Friday, April 18, 2008


Our enemy is not dumb.

It always makes me uncomfortable when I hear anyone crow about the Adversary as if he were some dolt stumbling around trying to trick mortals or stab them playfully with his pointy stick. This is, and always has been, serious stuff.

From the origin of our faith with the birth, the life, the death and resurrection of Christ, people have set themselves against each other in the name of religion. It would take volumes (and volumes have been written) to articulate all the details of who said or did what to whom. You could spend a lifetime reading the stories. Truth is stranger than fiction, they say.

When Christianity first appeared in Rome, the Romans, who were very tolerant at the time, of different religions, thought little of it. To them, it was just an offshoot of Judaism and they certainly were familiar with that. But it didn’t take long for the teachings of Christ and His followers to intrude upon some long-held beliefs of the Romans. Only one God? Hmm. Everyone loving each other? No, Romans, not like that!


Constantine relieved some of the tension by declaring Christianity as on of the official religions of the state. But then the invasions started and confusion led to violence – lions, tigers and bears and worse. The violence lasted a very long time. And the violence goes on.

I was in a bookstore the other day and picked up “European History for Dummies.” I’ve been interested in history since college. Actually, my interest peaked and was sustained when I realized I didn’t have to study history for grades or memorize dates for tests.

This book is a fun read and hits the high (or low) points of the most significant events in the history of the continent – a history that, obviously, has had a dramatic effect on the entire planet.

But as I’m reading it, the most vivid, recurring element is that religion has made such a profound footprint on all human events. Some would argue that the footprint has made a mess of human events and continues to do so. To bring it closer to home, and to speak only of my own beliefs, I overheard someone say a few days ago, “…the problem with the church is not Jesus, it’s Christians.”

Christians that are easily distracted (me), Christians that are sometimes weak in their faith (me, also), Christians that don’t always believe that they’re truly forgiven and that they have to perform like sideshow monkeys (uh, me again). That grace is real and sufficient – period.

And the Enemy is simply delighted. His scheme is working out just fine, thank you very much.

When all is set aside but Jesus, faith makes sense. But how did we get this way? While you and I were born in sin, and while you and I are certainly responsible for our own footsteps – misguided or true as they may be – the current state of the planetary union doesn’t rest on me or you. We are a part of the great sinful collective that has no option but to throw ourselves at the mercy of the court.

What a relief. What good news.

When gossip, rumor, or even disturbing truth finds it’s way into my ears, I will try my best to trust in Him that made everything.

What is man that you are mindful of him . . .
Psalm 8:4

I’ll remember today that God is not the Author of confusion. That would be the other guy. I’ll remember that God will keep me in perfect peace when my mind is fixed on Him.

You will keep in perfect peace
him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you.
Isaiah 26: 3

Wayne Watson
April 18, 2008

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