Then the Lord replied:
“Write down the revelation
and make it plain on tablets
so that a herald may run with it.
For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
it speaks of the end
and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
it will certainly come
and will not delay.
“See, the enemy is puffed up;
his desires are not upright—
but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness—
indeed, wine betrays him;
he is arrogant and never at rest.
Because he is as greedy as the grave
and like death is never satisfied,
he gathers to himself all the nations
and takes captive all the peoples.
- Habakkuk 2:2-5
Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.
So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
- Romans 14:20-23
NOTE: The following quote is the senior demon writing to Wormwood, his nephew and junior demon, describing what Satan wants from each of us.
“We want a whole race perpetually in pursuit of the rainbow’s end, never honest, nor kind, nor happy now, but always using as mere fuel wherewith to heap the altar of the Future every real gift which is offered them in the Present.”
- C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
This may cover common ground from yesterday’s post, but this seemed to shout the need to be repeated. Yesterday I quoted Max Lucado who talked about those people who perpetually reach for the next thing that they think will make them happy. He said they are in a “prison of want.”
Now, we can see from the quotes above that this is part of Satan’s plan. Sure, The Screwtape Letters is a fictional book, but the quote parallels with the Scripture from Habakkuk 2. The ‘enemy’ in Habakkuk is Satan while if the quote from The Screwtape Letters mentioned God, God would be the “Enemy” in that book. I know, a bit confusing, thus the warning note that what Screwtape wants is what Satan wants, to keep us chasing the rainbow’s end, and by any means necessary.
But Habakkuk says that the ‘enemy’ is puffed up. Indeed, Satan is puffed up. When Jesus died on the cross and then arose on Easter Sunday, He defeated Satan, but Satan works as hard today as he ever did. Even with those who are true believers and their salvation is secured, Satan will use all the trappings of this world to distract us.
I quoted a Billy Graham quote quite some time ago where he referred to the second half of Romans 14:23, stating that anything that is not faith is sin. This seems harsh and all inclusive, making it hard to swallow. But Satan will use anything, including things that seem to cause no harm, but if they distract us from carrying out God’s will in our lives, that becomes sin for us. Reading those last four verses of Romans 14, above, you might think that the Apostle Paul is just referring to food, but as we dig deeper, it applies to everything.
I have been playing a favorite game on my tablet. I spend roughly an hour on the game each day, late in the evening, a winding down activity. Suddenly, the game pops up an announcement. “You have just entered Happy Hour. For the next hour, you can play the game without expending any ‘game energy.’” It’s the limited amount of game energy that keeps me from playing this addictive game for hours. Now, instead of Bible reading, prayer, writing a blog post, and other “faith-related” activities or going to bed early, I am spending the next hour playing the harder parts of the game – the ones requiring more energy – but since the game is “energy” free…
Is this innocent fun, or did Satan just rob me of an hour of my life that could have been used serving God?
I will leave that question unanswered, because people might argue either side. We serve God 24/7, but a little diversion, under control and limited, can help to clear the mind and rest the soul. Yet, at some point, it makes us soft.
As I spend more time in prayer, Bible study, research for essays, and worship, I have found that I do not have a compelling reason to watch much television. With the lack of sports, I do not feel the need to watch anything related to sports, but Aussie Rules Football, Footy, is back now, so… But in other endeavors, I find myself speed reading fiction instead of carefully absorbing each word, especially when a hidden clue of the mystery might be buried in an innocent conversation. Now, please, don’t think I am ready for Sainthood. We are all saints, that is, all true believers, but to be exalted?!?! Forget about it! But, a voice keeps drawing me back to worship God more in any way possible. And if I fail to listen to that voice, is that not sin?
Satan wishes to “harsh our buzz.” The Urban Thesaurus says that “harsh my buzz” means “bringing the vibe down.” Once you attain a good “vibe” with God, you will not wish to bring that vibe down.
Yet, even in time wasting activities, we can avoid Satan harshing our collective buzzes. We can pray for everyone throughout each news story or the affected areas during a severe weather report. We can take our favorite “cop show” and relate it to people that we know, maybe in similar circumstance, and pray for them. But then, we can watch more programs with a Christian theme in the first place. Just as entertaining, with no cursing, and almost always with a good ending. I say this as I have just returned to writing after visiting my wife in the bedroom, expecting her to be watching an old rerun on her smart TV, but she was watching a tear-jerking documentary about a powerful prayer warrior, tear-jerking as they interviewed those who were healed through the prayers of this one man and his wife. I sat and watched with her, completely forgetting why I entered the room in the first place. God talked to me through this diversion.
We need to realize that the enemy, Satan, is willing to do anything to weaken our relationship with God, making us less effective in spreading God’s message of Love to those around us. Even though Jesus has defeated Satan, we must always be on guard by strengthening our daily walk.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.