It’s busy at the Colley’s this week, but our agendas are not so pressing and our schedules are not bustin’ out like the devil’s. He is the busiest lion-wolf-snake-bee I have ever encountered. While he has always had the same agenda, I believe his forces are larger and more daunting than they have been in my lifetime. He cannot be in all places at one time (because he walks to and fro in the earth, Job 1:7), but he sure does a good job of stationing his minions in large numbers in key places in our lives. And he puts them on steroids in the lives of our kids.
While we often focus on the big picture, the devil is in the details. He starts in small things–little compromises–and worms his way into our hearts. If he can just plant a seed-thought in our heads, get our eyes to glance at one desirable image or have a yearning for one beautiful body, or keep us from one day of Bible study, or from one night of Family Bible time, or if he can get up in our busy-ness with innocent but distracting pleasures, or if he can just get us to waste a few minutes scrolling though the slime–then he can work his way from there into our very purposes in life. He can make us think about an image over and over, rekindle a feeling of lust or a desire to participate, and he can do it over and over throughout our days until he has us walking toward the sin, clicking on the image or tasting the sweet wine of sin. Just a taste and he can make us feel defeated and he can make us view our attempts to live righteously as failures. Sometimes we then feel like, “What’s the use? I have messed up. I may as well go ahead and fill the empty space with sin and then I’ll do better later.”
Later. That’s the damning concept. Time is not the sinner’s friend. It marches on relentlessly toward the point of no return. It envelopes and enslaves while promising a day when there will be time for repentance and God. The devil can make you loathe imprisonment, but love the first step into the prison’s chamber. He can deafen you to the locking bars behind you. He can make you think the stocks of sin are unbearable, but make you love that first moment when you lie down for the bondage. He can make you hate addiction, but love the first taste of the wine. He can make you despise the distant repetition of sin, but love the right-now, one-time deception of which he is the master. He can make you hate the wolf, but fail to recognize the wool over your eyes is just a lamb’s costume–that the wolf is right inside that well designed “get-up” , ready to pounce. He makes you think you can walk away from the danger, while he is that lion already chewing off your legs. You will not run.
If you are waiting till later to defeat him, you are planning for eternal failure. He’s not as powerful as your God (1 John 4:4), but if you align yourself with him, He wins–every time.
Later. While you wait for later, he takes your prime–the years of your health and wealth and your heartiest influence. There may be a day when you can have God’s wonderful mercy at the last minute before you cross the Jordan, but you will not easily reclaim the innocent souls you influenced for hell during the time you leased-out to the devil, You will not reclaim the hours of praise and worship that should have blessed and nurtured. You will not retract the damnation you shared during the years you walked with the deceiver. If you had a thousand hearts to give as you cross over, they could not undo the damage of a heart given-over to Satan during the formative years of your children. He is so busy. He offers shining, but damning, moments in life–times when you make vows, sign on dotted lines, enter into covenants or move to new arenas–he offers these glamorous moments from which it becomes ridiculously hard to ever spiritually recover. He gets you in a marriage, a job, a Sodom or a financial obligation. He gets you. He is busy and he rejoices in this iniquity, especially if he can make your desperation feel like a celebration.
And did I mention he wants your kids? He wants to get their innocence. He wants their hearts before they are even perceptive enough to see danger. He wants to lock them in to his system before they get their bearings… before their spiritual eyes are focused. He is unrelenting in his quest for the most vulnerable. He wants them to buy into tolerance before they even understand the concept of sexuality. He wants them to form addictions to devices and entertainment and media before they have an inkling about the power of the visual temptations in those little devices. The lion wants children. Children are the ground level for evil’s empire and the devil wants “in on the ground level.”
I hate the devil. He wants me and from the moment I start to think I am not subject to his lure, He starts to get his serpent fangs in me. I am personally vulnerable to the tempter’s power and I cannot let that personal vulnerability be forgotten for one moment, even as I strive to get others to see him for what he is. He loves to get the people who are bad-mouthing him. I have to strive and recommit and constantly examine my own armor and defense.
He can do big things. He put the stone on the tomb. But that big rock was no match for God in that garden. God never took his eyes off the body of His darling Son. He has his eye on the body of the Son today and that’s where I plan to stay. His outstretched hand is there to rescue me from the great power of the Father of lies. I’m going to hold that hand till he sends His angels to collect my soul and transport me safely to that other garden.
I really hate the devil. Can you tell?