One of the lesser temptations I have faced and resisted is the tendency of reading Satan's words from the Bible in a malevolent sounding voice. Especially when reading to children I am so careful to avoid the evil snarling interpretation of that old serpent. You know the one - the exaggerated 's' sounds, the harsh guttural growl, the cynical evil inflection. These are the characterizations that young people would expect from the prince of darkness and these expectations would probably be shared by adults as well.
For this reason I am always careful to read Satan's words as if he was the most winsome and delightful muse that a person could hope to encounter. Every word and syllable carefully delivered with such pleasantness and disarming congeniality. I include a smile in my eyes that let the hearers know that I care very much about their welfare. I am your dear grandfather, you favorite teacher, your puppy, Yoda.
So when I read “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” My tone say's, "I know God, he loves you soooooo much, he's all about love, he would not restrict anything good from you. I'm so glad I can clarify his words to you. He can be difficult to understand. Gosh you're sweet."
And when I read, "“You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil”
my inflection tells you "Please do not fill your heads with such negative thinking. Death? My, my, do you think God wants you to think about such nasty things. Let me teach you positive thinking, seed faith. Life is not that complicated. I'm going to let you in on a SECRET. God is being too nice to you. You can do what he's doing. You don't have to make him make all your decisions. I mean, you are SOMEBODY right? You can BE like HIM!"
"There is a way that seems right to a man,
but its end is the way to death."
Never was Proverbs 16:25 so dramatically demonstrated as in Satan's first approach to man. The Scriptures define things, they are a light to our path, they are a mirror of our souls, they are our guide, they describe patterns we ought to emulate and patterns we ought to avoid. When encountering the patterns of THIS world, when approaching anything we MUST perform three tasks - discern, assess and engage, scripture is our tool for these three tasks.
We now turn our attention to the massively popular, number one bestseller, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. I'm not going to review the book here because I've read a much finer review of it than I am capable of doing. (Please go here to read Dr. Don Whitney's commentary on this book.) What I wish to point out in this short entry is what I believe should be the obvious and yet it isn't to the majority of our culture.
Oprah has spoken, the prophet of the age, and she has acknowledged The Secret as the cause of her success. Furthermore, neighbors are reading and watching it, family members are following it's formulae and those who criticize it are dismissed as intolerant - the unforgivable sin of the post-modern world. To it's increasing shame, even the church is embracing this movement dedicating their Sunday School classes to studying The Secret.
Let me list two quotes here to give you a feel for the language and content of The Secret. From page 164:
You are God in a physical body. You are Spirit in the flesh. You are Eternal Life expressing itself as You. You are a cosmic being. You are all power. You are all wisdom. You are all intelligence. You are perfection. You are magnificence. You are the creator, and you are creating the creation of You on this planet.
From page 183:
The earth turns on its orbit for You. The oceans ebb and flow for You. The birds sing for You. The sun rises and it sets for You. The stars come out for You. Every beautiful thing you see, every wondrous thing you experience, is all there for You. Take a look around. None of it can exist, without You. No matter who you thought you were, now you know the Truth of Who You Really Are. You are the master of the Universe. You are the heir to the kingdom. You are the perfection of Life. And now you know The Secret.
I will not endorse The Secret for study by anyone except those who are already thoroughly knowledgeable of Bible history. You Bible history buffs will be able to see past the pleasantness, congeniality and disarming smile; you will not be fooled by the delightful winsomeness of the writer. What you WILL feel is a bit of excitement.... that after 6000 plus years the expanded text of Satan's appeal to Eve has been recorded, verbatim, by Rhonda Byrne in her new book (with a very old message) called The Secret. Please allow me to be straight forwardly blunt here, heed the message of The Secret and 'dying, you shall surely die', and now you know The Revealed Truth.