• Posted on May 16, 2011

about not being a satan worshipper

Satan doesn’t want us to become Satan worshippers. He just wants us to be anything-but-God worshippers. He’s not even looking for us to consciously disobey God and say, “I’m done with this God fellow! The world is so much more fun without him!” We don’t have to dress all in black with capes and pentagram tattoos and sacrifice cattle and babies to please Satan and disobey God. Satan only wants to create enough doubt in our minds for a compromise, and that compromise almost always leads to disobedience.

When I was much younger, I knew there was only one path to heaven. I could point out verses in the Bible and show you, how God says right there that Jesus is the only way. Over the years, over time and conversations, I began to compromise what I knew to be true. I met dear friends who had zero belief in God, and rather than speaking the Gospel boldly, I conceded to their beliefs and attempted to fit theirs into mine. This usually looked something like, “Well God’s grace and mercy is so great I can’t even imagine it, so surely he would have grace for those people who die without knowing him. As long as they tried really hard and followed what they believed to be true, whatever religion or non-religion that may be, surely God’s mercy will rain down on them and we’ll all get to heaven through our chosen paths.”

Turns out, I know now that’s called Universalism and that God, as full of grace and mercy as he may be, is not a Universalist. But I compromised, one thought process at a time, and ended up a false prophet, telling other people that what they believed was okay with God as long as they followed those beliefs. I’ve had to repent from the damage I’d done, working against God. I wasn’t a Satan worshipper, but I was an others-worshipper, a Rebecca-worshipper, more concerned with other people thinking I was hateful or close-minded of offensive than whether I was accurately representing the Gospel.

All Satan wanted from me at that time was for me to doubt that God is who he says he is, that he’s said what he’s said, that I am what I am in him. If you go back and look at the fall of man, that’s how it started, with one probing, doubting question from Satan: “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” (Genesis 3:1) And there, the doubt was presented. Eve didn’t say, “I know that’s what God said, but I’m going to disobey him anyway.” Instead she started rationalizing, judging for herself, and compromising what she knew was true. She said, “Well, this is what God actually said…” and Satan said, “Oh, that’s not true, just think about it,” and next thing we know, we’ve got sin and death and evil in the world. It all came from one seed of doubt and compromise.

Satan tried the same thing with Jesus in the desert. He said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread” (Matthew 4:3). Satan had Jesus in a lose-lose situation. Jesus would prove to Satan that he was indeed the Son of God by turning the stones to bread, thereby obeying Satan. Or he would disobey Satan in rebellion and not turn the stones to bread, and hopefully doubt and compromise his identity as the Son of God.

We know Jesus didn’t fall for Satan’s tricks and instead turned it back against him, saying, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God'” (4:4). It’s genius, really. Satan gave Jesus an either-or option and instead Jesus said, “No.” He clung to Scripture, stood firm in what he knew to be true, and still demonstrated his Son of God status in the process. I love that.

So what for us? We follow Jesus’ example, and it’s not easy. We learn the Scriptures, we read them, memorize them, and cling to them. We stand firm in what we know to be true, and in doing so, we’ll demonstrate our children of God status. I’ve failed at that in the past. I’ve even ended up in conversations with friends recently where I start getting confused and questioning what I originally believed going into that conversation. Times like that I have to get away, get alone with God, and regroup. Otherwise I’ll keep compromising my way into disobedience. It’s a tediously constant, conscious process, but it’s effective and keeps me focused on worshipping God and no one, or nothing, else.

  • Posted on May 11, 2011

about the many multi-faceted faces of humility

If you’d read my blog for much time at all, you probably know that Pride and Selfishness are things I hang out with often. I’d probably call them my besties. For the record, I hate the word “besties” and never use it. But I also hate Pride and Selfishness and would prefer never to use them either. Maybe they’ll take a hint.

