The world is a dangerous place, full of dangerous people. Mom warned me about that as a kid (Happy Mother’s Day, btw!). Don’t trust just anybody because some people just want to hurt you. As the expert theologian Taylor Swift said, “Haters gonna hate.”
And it’s easy to look at the world and pick out those dangerous villains from among mortal men. We all have people we detest, whether that be despotic dictators or people who could be elected as despotic dictators, and we deploy hashtags and hate talk against them. But have we become so distracted by the evil of this world that we forget an evil much worse…beyond this world?
I often live as though there is no such powerful evil. I forget about the real enemy and live apathetically, not realizing that there is someone out there who wants to destroy me.
The Lord reminded me about this enemy through an unusual incident. A good friend of mine came up to me one day and asked if I would act in another one of his cinema projects for class.
“Of course! Who will I be playing?”
So, in a three-piece suit, I played the devil himself, trying to convince a Christian to commit a grievous sin. It turned out to be an edifying experience. How interesting that I learned a lot about defeating Satan by portraying Satan! During filming, I often thought of this phrase from 2 Corinthians 2:11
“…we are not ignorant of his [Satan’s] designs.”
The film turned out great, by the way. And it ends with this verse:
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” -1 Peter 5:8
VIGILANT. A good word for the title of the film and for life. You see, Satan is not some pretty kitty, toying with you playfully and purring softly. Though often he appears that way. He’s quite the sweet talker. But let me tell you–he doesn’t purr. He ROARS! He doesn’t jump at lasers. He DEVOURS those he finds.
A powerful moment while filming came when the director asked me to pretend like I was “mentoring” the guy I was tempting. Of course, most people know this is one of my favorite words and activities. But it got me thinking: doesn’t Satan try to “mentor” us believers? Doesn’t he try to pretend like he cares about us? When I’m tempted, I feel like that pleasurable sin is the only thing that’s going for me. God doesn’t like me. He never lets me have fun. All He gives me in life are disappointments. But Satan gives me better stuff. He lets me do what I want. He’s always been there for me with the promise of pleasure on good days and bad.
That may sound awful, but it’s how my horrid flesh works. And since I started thinking this way, I’ve noticed these “designs” or “schemes” of Satan more and more. And the more I notice them, the more I can resist them.
Knowing the enemy’s tactics is half the battle.
And standing behind Truth is the other half. The reality is that Satan hasn’t been there for me. He doesn’t care about me one bit, except for caring to have my soul for breakfast!
Just a few verses prior, Peter says that it’s Christ who really cares about me. He wants what’s best for me, even if that feels like pain sometimes. He’s my real mentor. He gives me real pleasure. That satisfaction Satan gives lasts about as long as it takes to commit the actual sin, if that. And money-back is not guaranteed! He’s a slick salesman, and he’ll leave me dead if he could. He hates my guts.
I taught a lesson on Satan for the kids at church last week. And the illustration that curriculum uses is a black widow spider. Extremely toxic–even more so than a rattlesnake! One bite and without hospital help, you’ll be quickly dead. So we must be wary about black widows. We must know what they look like so we can spot one and stay away from it. But we must not live in daily fear of one. Why? Because we are so much bigger than it!
Similarly, though Satan is extremely dangerous to us, we don’t have to live in fear of him. Not because I’m so much more powerful. No, if it were up to me, I’d fall every time. But our God and Savior is so much bigger than Satan. He has him under control.
And the key to resisting his “designs” is simply to run to that God for help. And what is a massive, ferocious lion to us is actually a measly house-cat to God.
Dependent on God’s power, I’m taking the pledge: I will be #NeverSatan