by Pastor Scott Godinez
It’s the summer of 2020, and if I were Satan at work in the United States, I would play with your fears of uncertainty. I would increase your sense of entitlement to false gods. I would manipulate you into being a stumbling block for other believers.
If I were Satan, I would want nothing less than the total destruction of you, your relationships, your church and most importantly I would do all of it without you even realizing it.
If I were Satan, I would play with your fears of uncertainty. I would want you to fill your time reading salacious news headlines more than God’s word. I’d want to distract you from reading things like “It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8). I would tell you about the importance of being kept most informed about the world, and play on your worries about tomorrow as though Jesus didn’t already teach “do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” (Matthew 6:34).
If I were Satan playing on your fears of uncertainty, I would want to distract you with the passing of loved ones, as if Jesus had not already bought their eternity with his blood. I would want you to fear for your own health or possible job loss, in fact I would do anything and everything I could to distract you from that truth Paul wrote to the persecuted church in Rome: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28). The sooner you forget about God’s providential care for you the better. And perhaps I might even be lucky enough to make you weep for the many deaths or argue over the validity of the stats with greater passion and fury that you’d all but forget about whether or not anyone actually shared the gospel with them, or even better, you might just forget altogether that Jesus required you to share the gospel more than you discuss CDC regulations.
If I were Satan I would increase your sense of entitlement to false gods. If I could get you angry and upset enough about the disruption of your routine, I just might be able to reduce your time spent each morning in Bible study and prayer. Maybe I could get you stuck at home and miss out on friends, vacations, and other luxuries in order that you forget when Jesus rebuked me, when he declared “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4). Yes, yes, if I were Satan and I could focus your attention on the demise of your luxuries, your priorities, your—anything you loved more than God, then surely I could weaken your confidence in him. If all you had is God to lean on, would you? Of course not. You loved your sense of control, you worshipped it with your calendar and paycheck.
Yes, If I were Satan I would help you to use anything in existence as a stumbling block to other believers. Never mind that Paul taught Jesus’ followers to “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak” (1 Corinthians 8:9). Yes, I would most definitely play on American’s love affair with their freedom before they ever remember to live a life “Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21). That would be grand don’t you think? What a hilarious irony for the followers of Jesus to lose sight of this command to “be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us,” (Ephesians 5:1-2). Allegiance to freedom, allegiance to preference, commitment to country, yes anything other than submission to Christ first and foremost will ensure my victory.
I amuse myself.
If I were Satan, hear me, you who think yourself a Christian, I would use you to destroy the Church. Your affection for controversy instead of unity (Ephesians 4:2-3), your lust for self-righteousness instead of grace (Romans 3:23-24), your fear instead of faith (Mt. 8:26, Eph. 6:16, 1 Jn. 5:3-5), these are my strings by which you will dance for me my beloved puppet.
Surely you would not fall for a heresy of Christ, infidelity of God’s word, or even persecution, but, should you wear a face mask? Do you really have to stay 6ft away? Must we survive without a paycheck?
Yes…these are the hills you will die on.
Death. Something so unnatural to God but inevitable to the sin condition of all mankind. If I were Satan, I would want you to focus every passion, every hour worrying on the death of a man’s physical body as though the location of his soul were of less importance. You would debate and argue over whether or not this man would have lived if he wore a mask, or if he didn’t. Either way, so long as none a faithful servant of God share the saving message of the Gospel with him, the man will be mine.
Yes if I were Satan, the gates of Hades may never prevail against the church (Matthew 16:18), but I will steal away every person I can through the cracks cracking the foundation of your unity. Let them fall asunder, lost in eternal darkness. May every Christian raise your political banner higher than you ever raised the banner of Christ.
If I were Satan, would I have you right where I want you?
Dear Lord, oh most merciful Father, forgive us. Forgive our trespasses, forget our sins against your hearts. Test us with fire, purify our tongues, minds, and keyboards. Lord forgive our love affair with the affairs of the world as though you had not already bled for all creation. You are more mighty than our calendar, more rich in providence than our salaries, more present than the latest notification on our phone. Oh Father lead us to sit with you beside still waters. Let it be said of us, you are forever our LORD.