When a strong desire leads to a wrong path

Have you ever tried to achieve a goal, and while trying to achieve your objectives, you kept losing more than you had before starting your journey?

Has it ever happened to you to realize that a specific dream you are pursuing tends to destroy your life?

Have you ever been in a situation where your cherished vision is more self-destructive than self-building?

Certain dreams and visions are not coming from God; they come from the flesh (our own imagination) or from the devil himself.

We only have one life and one of the most critical questions is to know whether we are building something and not wasting time in life.

But how do we get to know the difference between a goal (vision) inspired by God and a goal inspired by Satan?

Knowing the response to that question is critical for all of us, because if we don't know how to differentiate the two, then a lot of time and resources will be wasted in our lives.

1. The first thing we all need is a gift of discernment.

The apostle Paul mentions discernment as a gift in 1 Corinthians 12:10 and the Apostle John wrote:

'Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.' ( 1 John 4:1)

We do not have to believe everything we read, everything we hear or everything we dream. When I was younger, in 2001, I once received a dream telling me that I would travel outside of the country within a week. I had no visa, no tickets, no invitations from overseas and yet I was walking around saying my goodbyes to everyone I knew. A week later I was still in the same place, going nowhere. I only relied on an evil dream inspired by a demon of confusion and embarrassment. The aim of that false vision was to create confusion and shame in my life.

There are now many false prophets all over the world. In South Africa, we have witnessed a surge of false prophets inducing their followers into eating grass and drinking petrol. A normal human being would only fall into this kind of trap (drinking petrol or eating grass) if he/she lacks discernment.

The devil can use people around you and even your own feelings (dreams,your flesh) to trump you into a seemingly good looking path but destructive indeed. When we receive a false prophecy or the wrong vision, we may fall into the trap of making bad decisions (in life, business,work,family) which will cost time and resources.

Now, I am aware that we do not all have discernment and there will be cases where you might fall for an evil inspired vision. In case you have taken a path following a lie, please pay attention to the next section which will be very useful....

2. What is it that you want so bad beyond God?

As I wrote earlier, in 2002, an evil spirit lied to me into believing that I would travel out. In truth I wanted to travel so bad...I even think that I wanted it more than God. We all need to know exactly and be aware of the very thing we strongly desire more than the will of God, because a strong desire that surpasses our love for God will be the bait that Satan will use to drive you into a false vision or into a dangerous path.

In the Book of Matthew 16:21-23, Jesus speaks to his Apostles and predicts his own death. Suddenly, in response to Jesus' prediction, Peter contradicts Him and forbids Jesus not to die. In the spur of the moment, Jesus rebuked the devil speaking through Peter.

In reality, Peter was a mere fisherman before meeting Jesus. For Peter , meeting Jesus was the best thing he has ever had in his life. He wanted earthly-physical fellowship with Jesus more than the will of God and that’s why he would accept the death of Jesus and that's how he was enticed by an evil spirit to contradict Jesus.

Let study another example: ' in Matthew 4:1-11, Satan appears to Jesus in order to tempt Him. Notice that the devil tempts Jesus with a bread miracle and offers Him to become the ruler of the world. Do you know why Satan offered him those two things?

Satan offers Jesus to make a miracle bread because he (Satan) knows that Jesus is hungry. Secondly,Satan offers Jesus rulership over the earth because he knows that one of the objectives of Jesus was not only the cross but a path to glory.

And this confirms what the apostle James wrote:

'But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.' (James 1:14)

For Satan to be successful in luring you, he first needs bait. And that bait is the very thing that you strongly desire. Maybe that desire is a business, a work position, a woman or a man, a specific dream...Your strong desires are most likely going to be the bait he will use to tempt you.

Is it bad to have strong desires?

It’s not bad to have strong desires as long as they are not drifting towards sin and as long as they do not surpass our love for God.

Satan will mostly tempt you with things that you strongly want, and He will succeed in tempting you if that desire is bigger than your love for God. Jesus was dominated by His love for God, that's why the devil's tricks did not work.

You see my friend, when we see people falling into adultery, corrupt business, murder, into the love of money, or any form of addiction...we tend to think that the process of temptation occurred overnight. In reality, people fall into temptation after meditating on their strong desires for days, sometimes for years...they meditate on killing, sexual fantasies, ways to make quick bucks dishonestly, stealing...for a long time.

And many times over, strong desires are not necessarily sinful but if they surpass the love we have for God, those legitimate desires can get us into trouble.

Let me give you an example of a strong desire valued above God that may get someone in trouble:

Brother J is a businessman with a passion for commercial expansion. He has a strong desire to dominate the market within his field. One day, a man named M offers to expand the business by injecting millions of dollars in J’s business. However, God warns J not to accept the investment from M. Since M’s desire is bigger than his love for God, M decides to go ahead and he accepts the investment. Two years later, M manages to overtake J's business and kicks J out of his own company.

As seen above, J was not into drugs,or any form of known immorality. However he had a desire that surpassed his love for God…ultimately, the strong desire led him in trouble.

There are many good Christian people who have fallen into misery because of a reckless pursuit of their goals even when God warned them not to follow through.

And one day Satan came along: 'Hey dude, you see that thing you want so bad...I got it, why don't you follow this path and get it?'

It 's very important that our love for God be bigger than anything else, so that on the day God warns us about something we will listen to Him and not fall into temptation.

So what are those things that you want so bad beyond your love for God? Are you ready to be reckless just to achieve that desire? If the answer is yes, then be very careful, because the bait of Satan might not be too far from you.

The Apostle Peter wrote:

'Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.' ( 1 Peter 5:8)

Have you noticed that Peter wrote: 'be sober-minded'? Peter meant that those who are drunk with their own desires, are an easy target of the devil.

3. The difference between the path of God and the path of Satan

Maybe you have already engaged yourself on a journey inspired by the devil and you did not know. The big question is: 'How do we know the difference between a journey that belongs to God and a journey that belongs to Satan?'

To respond to that question we need to know the characteristics of Satan; in John 10:10, Jesus said:

' The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full'.

That passage in the Bible shows us a contrast between Jesus and Satan:

Satan is a thief, a killer and a destroyer. On the other hand, Jesus is a life giver and a builder( to the full).

If there is constant theft, constant killing, and constant destruction; then this is a sure sign that Satan is looming in your journey. If destruction is the only thing you reap on your journey, then I urge you to quit that journey! That journey was not designed by God. That journey will end up killing you.

Jesus is a life giver. The path of God is only full of life. As a matter of fact, Jesus said:

'Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel's sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.'

(Mark 10:29-30)

In following Jesus, there will be times where we will have to sacrifice and give up on certain things. There will also be challenging times in the form of persecutions sent by the enemy.

He also promised that He shall compensate by 100 times for what we lost. We should have faith that if we walk on the journey that Jesus has drawn for us, we shall see our losses being compensated.

Now, watch the difference:

When you walk on Satan's path, there are only losses until death. The path of Satan may look good in the beginning but it will ultimately lead to destruction or death. When you walk on Jesus' path, there could be some losses, but God compensates abundantly for it even in the midst of persecution.

Do you see the difference now?