So it should come as no surprise to you that, although I wrote about humility not long ago, God has continued to teach me about humility, as if there’s more to humility than I would have thought. If you haven’t read the other blog, I’ll spoil it here with the punchline: humility is God-esteem. It’s focus on God’s will and God’s worth and God’s perspective in spite of everything else. It’s seeking first the Kingdom of Heaven and its righteousness and letting Jesus take care of the rest because, well, he already has. I have a pretty good grasp on the concept of humility, but don’t always live it out. Turns out, Rebecca’s perspective is pretty convincing at times.

Bad segue. Sometimes obedience to God offends other people. It’s pretty much a standard rule, and it’s not just for me. The Bible is filled with stories about people getting offended by God and his word. But when it happens to me, my besties suddenly appear next to me and encourage me to act in retaliation or defense. That happened very recently, someone was offended and twisted my words and passed judgement on me. I was ticked. No, I was pissed. Furious. I came home ranting and cussing to my husband about it. I vowed to wait until after my quiet time the next morning to act on it one way or the other.

Scene: morning quiet time. It’s one of those times I try to manipulate God, saying, Okay, if I listen to x amount of praise songs while lying on my face and trying to “be still” and not think about anything but you and then spend x amount of extra time in prayer, you’ll show me what to do. After x amount of praise songs and time in extra prayer, God was still silent. I decided for myself how to handle the situation in confronting the person–but of course it would be a loving, godly confrontation.

I started working on my book, and the topic at hand was humility. Oh, I’ve got this one down by now, I was thinking, I’m so humble because I put God in front of everything else, at least some of the time, and when I don’t, I repent, and that just makes me even more humble. The Holy Spirit brought two verses to mind: Numbers 12:3 and Isaiah 53:7. (By the way, the Holy Spirit didn’t give me the references for those; I had to look them up once he reminded me of the verses. It would be awesome if he would give me the references sometimes. I’m just saying, it might be faster.)

Numbers 12:3 says, “(Now Moses was very humble–more humble than any other person on earth.)” Numbers, if you remember, was written by Moses. I personally like to think someone added this verse in the book after the fact and that’s why it’s in parentheses, but that’s probably more a translation issue. Regardless, here was the context: Moses’ brother and sister had criticized Moses’ actions and challenged Moses’ authority, claiming God had spoken through them as well, and why was Moses so special? It’s the equivalent of us saying something like, Who died and made you king? Moses was silent. He didn’t respond to Aaron and Miriam. He didn’t defend his actions or his use by God. Instead, God spoke as his defense and scolded the other two, even giving Miriam temporary leprosy.

And here’s the verse in Isaiah, looping through my head the entire time I’m reading the rest of this: “He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.” Jesus was silent before his accusers, like a lamb being led to the slaughter. I don’t fancy myself a lamb being led to the slaughter, but I do have accusers. A growing number of them, in fact, from surprising sources. And here God was speaking so loudly that I needed to be so silent. If Jesus didn’t give a defense for his actions, why do I feel like I have to?

This is about the many multi-faceted faces of humility, slightly redundant and yet fantastically so. Humility is still God-esteem, but it includes a whole bunch of sanctification I’m still learning. Part of that is: if my obedience to God requires a defense, God will be my defense. It’s only my responsibility to obey God, not defend myself.

We do see instances in the early church where believers spoke in their defense, but if memory serves me correctly, it’s when they were outright asked for a defense and the defense was always used to preach the Gospel. (If that’s incorrect, you can be sure someday soon God will teach me a new lesson on humility and I’ll be back to recant that last statement.) Even Jesus, prior to the crucifixion, defended himself at some points, like when accused of casting out demons while working for Satan. But with those too, he was continuing to teach and preach the Gospel. As for me, I think I’ll keep my mouth shut unless God tells me to open it again in my defense. Or at least I’ll try to, as long as I don’t give in to my besties’ peer pressure.

Ironically, the human in me felt guilty even writing this blog, saying, You can’t talk about this, because then you’re still defending yourself and your lack of defense. But the God in me said, I taught you a lesson, and you need to share it with others, to encourage others. So there you go. There’s my self-defense masquerading as a lack of self-defense encouraging all of you to lack self-defense as well. Good luck.