Now, I think, I should come to the main point. Satan, whose purpose is always to thwart God's plans and works, tried to catch me into three traps, insidious and very dangerous. But praise God, my mother's prayers, and later, when we had moved to Jannina and attended the Evangelical Church there, those of other believers, too, helped me escape those snares and in due time be saved.
The first trap was the fact that as a child of a Christian family, with the fear of God instilled inside me, I didn't do all that other boys my age did. I never cursed or used filthy language or fight with any of my playmates. The respect I had for my mother was exceptional. I never talked back to her, even when I grew up. All these «assets» the devil used against me. So, he would come and tell me, «You are foolish to be afraid of going to hell. Don't you see how good a boy you are? Hell is for bad people, not for people like you. Compared with all the other children you know you are an angel. Stop being afraid of hell. It is not for you». This, sort of pacified my conscience for some time, but again the fear of dying and going to hell would haunt me. And as I grew in years so much more I would feel the pain of guilt and sinfulness and the need of getting right with God. Those that think the devil attacks all men in the same way and with the same weapons make a grave mistake. His quiver is full of darts of all sorts, fit not only for every person particularly, but also for every circumstance.
The second trap consisted in telling me: «You a sinner? You go to hell? Oh, no, don't be foolish. You know so much of the Bible. You know the truth. Didn't Jesus say 'Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free'?» That's it, I thought, I know all that is to be known about Christ and salvation and so much else from the Bible. I am, therefore, free from the bondage of sin and the devil has no power on me. Praise the Lord. Far from me all fear of judgment and hell.
You see, my friend, Satan, in order to keep a soul away from Christ uses even most blessed Bible truth. What a sermon that was! How wonderful to know that the knowledge of truth sets a sinner free! Satan doesn't deny the truth, he adulterates it. He did not suggest to Cain that he offer no sacrifice, but that he substitute the fruit of the ground instead of a lamb from the flock, as appears that God had appointed. Also, he approaches men with truth, but not THE truth. How could he, since Christ emphatically said: «I am the truth.»
Now the third trap was that of good deeds. Millions of nominal Christians are caught in this trap. In fact every man-made religion is anthropocentric. Every religion is man's effort to reach God. It is a ladder man puts up in order, by climbing it, to reach God. In other words Satan, after deceiving Adam and Eve and causing them to fall, and with them all their posterity, introduced the religion of works.
This is in effect what the devil was telling me: «You will grow up, do good works, even become a preacher, thus you'll have souls brought to Christ, what else you think you need. Could it be possible to preach the gospel to others and you yourself not be saved? Away from such thoughts and enjoy the peace of God». Some, reading this testimony, might think it is somewhat hyperbolic, but it isn't at all. The devil works in that way in countless cases, and the sad thing is, in most of them he succeeds. Since childhood I had known this was a must for me, as my mother had told me how I came into the family. She had five girls. She wanted at least one boy. Then she prayed and asked God to give her a boy and, like Anna, Samuel's mother, vowed to dedicate him to His service. Her earnest prayer was «My God, please, give me a boy and I will dedicate him to serve Thee as a preacher.» God answered that prayer and I knew I couldn't afford drifting away.