This way to happiness, trust me – Satan

Originally published on BibleJournal.net

Today’s reading: Numbers 34; Psalm 78:38–72; Isaiah 26; 1 John 4

May 25th, 2016

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on thee: Because he trusteth in thee. – Isaiah 26:3

Trust is a fundamental emotion. I will offer up a thought, everyone trusts in something.  If this is true the key question then becomes, what are we trusting in?

The deceiver would have us trade perfect peace for an endless pursuit of lies.  The deceiver promises perfect peace and happiness but they seem to always be just around the bend.  “Work a little harder now and it will be better later”, “focus on the future a little more, the present will be there tomorrow.”  The deceiver needs it this way, his promises always just out of reach. For if they were to be within grasp we would realize, when we went to take hold, there is nothing. We would realize the pursuit of his lies were empty and we might look past them, past this world.

At a moment of clarity such as this beware of the next thing (1 John 4:1).  Trust in yourself, trust in others, the deceiver would have you trust in anything of this world so long as it is not in Christ.  One after another lies realized empty after years of toil until hope is lost that this longing in our souls for something we call happiness will never become.  What do you long to do each day?  What do you look forward to when you wake up each morning?

The truth: the pursuit of happiness by way of trusting in the promises of this world are destitute, they are empty lies.  The Good News: there is a way.  One true way.  All you need do is trust in Jesus.  Put God in that place of what you long for in the morning.  Have a single eye for Him.  Take a step towards Him on thee path and it will prove sure.  The light will shine brighter and brighter.  It will become clearer and clearer, this is the true way.

Know this. Trust is linked to worship and there is a battle for your worship. The deceiver is prepared to give you things of this world to trust in so that he can steal your worship from God.  

We know the deceiver’s battle tactics.  We’ve seen the war for worship play out through the pages of scripture.  One of the largest battles was when Jesus was tempted by the deceiver in the desert.  After many failed attacks the deceiver goes in with everything he has.  His last assault of this battle.  He takes Jesus to an exceeding high place and shows him everything.

Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;  And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. – Mathew 4:8-9

Perfect Peace

It is a simple proposition that he still uses today: if you will worship me instead of God I will give you things of this world.  The proposition’s underpinning value lies solely in trust.  In my estimation, the key question when considering this proposition: where should we place our trust, the promises of this world or the promises of God?  We must choose.  How often is Satan proposing this to you? Are you aware of it?  Of your choice? 

Jesus showed us the truth.  He was tempted with it all.  All the kingdoms of the world in all their glory. His response:

Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. – Matthew 4:10

At the end of Matthew chapter 16, just after Jesus tells Satan in Peter to get behind Him, He goes on to talk about taking up your cross daily and losing your life.  In my estimation, this is all about looking past this world.  The best I can tell from my studies, taking up your cross daily has nothing to do with bearing a burden.  It is all about letting go of this world.  All about not trusting in this world.  If you had taken up your cross in the first century in the Roman Empire it was clear what was about to happen.  You were a dead man walking.  Literally carrying your cross.  At this point, thinking on and trusting in things of this world were over.  I believe Jesus is instructing his disciples to trust in him and not in this world by giving them a clear mental picture of the sort of mindset that is needed to stay on the path and not be deceived.  Here Satan interjects again to have Peter trust in this world.  Peter receives a sharp rebuke and a clear correction with instruction in righteousness.  I encourage you to read it now Matthew 16:21–28 and then reflect on these questions from today’s journal entry, talk about them with your friends and family, wrestle with them:

  • Why is Satan proposing things of this world in return for your worship?
  • Are things of this world worthy of your trust? 
  • What do you trust, things of this world or God? 
    • What do you long to do each day? 
    • What do you look forward to when you wake up each morning?
  • How often is Satan proposing that you trust in this world?
    • Where, when, how?
    • Are you aware of it?
    • Of your choice?

May thine eye be single and thy body full of light.  

Extra Credit: 5 min video on simplicity and having a single eye for God.

Scripture references:
Trust in yourself (Genesis 3:4–5, Luke 12:18, Galatians 6:3)
Trust in others (Psalm 118:8, Jeremiah 17:5)

Cardinal Virtues: Prudence

Prudence means practical common sense, taking the trouble to think out what you are doing and what is likely to come of it.

-CS Lewis

Path Through Grass In Misty Sunrise

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” Matthew 7:13–14

Followers of Christ are called to take the straight way. Strait, a middle English word meaning a narrow passage, from the old french estreit meaning tight and narrow. The old French from the latin strictus meaning drawn tight. The closest modern English, strict. So then Christians are called to a strict path. But why? 

Here is one example. From the fourth principle of the ten commandments, we see that reputation is a form of property. In the fourth commandment, God tells us to remember the Sabbath to keep it holy. Why? Why are we to keep it holy and what does that have to do with God’s reputation?

For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Exodus 20:11

When we keep the sabbath day we uphold God’s reputation. We are called to take a different path from the rest of the world and observe the Sabbath, we are a signal to the many that our God, the Creator, is real. This is just one way that one may or may not be called to take a straight path. To be different, not for the sake of being different but to the glory of God. I have come to believe that we are all called to different but each narrow paths. One to this, another to that, all headed the same direction of truth and goodness.

Darkness and light. Christians are called to be a light to the world. A city on a hill. Something people take notice of. Christians are called to be different.  We are called to consider the things we do, the paths we take. Day to day there are things we do. Well then, why? Why do we this or that? Because everyone else is, so we figure it the right? The wide path is easy mind you. The way of the many. The thoughtless way. What decisions have we fallen into all at once like an ox led to the slaughter? God give us understanding so that we may keep your law and obey it with all our hearts.

When we stop and consider the things we do; what is true and right?, what is God’s will?, what will honor God?, what will bring glory to God?; we find ourselves a narrow path very much different the path of society.

May we all find each other on the narrow path that the Spirit calls each us to and may we all honor our God in righteousness and truth.

 

-A takeaway from Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.