Yesterday Stokes made the comment that lately he's been inundated with telemarketers and phone solicitations. I mentioned that while I endured a flood of such calls a few weeks ago, recently things had died down. Of course, as you would predict, before the day ended I received such a call and was sufficiently tricked into answering.
You must give these telemarketers credit - they've designed computer programs to bypass "do not call registers" and our basic common sense. When we do slip up and answer, the voice on the other end sounds very "live" and interactive ... nothing like what we'd expect a robo call to sound like. I've learned to not answer when a call pops up from Del Rio, TX or Patriot, OH or Bainbridge Island, WA or even just the USA ... but when a 640 prefix number appears I'm probably going to answer it if I'm available to talk at that time. The enemy has now penetrated our own phone system and is originating these calls in our own back yard!
Yes, I realize that technology can make it look like the call comes from our area when, in fact, the call actually comes from somewhere like Salina, UT ... but that's part of their strategy. Their goal is to just get me to answer by whatever means necessary. This, too, is the strategy of our enemy the devil. He has the technology designed to make me believe whatever he throws at me is good, safe, local, trustworthy, and reputable. He knows better than to call me from Hell's Headquarters or Satan's Simple Slide into Sin Service ... he'll reach out to me from the most innocent sounded sources available. Often his strategy is to make me think the voice of my own conscience is actually the voice of God. We must stay alert to the enemy's subtle strategies and attacks. Let's remember the exhortations of God's Word:
- James 4:7-8 - Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
- 1 Peter 5:8-9 - Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kids of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
The enemy is real and he wants to distract us, make us miserable, hinder us from obeying God, render us useless for the Kingdom, steal our joy, and tempt us to fall into various sins. But remember the cross where this enemy was defeated ... the weakness of Jesus conquering forever the strength of Satan. Remember the resurrection where Jesus rose victorious over the grave, death, sin, and the curse. Remember the Gospel and go proclaim it to those living in darkness and deception, still on the phone with the enemy.
And one more thing, remember 1 Thessalonians 5:17 - "pray without ceasing." Perhaps if we stayed on the phone with our Father we wouldn't be so tempted to answer any and every other call that comes our way.