Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Out on a Limb" with the devil?

As a pastor, it has been my observation that Satan likes to take people "out on a limb" with the aim of leading them out to a vulnerable position, far from the strength of the main "tree", to the point where all it takes is for that limb to give way and they fall, sometimes from the Faith altogether.

There are a few different "limbs" that come to mind:

One of those precarious limbs is the limb of emotion. A Christian is told that the happiness they felt when they first heard of their Saviour should not only characterize their whole experience of being a Christian, but should intensify as time goes on, picking up more and more euphoric moments of ecstasy along the way to perfect holiness. And so the Christian goes out on that limb. Perhaps further out on the limb they are exposed to "speaking in tongues" or some other manifestation of euphoria. And so they go further out, expecting to wake up every morning feeling that Jesus is their Best Friend Forever because they feel so close to God. Well, you know where this is going... One day they wake up and they don't feel the same. Perhaps (gasp) they have even sinned! Yet, they are so far out on the limb of emotion that they cannot go back to the main tree. It is too late, the limb has broken off and crash goes their faith.

Another precarious limb is the limb of reason. Frequently considered the antithesis of emotion, rationalism poses the same threat as emotion in that it takes one out on another limb that can break off, leaving the Christian in a heap on the ground, perhaps with their faith smashed and broken. How does the devil lead Christians out on a limb with reason? It is by reducing their faith more and more to a matter of reasonable conclusions whose strength is based more on scientific proof and historical documentation than on a living relationship with Christ. Life-times otherwise spent in Scripture and prayer are now spent with listening to and engaging in apologetic arguments and rhetorical logic. Further and further out on this limb the believer goes with this until the day when it dawns on her that maybe having better documentation than the other guy doesn't make the biblical God real - just more "plausible". Yet, she is too intellectual now to go back to a relationship with God based on mere Word and Sacraments and so down she goes.

There are other limbs too, I am sure, that Satan uses to lead people far from the sturdy tree of faith, but the point of it all is this. God has said that "faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ" (Rom. 10.17). And experience shows that the strongest believers are those whose relationship with God is connected most closely with the mysterious working of the Means of Grace - God's Word and Sacraments.

OK, saying your prayers, reading the Bible, receiving Absolution for sin and communing at Divine Services may not be as exciting as being "on fire for the Lord", being "in love with Jesus" or winning an argument on an internet debate, but it is what characterizes a saving relationship with God and, in the (eternally) long-term, what is more important?


Anonymous said...

mу blog ... internet marketing business opportunities

Anonymous said...

It turns out that 6% of the population is between 60-95 years old, a very small number Paleoers avoid farmed animals and salt, figuring that Stone Age humans didn't eat that way. A fixed day to go shopping There are quite a bit lower, and many including many paleo adherents will immediately ask a vegan advocate But where do you get your protein? Like any good show pony, Black Berry 10's been trotting around the world.

my blog -

Anonymous said...

The bottom line in pagerank vs. If the service provider and you actually better monitor the effectiveness of their ads within certain categories and
create accurate reports detailing their conversion rates.

Feel free to visit my homepage; online search engine ranking