Remember the old SNL skits with the church lady? How she’d cock her head to one side with a smug, tight-lipped smile and say, “Now who made you say that, huh? Was it . . . Satan?” Her voice would rise up a little as she drew out the word to make everyone laugh.
But it was always an uncomfortable laugh. Because, really, deep down, we all know that talking about Satan is uncomfortable and . . . I don’t know . . . maybe even a little unseemly?
We hesitate to pin too much on the bad guy—it makes us sound a little too “religious” or hyper-spiritual. And so we laugh about it.
I’m not here to laugh today, because I think that sometimes dealing with our doubts can truly become a “church lady” moment when we recognize who we’re dealing with.
Now, before I go too much further, I want to say two things. First, as I mentioned in my first post on doubt, I am no theologian. I know several good ones, and I’m sure they could set us all straight on this topic right away. What I’m attempting to do here is just use my experiences to help others who may be doubting.
Second, I do not believe that all doubt comes from Satan. Sometimes our faith is at a weak place, and we do a pretty good job of planting those thoughts into our own minds. I’m not one of those people who sees Satan standing on every street corner, just waiting to pounce on me. But I am aware. Let’s leave it at that.
What I do believe is that, if we are in Christ, we have an enemy who would like nothing better than to see us falter in our faith. The kind of enemy who delights in telling us lies and who is happier still when we believe them. An enemy who tries to discredit, even destroy, the work of God whenever he can, even if that work is our very soul.
So it follows, doesn’t it, that if we are in Christ and growing toward godliness and holiness, that Satan would do whatever he could to trip us up. At least this has been my experience. The times when I’ve been seeking God wholeheartedly, or when I’ve been serving Him the most, are times when I’ve begun to ask myself questions.
Is this all worth it?
Why am I working so hard at this? For what?
Does God really even notice me or my efforts for His kingdom?
Is He really there?
Is God really who He says He is?
Am I really saved?
These are the types of questions Satan tried to get Jesus to ask when he tempted Him in the wilderness. Questions that would doubt God’s goodness or His work in our lives. Questions that would doubt God’s validity as Savior and Redeemer.
Again, I want to emphasize that, according to Grudem’s Systematic Theology (my helper today) “Not all evil and sin if from Satan, . . . but some is” (420). Which brings me to my point: we have to be discerning. When we are in a period of doubt, we have to remember that the evil one wants more than ever to topple our faith. It would bring him so much success if we decided that this faith thing really isn’t worth it, gave up, and walked away.
So be discerning. Understand who’s voice you’re hearing—whether it’s the voice of the enemy or your own voice—and, either way, choose to not listen.
And be strong.
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”
I Corinthians 16:13
Next week we’ll talk about the voice we should be listening to, and it’s a good, good voice.
Your thoughts? I’d love to hear them.
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