Friday, April 27, 2012

I Might Sound Crazy!

There is something about saying the word "devil" that makes me feel just a little crazy. And heaven forbid I have to say "Satan." Sure, as a Christian, I believe he exists, but do I have to say his name? Do I have to talk about him? It makes me sound crazy.

I don't mean that I am one of those Christians who believes that if you say "devil" or "Satan" that you open yourself up to trouble. I know there are Christians who won't even say his name for fear that Satan's ears will suddenly perk up and he will get right to work on the speaker. That sounds more like superstition or paranoia. I John 4:4 which says "Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world" is one of my favorite verses. Satan has nothing on God and I like to remind him of that.

I mean, I just don't like to say his name. It makes me feel like some wild eyed, half-in-my-wrapper, pea soup spitting, head spinning, silver cross holding Christian. Maybe I've seen too many movies, but if you want to make an unbeliever roll his eyes, just talk about Satan, the devils, or demons. My goodness, you actually believe that stuff? Their eyebrows will ask. Seriously, Hope, save all is that devil and demons stuff for Halloween. Buy a red cape and a pitchfork, get some candy, and call it a day.

So is Satan just Halloween & Hollywood hocus pocus or does he really exist?
Yes.  Atleast that is what I believe. It just isn't easy to talk about. Well, without sounding crazy that is.

The gospels and the book of Ephesians have a lot to say about God's enemy, Satan. Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness. Jesus tells Peter "Get away from me Satan!" when Peter focuses on earthly, not heavenly concerns. Satan enters Judas at the Last Supper before he betrays Christ. We are also warned in Paul's letters about how Satan seeks to destroy us. Paul calls the devil a roaring lion who prowls about with a hungry belly yearning to be filled full of Christian souls. We are also to look out for the devil's traps. We are told we need the full armor of God and steady prayer to avoid falling into the Devil's hands.

This all sounds daunting and scary (and crazy?), but ultimately, the Devil will get his. He might be prowling around now, but eventually he will be thrown into hell with all of his demons. I will be somewhere else, thanks to Jesus. However, for now, the Devil and I share space on this earth. He is not omnipresent, so he cannot be everywhere at once, like God, but he has lots of workers. They are busy with the work of distraction, denial, discouragement and despair. Satan and his employees want us denying we know Christ, distracted from serving him, discouraged from loving him and in despair because of it all. They are experts in their field of work.

Today, I have to admit, I sounded totally out of my gord. I actually told the Devil to get away from me. (Hold on. Don't call out the men in the white suits just yet.) I was trying to finish an article on the topic of hope and I was really struggling with it. Here I am, trying to write a brief article for a newsletter about my namesake, about how Jesus is my hope and I could not get my thoughts to focus or my words to come out! I felt held back. I had just heard a sermon that morning about Satan (The pastor must be crazy.) so I got up from my laptop, paced in my kitchen and then yelled, "Satan, leave me alone! I know you don't want me to write this because it is about HOPE! It is about how when Jesus rose from the dead YOU LOST! But too bad! You ARE a loser! I am writing this! GET AWAY FROM ME!"

My windows were open now that I think about it. I may find the business card of a therapist (or an exorcist) stuck in my front door tomorrow, thanks to a concerned neighbor. But you know what? It worked. I was able to write again. I just had to go a little crazy first.
Later in the day, I am not kidding, I was riding in my car and I heard the INXS song "Devil Inside."
Devil inside, devil inside...Every single one of us has the devil inside, devil inside...
This was turning out to be a really crazy day.

While the Devil does not own my heart because Christ abides in me, it sure does feel like sometimes he gets his boney, cold fingers wrapped around my heart and squeezes out all the love and joy.
You're going to read the Bible? That boring book? You're so tired. You worked hard today. Why not play Angry Birds instead? (Squeeze!)
Good job, Hope. Nicely done. Your sarcasm was very effective. You definitely hurt her feelings. Don't feel bad! She should be able to take a joke for badness sake! (Squeeze!!)
You think Jesus loves you?! HA! Change first, THEN he'll love you. (SQUEEZE!!)

I think the Devil's main squeeze is selfishness. I'm not sure how much help he really needs to provide me. My human nature is pretty devilish on its own. Putting ME first comes easy. I'm pretty good at playing "God" of my own life and surrending to my own desires, instead of to God's.
Wait a minute? That reminds me of someone. Someone who showed up in the Garden of Eden and questioned God's authority. Someone who tempted two of God's own. Someone who rejoiced when they gave in to their own will and disobeyed God.

Sounds like someone I'd rather not mention.

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