That beast called Satan wishes to devour us any way at all. Whether it requires that we be scrambled or if we be done over easy, he does not distinguish. His delight is in the devouring. Amidst this continuous unfolding I long to make known to you an age-old caveat: the claws of the thief–which attempt to steal us away from the King and deliver us to the mouth of Evil–are not only reaching and grabbing and scraping for us from about, but also from within.
His claws look not so much like claws. They appear padded and warm, and gently play to the tune of our selfishness, our loneliness, our bitterness, our humanness, our fears and our longings. They have the appeal of worldly gain, a better high, a lesser pain. They have the allure of internet porn or the bed of one who is not your own, of over-insured mansions in “better” neighborhoods, of over-filled personal banking accounts which never overflow, of bottles from the finest cellars and beers from the best-known brewers, drunk entirely in excess. They offer comfort without community, pleasure requiring no relationship. They promise security and stability and they shake on it; it’s a promise which never delivers.
The workings of his terrible claws may take the elusive form of our hobbies, wear the mask of our work, or bear the shape of our best-kept secrets. Satan runs to aid us in the construction of our monuments to self, and his hand aims to deliver us from our neighbor, from sacrifice, and from the burden of the Light. He loves when we scream “me, me, me!” He does not care much what we set our minds or eyes towards, so long as it not be Jesus.
Sometimes I wonder: “are we so easily snatched away from our Maker?” We seem so glad in the instance of pseudo-joy. We call Jesus our True Love, yet we don’t fix our gaze on Him. We say with our mouths that we adore Him but our living says we adore our flesh–and it reeks. We claim His Word but we don’t strive to know it. Satan knows our kind. Temptation comes and it fits us too well; why struggle? We walk into the wretched hand of the devil but it has the familiar feel of home. I wonder if we have lost our eyes. Do we see that there is a darkness at work which aims to blind us from the love of God and the call of God on our lives? Are we so blind that we have forgotten the cross?
You saw the title. It says “give up” quite plainly. This description is frequently purposed as the throwing in of the towel but here it is not so. Here it describes the going to task, the decision to wage war, the mind set to rest in the strength of the One who is mighty, and the declaration of desire for the only One who is Magnificent. This is the starting point: give up. Give up yourself. Get rid of the “me, me, me.” Throw out the self, and cling to Jesus. Bonhoeffer said it well, “when Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Give up the worldly ambition. Give up the man-made kingdom. Give up the favorite idol; perhaps it has been taken in part already. Lay down everything. Live worthy of the gospel call on your life, my brother, my sister.
“No, there is no escape. there is no heaven with a little of hell in it–no plan to retain this or that of the devil in our hearts or our pockets. Out Satan must go, every hair and feather.” -George MacDonald
“If we insist on keeping Hell (or even Earth) we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell.” C. S. Lewis
I urge you to give up yourself. Give up your souvenirs, today. Give up whatever it is that you are holding on to. Stop putting your trust in the deceiver, or in the deceptions. Stop putting your hope in things. Stop giving in. Find your life in the King who died so that you might be called child.
I wrote this in January 2018, but it serves as a needed reminder during this pandemic. Some are drowning in fear at the retirement funds that have washed away. Some are looking for those old websites straight from Hell, as they sit at home alone, in forced isolation and a heap of self-pity. Forced homeschooling. Tournaments canceled. Some without food or finances for the base needs of life. How will I find another job? Believer, set your gaze on the God of all. Our struggles are real; yet, Easter is true, ALWAYS. And this season is not different. Jesus sits on the throne. Refuse to worship anything or anyone besides Him. Christ alone satisfies. Remember the cross. Remember the Resurrection. Rejoice always. This life is not about us, and the One who has always held us still holds us.