In my last blog, I illustrated the use of deception in the story about an eagle…The eagle became conditioned to his surroundings because he wanted to satisfy his desire for food. Though these new conditions were contrary to the laws of nature, the eagle accepted them because they allowed him more time for pleasure. Likewise, God’s Word warns us, Satan will attempt to trick us into changing biblical standards through “self-serving” traps. Throughout history Satan has proven a master at tempting God’s people with the advantages of sin, without revealing the pain they will surely suffer.
I used the illustration of the eagle to show how easily deception can trap us. Now, I want to illustrate Satan’s use of deception through the written testimony of my brother, Dr. Charles Fraley, M.D. He had a special calling of God on his life, but even though he was a dedicated Christian, he too was led into deception by the enemy.
Dr. Charles Fraley’s Testimony
I was raised on a small farm near Greenville, Ohio, in a family of 13 children. I was number 12. My parents were godly people, sincerely dedicated to serving the Lord. Precept and example trained their children. Many who knew my mother testify to her exemplary Christian life, much like the outstanding women described in Proverbs 31.
Growing up, I had a strong desire to know the Lord. When I was seven, I joined the church and was baptized in a local creek, thinking this might help me go to Heaven. At age 11, I heard and understood the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the first time. I came under conviction for three days and nights until I finally made the decision to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Upon graduating from high school, I entered the Navy. Our country was in the Korean War, and I was sure I would be drafted. This was a time of testing for me as I felt like one of the few committed Christians in the military.
While in the Navy, the Lord gave me a great desire to know Him better through His Word. I had spare time while on ship duty and spent most of those hours learning the Word of God. As a normal practice, I would rise two hours before wakeup call to pray, study the Bible and memorize Scripture. By the time my four-year tour of duty was over, I had memorized more than 800 verses, and would review about 150 of them every day from morning to night.
It was during my military service that I had a unique, or “supernatural,” experience that led me to commit my life to the Lord’s service. The presence of God surrounded me as I was reading Hebrews 13:5. The Lord spoke this verse to my spirit: “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (KJV). This caused me to commit my life into the Lord’s hands and give up any plans of my own.
After The Military
After military service, I felt led to enter Nyack Bible College in New York, supported by the GI Bill. It was there I met Marlene, the girl I would marry.
A few months into Bible College, I asked God what He wanted me to do with my life. As yet I had not received any clear directive. My prayer was quickly followed by a vision. Before I go on, let me explain that according to the Bible it is not unscriptural for the Lord to direct Christians through a vision or dream; however, to be sure it is of the Lord, any vision must be tested by examining whether it fits all of the principles found in Scripture. In the vision I saw a man standing over the ocean, with one foot in Africa and the other in America. He was dressed in doctor’s clothing and saying, “Come over and help, come over and help.” This call was somewhat similar to the Macedonian call the Apostle Paul experienced. As I sought the Lord for the meaning, the Spirit convicted me that I was to become a doctor and go to Africa to help the needy.
At that time I had never thought about being a doctor. I was not even familiar with medicine or healthcare. Growing up on a small farm in southwestern Ohio, I had never been academically inclined. My career plans were to be a farmer. The Lord blessed me with the faith to step out and transfer to Taylor University, a Christian liberal-arts university, where I entered pre-medical school. In the three years of pre-med, I was blessed with A’s in nearly all of my classes.
I then went to medical school for four years at Ohio State, graduated, and served one year of internship and four years of surgical residency at Saint Elisabeth Hospital in Youngstown, Ohio. I passed the national exams of the American Board of Surgery and became a fully Board Certified General Surgeon. I had spent 13 years preparing myself so I could be obedient to the Lord’s call to go to Africa as a missionary doctor.
However, during this period of preparation I had slipped in my spiritual walk. I had allowed thoughts to enter my mind, such as rationalizing that I could just as well serve the Lord by practicing medicine here in the States. That would allow me, along with my wife and the two children we now had, to enjoy all the benefits available to doctors in this country. Besides, I thought, if I ever did go to Africa, it would be good to have some practical experience beforehand. Several doctor friends and other Christians agreed.
The truth is – I had gradually fallen into deception though I had not realized it. How did that happen? It is hard to say. It seemed to develop subtly over a period of time, and just infiltrated my mind. I justified it with the idea that I would still be willing to go overseas when the Lord showed me that I should. But the fact of the matter was – I had already received a direct leading from God to go to Africa.
I started a practice in the area where I grew up. Soon I was earning a net income of up to $400,000 per year, and that was in the early 1970s. I had my own airplane and the best Buick you could buy. I bought the 100-acre family farm where most of my brothers and sisters had grown up and fixed it up with tractors, a pick-up truck, animals and horses. I was able to buy everything anyone in my family wanted, and it was all paid for.
My medical practice was successful; however, there was one major thing wrong. I was walking in disobedience to God’s original call, which was to go to the mission field. Without even knowing it, I had fallen prey to the influence of the world.
The worst was yet to come! By being out of the Lord’s will for my life, this opened the door for me to fall into an even greater deception. It happened about four years after I started my medical practice. In consideration of others, I won’t go into the details. But it could have devastated not only me, but destroyed everything I had, including my family. Of course that is what Satan wanted! As Eve was deceived to eat the fruit from the Garden, I can also say: “The enemy deceived me.”
In my next blog, my Brother will complete his testimony. You will read about the lesson he learned and how he conquered his spiritual defeat! Don’t miss this exciting testimony!
Watch for Part 3 of “Deception Illustrated” on September 27th, 2010.Tags: deception, disobedience, faith, God's will, holiness, idols, secret sins