The enemy has not changed his strategy, which is to cause people to live in shame and question what God has really said, says Australian evangelist and anti-human trafficking campaigner Christine Caine.
She wonders if Christians are too ashamed of the gospel because they are hiding in such shame, and it is up to every believer in Jesus to choose who they will believe.
Preaching before thousands of young people assembled in Atlanta last week for Passion Conference 2018, Christine Caine, founder of the A21 Campaign, gave a passionate message that drew upon her own life story.
"God wants us to know that before the Fall, that there was no thing that humanity was created to bear the burden of, and that's the burden of shame," referencing Genesis 2:25 where Scripture describes Adam and Eve as being "both naked and without shame."
"So if you were the enemy, and you wanted to take out the one thing that was created in the image of God, wouldn't it make sense that you would try to put something on them that God created them to never know what it felt like?" she asked.
Caine, who is of Greek descent, recounted the pain of shame she knew growing up in Australia in an ethnic family. Her Australian schoolmates would make fun of her because of the lunches she packed, which included Mediterranean foods and garlicky feta cheese sandwiches. She was also sexually abused for many years as a child that extended into her teen years, adding even more trauma and shame.
"Christine why can't you be normal, why can't you be like the other girls?" the 51-year-old evangelist recounted being asked growing up. A mental tape recorder would play over and over in her mind: "What is wrong with me?"
Yet in the same way God spoke the world into being and created life, the enemy, being crafty, speaks words of deception, she went on to say.
"There's power of life and death in the tongue, she said, and dare I say in the 21st century [that includes] our thumbs and in our fingers, what we tweet, what we Facebook, what we put out there in the atmosphere," Caine said.
"The question for our generation is 'Did God really say?'" she stressed, which is the same question the serpent asked Adam and Eve in Eden.
When the enemy asks "did God really say?" in 2018 it is not about a forbidden fruit tree but "how much of this [Bible] are you going to believe? What parts of this don't you like? If it doesn't suit you, how about we change it, we dilute it. Did God really say?" Caine continued, noting that if we alter God's Word, we undermine the authority of what our faith is all about.
And if you don't know what God says about you, you will believe the lies of the devil, she said.
She further explained that Eve quoted what God did say back to the devil but she really didn't believe it. Christians, too, she emphasized, must get beyond merely quoting the Bible but get an experiential revelation of God's character. It becomes easy to disobey the will of God when doubting his goodness, she added.
Just as the enemy is asking the same question today, "Did God really say?" God is also asking this present generation the same question he asked Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:9: "Where are you?"
Too many Christians are hiding often because they are living in shame, perhaps because their lives do not match up with what the Word of God says, she said.
"I wonder if we have really encountered Jesus," Caine suggested regarding Christians too timid and embarrassed to share the gospel.
She told the thousands in attendance about a friend she had in her youth who seemingly had it all. This girl was from an affluent family, was academically gifted, and was beautiful. Caine wanted to share Jesus with her but wondered what she could possibly offer to this friend who had so much more going for her than she thought she did.
But the futility of that thinking struck her one day when this particular friend, whom she had not seen for a few days, approached her at university and started raving about a rave party she had attended and how much excitement and joy the ecstasy she used had brought her. She had even saved half an ecstasy tablet for Caine to try so she could experience it.
Upon realizing that her friend had no hesitancy to share the joy of drugs with her, Caine vowed that day that she was would never again be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
"Are you willing to look like an idiot?" she challenged the crowd.
Caine then showed documents from Australian social services and from the hospital describing how her biological mother was not an engaged parent who did not really want her daughter, and a letter from her university saying she was not suited to continue in the career path she had chosen. The professional declarations over her life all communicated that she was both unwanted and unqualified.
These were supposedly true, undisputed facts, "black and white, ink on paper," she said of the documents.
She then showed a photo of her receiving an award for her work in combating human trafficking in India, an honor named after Mother Theresa that was given by Gandhi's great-grandson; this was evidence of the exact opposite of what those papers had said about her years before.
"You know what, I've found another black-on-white ink on paper, and it's called the truth of the Word of God," she proclaimed to much applause and cheering.
"And you get to choose which black and white, ink on paper, are you going to believe," she proclaimed, holding the Bible above her head.
The Passion 2018 Conference concluded Jan 3.