“Can satan read our minds?” someone once asked. “It sure feels like it,” was my reply.
Yes. It certainly feels like it. Virtually every Christian knows the feeling, but Paul corrects that type of thinking. He begins in Romans 7:7. There Paul explains that the Law, the Commandments, the Rules to which we are exposed not only show us what we should and should not be doing. They also trigger in us a strong desire to do what we’re told to NOT do. As everyone knows, there is nothing like being told to not do something to make us really want to do it.
Why is that? Some people excuse their behaviours by saying, “The devil made me do it.” Paul points us somewhere else for the answer. He continues in verses 14 - 25 -
"I know that all God's commands are spiritual, but I'm not. Isn't this also your experience?" Yes. I'm full of myself - after all, I've spent a long time in sin's prison. What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can't be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God's command is necessary. But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can't keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question? The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.”
Did you notice? Nowhere in these verses is satan mentioned as the origin of our temptation. Nowhere is he blamed for putting wrong thoughts into our heads. Why? Because in this case, satan isn’t the problem. When evil and vile thoughts spring to mind, it isn’t satan’s fault. When good intentions are challenged in our minds by doubts, it isn’t satan that’s mucking about in our heads. When you pray for forgiveness and another voice says that you don’t deserve it, that’s not satan.
Are we changed as Christians? No doubt. Are we free from slavery to sin? Absolutely. Are we free from our sinful nature drawing us or tempting us to sin? Sadly no. We don’t need to blame others for our faults. Nor do we need to pretend that satan is putting wrong thoughts into our heads. We are hardwired to do that all on our own. It’s our nature. It’s the character type into which we were all born. That is why Jesus came on a rescue mission to earth. We are hopelessly lost and unable to pull ourselves out of the crevasse of sin into which we’ve fallen. Jesus came to give His life so that we could be brought safely home. Jesus brought us freedom from sin, Freedom from guilt, Freedom to live in paradise with our Creator. God is great and God is good.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Monday, July 9, 2007
Just back from a wonderful holiday in the Rockies. Travelling with five kids under six is a bit of a trip in itself. Nevertheless, God is an awesome God and the Universe declares His handiwork. In hindsight, the holiday was essential to bring to my awareness what a colossal waste of time it was to go deep into the black hole of the atheist mind-set; not to mention ignoring my family. What a waste of energy. What a waste of effort when I could have been doing almost anything that would have been more profitable. Even this blog, now seems clearly to have been placed way too high on my priority list. At any rate, that’s going to change, from this day forward.