The magician’s secret is the ability to divert the attention of those watching so that they fail to see the deception. Houdini, Thurston, and others down through the years have excelled in this form of entertainment. The use of previously prepared “props” makes possible some astounding effects, but the basic element in the performer’s act is the directing of the audience’s minds and eyes away from what is actually being done.

Watching one who is accomplished in sleight of hand can be interesting, confusing, and entertaining, and certainly not harmful. The audience knows it is being fooled. Mystification is part of the fun. But in the spiritual realm there occurs a deception that is not entertainment. It is rather a deadly attempt by Satan to divert our minds and hearts from God and his Son and to lead us to destruction. Truly the devil should be called “The Great Diverter,” for he never ceases his attempts to distract us and divert our lives into channels of his choosing that end in eternal loss.

“The Great Diverter” works incessantly to distract our attention from God’s plan for our lives. Knowing that the sanctification of the soul is the will of God (1 Thess. 4:3), Satan diverts the processes of thought, leading us to “a way which seems right to man, but its end is the way of death” (Prov. 14:12). His unending objective for man is spiritual death.

I was once making my way through a large city by following the frequently posted route numbers, and should have emerged at the other side of the city on the right road. But I did not. In front of my car was a large moving van, and at a crucial turn it blocked my view of the road signs. As a result I followed the truck rather than the highway number.

In this case a return to the ...

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