Satan is devious. The Bible uses terms such as Father of Lies and the one who masquerades as an angel of light. Satan’s most effective tool is to cast doubt on our understanding of what God has called us to do. He lives in the lies of instant gratification and worldly prosperity. He prods us with what ifs and if onlys so that what appeared to be Godly obedience now seems to be sinful wondering. The benefits of following God’s direction is overshadowed by the outcome and the doubt placed in our minds by the Evil One.
I know it was the right thing, the Godly thing, the obedient action but….
I am not sure what I was expecting. The Bible is clear that to follow God is to take up my cross, to sacrifice the pleasures of this life on the altar of obedience. The reality of life in North America and much of the free world is that our cross is quite light and our sacrifices few and far between.
The undeniable truth is that what I have given up has been a benefit that far outweighed the sacrifice, and outcome far better than the original direction I was headed. Still I am often plagued by the what ifs and if onlys, never quite convinced that my obedience was truly obedience and my actions truly a response to God.
Unmistakably God but…
In an earlier post, Look Back to Look Forward, I talked about God’s answer to my question about selling our house. I explained that He orchestrated an outcome based on Him knowing what was about to happen. A turn in my health one month after we sold our home was not on our list of things that could happen but it was on God’s list of things that were going to happen. Even with that reality I still find myself thinking in terms of what ifs and if onlys.
Unmistakably Satan but…
My life experience tells me that the Father of Lies speaks words of doubt; His version of the truth is based solidly in fact and is very difficult to refute. My biblical knowledge reminds me that what he says can even appear to be from God because he makes himself look like an angel of light. There is no pitchfork or horns, no sinister laugh or evil thundering voice, just truth about the what ifs and if onlys.
Worldly realities often define my view of Godly outcomes.
We sold our house to a developer making what appeared to be a good profit. We rented our house back from the developer at almost half the normal rent for a property and dwelling that size. All these things made it the perfect solution to a problem that, at the time we sold, hadn’t happened yet.
By the time the developer was ready to demolish the house, housing prices had almost doubled while due to my health, I had lost two years of income. The small profit made on the sale had been swallowed up by the mounting bills and now it was time to enter a rental market in which prices had soared.
What if we had hung on longer and sold it during the housing boom?
If only I hadn’t got sick we would probably be back in the housing market not, renting.
Godly Obedience – Satan’s Tool
I have been thinking a lot about this over the last few weeks. Maybe I should rephrase it and say I have been wrestling a lot with it over the past few weeks. We were homeowners (the mortgage company was for the most part) and now we rent. We had equity and now we have debt. I had a level of health that I could adapt to as needed, now I have to take jobs that match my limitations. Life has changed and even though I was obedient to God I have no prosperity and no instant or for that matter long term gratification.
Was obedience to God worth it or better still did I really hear God, was I obedient at all?
I would love to end this with a just hold on and it will get better, God is working everything together for good, it’s always darkest before the dawn type of encouragement, but I can’t. It hasn’t got better and this side of heaven it may not. The lies of Satan even cause me to doubt that it was God that led me to sell the house and wonder if our current situation is the resulting discipline and even punishment for my actions.
Where is my hope, whose hand holds my future, whose perfection do I rely on?
I think too often we try to fight the Father of Lies, the one who masquerades as an angel of light, head on. We try to refute the lies and defend ourselves as if somehow we can win a battle of facts against our accuser.
I do not win the argument, I cannot defeat the lies or truths used to present a lie, by stating my case. The proof of my innocence does not lie in the proof of my obedience because I know that the times I am obedient pale in comparison to the times I do my own thing. To try to debate this fact with Satan is a losing battle that plays into the plan of the Father of Lies to cause frustration and doubt in my faith.
Satan’s tool is to question our obedience to God – our weapon is to fall on the grace of God.
… But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 1 John2:1 NIV