2019-07-22 A Sympathetic Cause?

“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 a new book, “Addictions. A Banquet in the Grave” by Edward T. Welch. I received it through Truth for Life, an Alistair Begg ministry. I tell you, this one is hitting it on the head. I’m only a quarter through it, but it is proving to be very interesting. In fact, I have been meaning to pick it up several times after the first couple chapters but have been avoiding it. Why? Because it hits too close to home.

Here’s the deal. It tackles addiction as sin rather than as a disease. A disease is external. Sin is internal. While the disease approach to addiction has been the predominant approach to recovery, it is sorely lacking in many ways. On the other hand, the biggest problem with the sin approach, that I see, is that people reject it outright because they refuse to believe that sin is as big of a problem as it really is.

Here’s one line that really hit me hard.

“As obedience to God demonstrates our allegiance to him, so when we set our affections on created objects, we demonstrate our affinity for Satan.” P. 50

Let’s define a couple of these words:

Allegiance: Noun. 1. Loyalty or commitment of a subordinate to a superior or of an individual to a group or cause.

Affinity: Noun. 1. A spontaneous or natural liking or sympathy for someone or something.

Let’s look at this. Yes, I have an allegiance to God because I obey him, but do I obey him all the time? Could it be that I actually do have an affinity for Satan, a natural liking or sympathy for that monster? How could that possibly be? He’s a roaring lion, seeking to devour me, right? He comes only to steal and kill and destroy, right? How in the world could I possibly have a natural liking or sympathy for him?

Maybe I do. Is my heart completely true and loyal? I don’t think so.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

But doesn’t that all change once I have been saved? I wish it were so, but it doesn’t appear that way. In fact, that is the whole point of Romans 7. “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15). That sounds like someone with very serious problems, doesn’t it?

In fact, it sounds like someone who is loyal to God yet has a liking or sympathy for Satan.

Could this be true?

How could I possibly like Satan or have sympathy for him? After all, I believe what Jesus says about him to be true.

John 8:44b He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies

Indeed, there is no good in Satan. None. Why in the world would I want to believe something like that? Jesus says that there is no truth in him. Either Jesus is right, or Jesus himself is lying. No, Jesus is the one telling the truth. Satan is just that good at what he does. In fact, there is none who does it like him.

Should I be surprised at any of this? I start off in a weak position because my very own heart is wicked. Yes, God has given me a new heart, but this flesh business hasn’t been resolved completely. So, yes, I do have a natural liking toward sin. My own flesh deceives me. Add to that temptation from the master manipulator, Satan, and there is disaster waiting to happen.

Given this, is it an exaggeration for Peter to describe Satan as a prowling, roaring lion waiting for someone to devour? Hardly. Even so, there is hope. Big time.

1 Peter 5:9-111 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

There is strength in numbers. Satan looks to isolate you. Seek out your companions in Christ. Seek Jesus. This is war, my friends.

Father, I claim these promises. Amen.

Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers

Photo Credit: https://images.app.goo.gl/YzpiwnvGca5h6CpXA

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