The Devil in the Details
“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies" (Jn. 8:44).
I hate the devil. Not like me saying, “I hate onions or cats.” I hate him like I hate child abuse and genocide.
Yes, I believe in a real devil. Don’t judge me. The main reason? Because Jesus believed in him. But also because I have a tendency in my little brain to sometimes believe his lies in my own life. I’ve experienced him.
I hate his lies in that our ultimate desires in life can be found in something rather than in some One, namely Jesus.
I hate that he lied to 30-year-old Max who died of a drug overdose two weeks ago. Max found faith in Jesus as a teenager, but slowly, the intoxication with Jesus gave way to intoxication with drugs and alcohol and he died. The devil lied to Max.
When I officiated his funeral last week it was a celebration of his life focused on his happy times and others-focus. But there was a strain of sadness that permeated the celebration.
Like in everything, even the best things in life: coffee, love, dogs, bike riding … there’s a strain of sadness because we know there’s something wrong with everything. The devil distorts reality with his lies. I hate him for that.
I’m happy that Max is at rest in your presence, Lord, but I’m mad at the way he got there.
In my bike shop, I work with young people who are in their teens. Twelve of them. I try to create an environment in the shop of community and love and grace. I speak to the team openly about my faith in Jesus.
Yesterday, 16-year-old Andre, a young man whose parents are both in prison, who is living in a group home and who struggles with school, (in fact he was suspended last week), told me that he was bad-tized on Sunday at his church.
I was so happy. I’d been praying for Andre and his struggles and faith for months.
When Andre said he was bad-tized, I asked him what that means. He said, “you know, like when Jesus comes into your heart He washes all the bad away. It’s like you always tell me, Kim, God loves me and now I want to love Him.”
Awesome, Andre! Congratulations on your bad-tism.
I hate the devil and the way he ruins, destroys and kills. But that makes my love for Jesus stronger. In fact it makes me want to fight the devil. Not with cuss words or white-hot hate, but with the truth. Reality as God has designed it and will one day restore it.
I want to fight the devil with prayer and courage and the belief that Aslan is afoot. God is stronger and Jesus is the Truth.
God, I need courage to stand my ground for truth and reality. The devil makes it challenging and down-right ugly sometimes, but I trust You, and believe You, and need You. Put that heart of courage and faith in my soul today. Thank You. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Kim Skattum
Pastor to Pastor
American Baptist Churches of the Rocky Mountains