Jamie, a thirty-year-old factory worker, and the ex-husband of a group of women challenging his request to be granted parental custody of his children, was in deep trouble. The problem was a tattoo, an upside-down cross on his arm which formed the letter “t” in the word Satan. He was, he said, a member of the Church of Satan.
A satanic priest, called as an expert witness, “said that their religion doesn’t believe in a real, personal devil or in any god or supernatural power. Satanism, instead, worships the ego, the power of self. That’s what the upside-down cross is about, the turning on its head of the Christian values of humility, meekness, and servitude. Satanism isn’t really devil worship, he said, since Satan is just a symbol for ‘pride, liberty and individualism’” (Russel Moore, Tempted and Tried, p. 129).
I, obviously, disagree, for the Bible supports the view of a living, active, being, variously called Lucifer, the devil, and Satan. The Apostle Peter called him, “your enemy the devil [who] prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Working quietly behind the scenes, happy to go unrecognized and ignored, there is a personal force at work in society dedicated to destroy everything God and the Christian faith stands for.
And let’s give the devil his due. The devil and the life-style he offers – the worship of “pride, liberty and individualism” accurately reflects what the Bible defines as sin: self-centeredness and absolute freedom to live as we please. No God, no objective standard of morality, no limits to my drives and desires. Within the context of common sense, what is legal, and what I can do without hurting others and my family, I’m going to do it MY way!
And what, you may ask, is wrong with that? Many non-Christians live a life-style that is outstanding, respectable, self-disciplined and worthy of respect. They may be irreligious, God may never enter their thoughts, but they have it all-together. As one man told me, “I don’t need God.”
I hear you, but are you sure? There is one factor never covered by such a lifestyle: life after death. To ignore the fact of death, coming to each of us whether we are prepared for it or not, is to me the height of irresponsibility. It may be convenient to live from day to day, taking things as they come, and deny the reality of eternal life, but that doesn’t make it prudent or right. We are eternal beings, like it or not, and our eternal destiny is at stake.
The Bible makes it quite clear: eternal life is a fact for each of us. The only question is, how are we going to spend it? If we walk with God here, we are going to spend eternity with him, and that the Bible calls heaven; if we live without God here, we are going to enter eternity without God, and that the Bible calls hell.
Perhaps you can now understand why I am so passionate to share my faith. My walk with God has never limited my “pride, liberty or individualism,” it has simply placed my drives and ambitions under the leadership of a loving heavenly Father. And I can tell you from experience: God is good!