We all like to do things that we enjoy. Just watch children playing together with their Playdoh.
Or watch children playing in the sprinkler during the hot summer sun!
When the children get a bit older, what could be more fun than a multi-generational game of backyard football. No refs and no goalposts, but fun nonetheless!
None of these things are sinful, in and of themselves. But sin has an insidious way of breaking into our daily routine even when what we are doing is innocuous. Indeed, even good things can become sinful if it results in disobedience to that which we know God wants us to do.
The other evening, we had finished supper, cleaned up the dishes, and descended the stairs to the family room where we watched television. We had been discussing, that very day, about how we needed to rethink our meals and eating habits because we need to lose weight for any number of health-related reasons.
Following our normal course, at 9:00 we had ice cream bars, low calorie bars so in our minds they are ok to have, especially since we had no dessert for dinner. So far, so good.
But then the program we were watching focused on a family in various humorous, although troubling, life situations. At the end of their day, the teenaged children came into the kitchen and found the Dad sitting at the table, looking haggard. He had something in front of him that was not really identifiable for the audience.
The television Dad looked up at the children and said: “want some cheese toast?”
At that the program ended, and at the same moment, my husband and I looked at each other and simultaneously said “Cheese Toast!”
Within moments we had retrieved the toaster oven from over the freezer and were siding bread onto the rack while the cheese was being unwrapped and made ready for melting.
Cheese toast is certainly not sinful. But, what struck me most was how quickly our dedication to the proposition that we should lose weight fell by the boards when we heard the words “cheese toast” even though it was 11:15 p.m.
Not a word was uttered in support of dietary restraint. We bounded up the stairs as quickly as we could, toting the toaster oven to the kitchen and grabbing the bread and cheese almost in one smooth, coordinated, motion.
When sin beckons me, do I really run toward it like we ran to cheese toast? What if Satan puts something else in front of me so as to tempt me to leave the Lord that I love … will I run to it as fast as I did to cheese toast?
Our culture has done a great job of inoculating us from the actions of Satan. We think of him as a guy in a red suit with horns and a pitchfork, certainly nothing that we would be inclined to follow! But that is not how Scripture talks of him.
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
1 Peter 5:8
I have not been in the wilds of Africa to see a lion up close and personal however I did see a lion in the zoo! But, when the lion prowls around, I believe that it sneaks up on its prey, saving the roaring for after the kill.
In speaking of the false teachers who were misleading the Corinthian church, Paul says this about Satan:
“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.”
2 Corinthians 11:13-15
Of course, Satan’s ultimate goal is to eliminate the Church and all that Christ accomplished through His death on the cross.
“But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, because we wanted to come to you–I, Paul, again and again–but Satan hindered us.”
1 Thessalonians 2:17-18
The good news is that Satan is not the victor – He has been defeated by our Lord and Savior Who is more than capable of holding on to us as His people. Indeed, James put it this way:
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
If we resist Satan, he will flee because he understands that the only way we have the power to resist him is through Christ, and our Savior’s power far exceeds that of Satan any day of the week.
“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.“
With that benediction I end this post. Blessings to you, Brothers and Sisters in the Lord. Take heart – cheese toast does not win the day. We can meet the adversary and sin has no controlling hold on us anymore. We are still sinners, yes. But now, through the blood of Jesus Christ, we don’t have to yield to sin – we can resist it through the poser of our Lord and Savior.
Father, I praise Your Name for the gift of salvation through belief in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I praise Your Name that I am no longer a slave to sin and that through Christ’s power I can resist Satan and claim life with Christ for eternity. Thank You Lord.