Thursday Thought — Deception through Flattery
They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them. Galatians 4:17 ESV
Paul is cluing these clueless Galatians — and us — into the methods and motive of the abusive man who comes into the church to enslave Christ’s people. The thing is VERY consistent and such abusive men use the very same tactics today. Expect it!
- First, they are flatterers. . . “They make much of you.” It is dangerous to allow flattery to puff us up because this is one of the THE most common traits of the wolf. Deception through flattery.
- But for no good purpose. Their motive is “no good.” At the heart of their flattery is a wicked motive. (Psalm 5:9, Psalm 12:2)
- They want to shut you out. Here, the Apostle identifies their motive. Through flattery and deception, the abusive man or woman desires to “shut out” his victims. . .The false teacher, the abusive man, hates the freedom we have in Christ. He introduces his own “gospel.” therefore to shut us out from that freedom so that we can then be made his slaves. He becomes, you might say, our “priest” through whom we must go and whose dictates we must obey if we are to get set right with God.
- Now, the ultimate goal of the abusive — “that you may make much of them.” In other words, the abuser’s end goal is to be as God. To be worshipped and praised. This is why we in the church of Jesus Christ MUST BE wise to the abusive man’s tactics. Such a person is very, very often drawn to the church because he or she craves the worship that is being offered there to Christ — for himself. Literal worship happens in the church. What better place for a wolf to operate his evil instruments of deception so that this worship is redirected to him!
[Excerpt from Ps Crippen’s domestic violence sermon series, The Psychology and Methods of Sin: sermon titled “They Want You to Make Much of Them”. Complete sermon and PDF can be found here.]