James A. Washington

Some tell me that we live in a world in which Satan has some juice. Some even say the devil rules the physical realm that we live in. He is purportedly in charge to some degree. He was banished here for a reason, you know.

You can draw whatever conclusions you wish about this. My question is: How does one function in a world supposedly ruled by the devil? For some of you, who have difficulty in focusing on the devil, substitute the word “evil.” You might find it easier to come to grips with living in a world governed by evil and fraught with temptation.

Now what is your challenge, as a believer, when it comes to how you choose to live? I would point to Jesus’ temptations in the desert when Satan promised Christ all that this world possesses. This offer, I’m sure, would make a lesser man or woman salivate at the prospect of riches, power and dominion over all that he or she sees. Christ’s response was to renounce the offer and the one doing the offering, after which the angels came and attended to Him.

My second example would be when John wrote to believers in Ephesus, where he explains that they should not love the world or anything in it. As a matter of fact, if you fall prey to lust and pride, you are obligated to recognize these as worldly and not godly things. To me, it appears that in order to effectively handle a world where things are stacked against you, one needs help. That help apparently comes from a belief system that reinforces the fact that we live in a world today, that is a temporary trip to the eternal existence of tomorrow.

The devil runs this place, and that’s okay because we’re just passing through. It’s like coming upon an accident on the highway. Everything can be viewed through your windshield without you getting hurt. But if you’re not careful, outside forces can wreck your life as well. So continue to drive carefully.

I understand better now what some ministers have tried to preach that the Bible is a roadmap that can guide you through treacherous terrain, as long as we acknowledge an ever-present evil along the way. Be confident in that the mapmaker knew what He was doing when He made this map. Rely on its accuracy, and you’ll be fine.

As Christians, remember temptation is everywhere and, as long as we don’t fully succumb to it, peace is still ours to enjoy. We simply cannot love the world more than we love God. We can neither be led by our passions nor our addictions. Our faith in God must be at least as relentless as the devil’s assault on our senses.

This journey is but a means to an end. The destination is the only reason to take this journey in the first place. Pack well. Bring all those things you’ll need. A little faith can’t hurt. I’m told love is a must-have, and please do not forget the map because, without it, you’ll surely get lost. Until you get serious, you won’t know how really short this trip is. It’s short but, believe me, it’s truly intense. Good journey to you.

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