. If the acts of the young lady were false, then the acts of Paul would lose credibility simply by association. As believers who are trying to live a righteous life, we have to be very careful of those who are around us because the devil wants to “imitate the words and actions of the righteous so that when his agents do wrong, the entire body of Christ suffers the shame.” The church becomes “useless” because it has allowed evildoers into its inner circle. The lost will not be able to find hope in the church as God intended. Once again, the devil has become successful in taking away our voice.
You may be wondering why Paul, and other Christians would allow the devil to cause confusion. In some cases, it is because they feel like they will benefit from the circumstance, so they ignore the harm that it is causing, or maybe they don’t see the harm in it. People love it when they are edified by other people. While some say, “Flattery will get you nowhere,” others say, “flattery goes a long way.” Who doesn’t like compliments that are directed towards them. This is true for the Christian and non-Christian alike. This is why we have to examine ourselves daily to make sure we are not catering to our fleshly desires. We have to consider God in everything that we do, including when we allow people to hang around us. People always have a motive, and we need to take care to evaluate that motive. Ask yourself why the ungodly person is hanging around you. Are they “seeking” truth, or are they “mocking” truth and setting you up for a fall?
It took a few days, but after a while, Paul finally realized the accolades from the young lady were not a good thing, and he took action to “cut through the confusion” that she was causing. “First, he confronted her,” and then he “demonstrated power over the spirit” that was controlling her. Those are the same steps we all need to take in order to set things right. We don’t confront the devil to enter into a debate. We confront the devil to show that we are not like him. We are to be sanctified, or set apart, from the ungodly. We need to clarify that we are followers of Jesus Christ to show that we have established a relationship with the One True and Living God. Many people make a generic statement about their god, but there are many gods in the world, so we need to clarify to remove confusion about the God we serve. Remember that the True and Living God is not a God of confusion, so we as Christians need to make every effort to ensure we are not causing confusion when we speak. We represent God, which means we are not supposed to cause confusion. It also means that the life we live needs to exemplify clarity and conciseness instead of causing confusion.
You may not realize it, but people are watching you, especially if you claim to be a Christian. They are not always watching you to learn how to live, but they are watching you and waiting for you to do something that goes against your claims. They are looking for that confusion so they can expose you as a fraud. Of course, there are others who are watching you and wanting to learn how to find the joy that you have. In those cases, it is even more important to not cause confusion because it will result in a lost soul who may never seek after God again. That is what the devil is striving for, and we CANNOT allow it!
Let your voice be heard. Do not allow the devil to stifle your voice with confusion. Do not give the devil a foot in the door of your life because he will use it to suppress and suffocate your voice with confusion. Do not allow the devil to infiltrate your inner circle and cause your voice to lose credibility. Be diligent and consistent.