The Devil is in the Details

The Devil is in the Details

John 8:32 (CSB) You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

I don’t remember where I first heard the statement “the devil is in the detail” but it seems to have come up frequently as of late. I decided to look it up to see the true meaning. It is an idiom that refers to a catch or mysterious element hidden in the details meaning it may seem insignificant and small at first but becomes that which hinders or changes the outcome. What I didn’t know is that the original quote from something a bit different. The idiom is actually “God is in the detail.” Wouldn’t you know it?

Life is filled with details. In fact, every decision made is full of details. Our thoughts comprise the details that are the reasoning behind our choices. Each one driven by either experience or emotions to come to a natural conclusion. However, as a believer, it is of utmost importance to know the Truth and use discernment when making decisions each day. Faith is not a naturally logical choice. It is not supported by the same reasoning. It is important to change our mind by using God’s Word and His Spirit to turn up the hard soil of heart until it is fertile, to seek and sow seeds of His Promises, and water with the Word constantly. This is how our heart becomes rooted and grounded in Jesus Christ. We decide who will lead us in the details of life – God or the enemy of our soul.

Though many Christians are fond of the Bible, less than half of worship attendees read it every day. Many church leaders are concerned with Bible illiteracy in their congregations with good reason. Why? Why is this ancient text necessary today? Jesus is the Word. (John 1:14) He is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) True worshippers do so in Spirit and in Truth. (John 4:24) Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6) It is by the Truth that salvation is even possible. (John 17:17) The Holy Spirit often appeals to the emotional side of humanity because we can “feel” His Presence. But how will I know the Voice of God if I do not know what His Voice sounds like? The danger of false teaching is that it sounds logical and plausible based on our limited knowledge. However, a half-truth is a lie every time. It produces partial obedience which is disobedience. It is dangerous for our soul and may compromise our salvation altogether. Compromise limits our potential causing a lack of fulfillment and dissatisfaction that many attribute to the Lord when it is not God at all.

Genesis 3:1-5 (CSB) Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You can’t eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit from the trees in the garden. But about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, ‘You must not eat it or touch it, or you will die.’” “No! You will not die,” the serpent said to the woman. “In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Our insurance agency made a mistake on our homeowner’s insurance. I called the company to discuss the matter and the young woman on the phone was clearly not interested in taking responsibility. She indicated that she had spoken to my husband who abruptly hung up on her. Now, my husband is not perfect and neither am I, but I know him inside and out after more than two decades. Her description of my husband’s actions were genuinely out of character. How do I know? Because I know him intimately, I know how he acts and reacts. Her description was clearly not my husband but an effort to cover her mistake. This was not a matter that would have escalated to an angry conversation. He would have said something like, “Please call my wife. Here is her number.” I handle these matters. I believe that unless we know God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit through the Word of God than the liar can easily persuade us with lies and half-truths just like Eve in the garden. The enemy of our soul is cunning which means he is skilled in achieving his ends by deceit and evasion. He knows God. He knows Jesus. He knows the Truth. He twists the Truth to trick us each and every day. The only way to overcome a lie is with truth.

Matthew 4:1-4 (CSB) Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. Then the tempter approached him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Jesus set the example for us in the wilderness. To really drive the point home, He fasted for 40 days and 40 nights before the test and temptation came. Talk about hangry. He changed the culture for us that was set in the garden. Eve believed twisted truth and paid a huge consequence. Jesus was about to pay the debt sin left AND chose to show us how to walk in total freedom again before going to the Cross. I must learn to live on every word that comes from the mouth of God. It must be that which sustains me in seasons of famine and drought, devastation and disappointment, dissatisfaction and waiting. I must know God enough to trust Him when my life doesn’t look like He promised. Otherwise, the enemy will provide an excuse to use as an escape and exempt me from the Plan, Purpose and Promise that the truth gives me. The enemy is really good at manipulating us with lies. After all, Jesus called him the father of lies. (John 8:44) In Matthew 4:11 tells us, “Then the devil left him, and angels came and began to serve him.” Freedom begins and ends with truth. The enemy cannot do anything to us except lie to us as Children of God. We have the Power of God to overcome every lie with God’s Truth.

Galatians 5:7-8 (CSB) You were running well. Who prevented you from being persuaded regarding the truth? This persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.

One of the biggest detriments to the Body of Christ is ignorance. Jesus foretold of a time when true worshippers would do so in Spirit and in Truth. (John 4:24) Both are completely necessary to successful Christian living. The Kingdom has a culture. The manifesto is God’s Word. We must write it on our hearts, use it to transform and renew our mind, and learn to think, live and breathe like Jesus. The Bible warns us in Romans 1:25 of those who have exchanged the truth for a lie. The twisted truth and half-lies of the enemy will always be comforting and convenient to our flesh. But the Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God that cuts through the exterior of each lie to expose the darkness within and cover it with Light so we know the Truth and it sets us free. God warns us in the Book of Hosea that His People are destroyed for lack of knowledge. To reject the Truth is to embrace the lie and therefore reject God. I didn’t make this up – it is written in God’s Word meant as a warning of the dangers of ignorance for all God’s Children.

Do you read the Word of God? Do you meditate on it? Study it? Speak it. Live it. The character and nature of God and His Son – Jesus Christ are revealed in His Word. The Spirit of God uses this knowledge to produce understanding that becomes wisdom to those who believe it. If you desire a life as God’s Child, to live in His Presence and prosper in His Kingdom – the Word of God is your only hope. It leads to life and life more abundantly. It is the pathway to fulfillment. It is the gateway to obedience. It is the map to a rich and satisfying life just as Jesus promised. We must study to show ourselves approved. The devil is in the details, my friend. It is up to us to put God in every detail of our life. His Word is our primary resource for living. Don’t ignore it. He promised to take each of our details and make all things work together for our God and His Glory.

2 Timothy 2:15 (CSB) Be diligent to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth.

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