_____ Has a wonderful plan for your life.
Have ever you seen the sentence above?
If you have ever seen "The Four Spiritual Laws" created by Campus Crusade for Christ, you know this is part of the opening line.
This is one of the most popular evangelistic tracts ever used. It opens with the statement, "God Loves you, and has a wonderful plan for your life." Of course, it continues by showing how our sin has destroyed this plan. You can see it in over 150 languages here - 4 Spiritual Laws -
However, for this post, I want to make a small change to the sentence. It is equally as valid, but rather than encouraging. It is terrifying.
The Devil Has a wonderful plan for your life
The Bible teaches us that our adversary is “prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) His plan involves your death, humiliation, and the scandal of the Christian message.
Is there anything we can do about this fact?
1. Refuse to Court Pet Sins
You know the sin I am talking about. The one you know is wrong, but for some reason, you continue to nurture it. Maybe you feel like you deserve one bad-habit. Perhaps you feel like a victim, and this is your addiction. Sin isn’t your pet; it is your enemy. Kill it, don’t court it.
Consider carefully this passage written by James, the brother of Jesus:
James 1:14-15 CSB
But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desire. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.
The sin you allow to grow in your life will kill you. It is the plan of your enemy!
2. Appreciate the seriousness of sin
The old Puritan John Owen famously wrote: “Be killing sin, or it will be killing you.”
Most of us don’t believe that. We don’t really believe the warning from James (above) either.
We think we can outsmart our sin or that it is not really that big of a problem. “After all,” we tell our selves, “I know people who do so much worse.”
This is all a fine delusion until we admit that we have an enemy. There is one who has a plan for your destruction, and the sin (whether it is large or small) is his tool for your demise.
The other day I was reading a scene in a book. The good guy was at a table with his enemy. He was confronting him with a crime. The enemy offered the hero a drink. “You look thirsty. Have a drink while you talk.”
What would you do? Would you take a drink from your enemy while you were attempting to bring him down? Neither did the hero of the story. He knew the drink was not an act of kindness; it was a poison designed to destroy.
3. Be afraid of the consequences of sin
Over the past couple of months I have come to appreciate the fact that, when it comes to sin and the plans of the enemy, I am a coward. I have watched much stronger, and seemingly more spiritual men fall. When I think about myself, I come to the conclusions; I am just too afraid.
- I am afraid of embarrassing God and the Christian gospel.
- I am afraid of facing my wife, my kids, my parents, my church members.
- I am afraid of the men in my life who would confront me in love but without gentleness
- I am afraid of losing my job and my reputation.
For a while, I thought that I must not be growing in grace if fear was keeping me from chasing sin. However, in the past couple of weeks, I appreciate the depth of this fear.
When you are tempted to sin, remember there are consequences when you get caught.
Be afraid my friend, be very afraid.
4. Don’t let the mystical aspect of spiritual formation distort the practical reality of self-control
I like the idea of mystical Christianity. That is, I am fascinated by the idea of a life that is so absorbed, or in step with God that he is living powerfully through me. I read the books, and I pray the prayers. I long for the day when I can live a life of blessed relief. However, today is not that day. This is a war, and it requires me to fight.
When a brother or sister falls into sin, we utter the phrase, “but for the grace of God. . .”
I am not sure what we mean by this sentence. Are we saying that God’s grace failed our friend? Are we saying that God is overcoming our will and temptation but didn’t work that way in our sister?
This cannot be true, and it does not seem to fit the biblical vision for Christian living. The Bible teaches us to “resist the devil.” It instructs us to “flee youthful lusts.” It guides us into a life of self-control.
Now, this “self-control” is a fruit of the Spirit. He opens our eyes to the sin and its consequences. He convicts and confronts, but HE doesn’t say, “No” in our place. We have the power, but we must take up that weapon ourselves.
My friend, you are not paranoid. Someone really is after you. Do not let his plan for your life succeed.