It was either 1978 or 1979, I was still in college in New Jersey and my girlfriend at the time, let’s call her Mary for convenience, was going to college in upstate New York. During one of her breaks she decided to come visit me, so we arranged to meet in Grand Central Station in New York City. She took the train down. I drove up to pick her up. Unfortunately, I arrived late and when I found her in the train station she was talking to a strange, young man. I was a bit alarmed.
I walked up and introduced myself. He introduced himself and we chatted briefly. (I was still trying to figure out what was going on). He was a pleasant young man and as he continued to talk I finally found out that he was a member of a cult. He had invited us both to his house for dinner and Mary was quite excited about the possibility. I was even more alarmed! “What do I do? What do I do?” I thought to myself. I thought quickly, then I did what every mature, Christian man would do – I called my mother. Oh yes I did! I told her what was happening and made sure I got an invitation to her house for dinner. With my rock solid plan in place, I went back to the cult member – who was still talking to Mary – and excused ourselves feigning disappointment but my mother was waiting for us. And we quickly left.
I simply could not believe that Mary was falling for his twisted deception. On the ride back to my mother’s house I had her read the following passage.
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:13-20)
As she read these words, as she looked fully into the Truth, as saw Jesus and his majesty, I could see the cloud of deception lift from her. I could see her visibly change and brighten and breathe easier. The Truth did indeed set her free.
I tell you this story because we also, today, are under constant assault from the world and the devil to draw us away from what we know is true. Mary was a strong Christian woman, but the words of the deception were so charming, so alluring and the invitation so appealing that she was being drawn in. It seemed to make so much sense, she said. The lies the enemy throws at us are so well crafted and so sensible that we are easily captivated by their charm. We are not strong enough or clever enough in ourselves to see the deception coming to carry us away. We need help. The Word of God is a powerful weapon. It is the only weapon that can shatter the cords of deceit trying to strangle God’s life out of us.
We must continue to look into the Truth revealed in Scripture. We must rely on the Holy Spirit to teach us and guide us. We must pray constantly. We must continue to look fully into the face of Jesus.