I want to confess something and expose it as a terrific scheme of the flesh and ploy of the devil. It is a sleight-of-hand used by the soul to get its own way. I use the term sleight-of-hand because it is an act of illusion and delusion. It is the grand art of trickery. For sure it’s a, “These are not the droids you’re looking for” moment, for you Star Wars fans. Obi-Wan’s mind craft is a trick we all attempt to use, even on ourselves and God.
Trickery of the Soul
I was witness to, yes, right here in river city, a display of trickery by my soul. In actuality, it was just plain rebellion but trickery sounds more salacious. I had a whole dialog in my head, full of fanciful language, which all led towards me getting my way. Mentally I leapt about like a cat on a tin roof bolstering my point. I realized I was in rebellion because I was without the peace of the Spirit. And beyond that, I had that all knowing check in my spirit.
Rebellion is common but here is what is fascinating. I witnessed the whole wrestling match the soul performs to get its own way. What is normally done in the secret recesses of the mind had a spotlight on it so that I could bear witness. (I know parents with children get to see this display regularly!) The reams of dialog attempting to debate away a plain and simple NO—oh, this is so crafty. The soul is a wily one, full of excuses and arguments to get its own way.
The Down and Dirty Soul
Here is how it went down. I wanted to copy and paste some content off of a Christian website for personal use. But there was a clearly labeled note on the website that they were permitting no downloading at all, even for personal use. My first response was, “That’s weird, why put it out there on the internet if I can’t even use it personally? I understand not reproducing it for sale or distribution but I want this for my own personal study.” This was only my first argument, but I also had a check in my spirit. I felt like the Spirit didn’t want me to do it, yet my debate proceeded. Questioning I thought, “Hey, was that the Spirit or me just responding to this stupid note?” “Maybe that was just me?!”
That’s one of the tricks the soul uses: “No, it couldn’t possibly be God because then I don’t get my way.” I continued wrestling and a new argument appeared. “Wait a minute, I’ve paid for this content many times over! We even sell it on our website, I have the right to it!” But still there was that check in my spirit. Long story short, the debate carried on, and I eventually got to the core of it all: “I want to do it!” You see, the whisper of the Spirit is but a whisper, while my rights, desire, and need…can be so much louder.
Eventually it became about a violation against me. I was being mistreated by this website. Hahaha, nothing defends my rights more than perceived injustice. Then it was, “Well, I could spend the time to type it out but it is done already and surely that couldn’t be the intent of this company.” See, the debate then moved into intent, where I decided what they “meant” by their words. Of course I could legalese my way through that landmine, but what I couldn’t debate is that I didn’t have the peace of the Spirit. All my debating had to bow to Him and the peace that surpasses all understanding.
Just Say No to the Soul
How often is this scenario played out each and every day? How often is the debate to override the Spirit played out in our own lives? I know for me this was a reality check with something seemingly insignificant, but was it? I may never know the actual reason, but I know that even the smallest NO of the Spirit has eternal consequences. If He cannot trust me with my small decisions, how can He trust me with the more important choices?
Our immediate obedience to the Spirit is crucial. He doesn’t speak without purpose, even in the small things. He leads us through life with His voice and peace. And our obedience has eternal ramifications. Our life is a training for reigning and one of the ways we do that now is by being ruled in our choices.
And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].
Colossians 3:15 AMPC