Monday, February 13, 2023


 The devil has always been good at narrative shifts. That and pressing his advantage when he has the upper hand. He started out tempting Eve with the notion that if she took a bite, she would be as God. That didn’t work out so well for Eve, but we’ve rewritten history so often that I wouldn’t be surprised if some quack pretending to be a theologian came out and said that she did the right thing. What can be more empowering than being like God? It’s just because God was for the patriarchy that He told Eve not to eat the forbidden fruit.

Scripture twisting doesn’t serve to change the mind of God. The only thing scripture twisting does is serve to deceive the gullible and convince them that an octogenarian who would win a joker look-alike contest for all the nips and tucks and shots of Botox has a better grasp on the message of the cross than Peter, Paul, Luke, John, Matthew or Mark.

The devil’s not about to give you sound advice. It’s like having a mortal enemy, one whose singular desire is to see you perish, and taking what he says to heart as something good for you.

Your enemy isn’t your friend, and scores of believers have forgotten this all-important truth. If you want to know what the enemy fears, see what he’s trying to encourage believers to stop doing. Die to self? Oh, you don’t want to do that, he whispers. Whom will you be if you keep dying?

That’s the trick. He leaves the question open-ended, hoping your flesh pipes up in its defense. If He keeps increasing, and by the immutable law of physics, I keep decreasing, what will become of me?

The devil knows that when there is no more of you, he no longer has a foothold. There no longer remains a chink in the armor that he can exploit, there no longer remains a lust or desire that he can enflame, and he has become powerless, no longer a roaring lion but a toothless one.

He also knows that the closer you get to God, the more He increases in your life, the clearer you will hear His voice, the more intimate your walk, and the more fulfilling your journey. When God says to draw close to Him, it’s not purposeless. There is nothing He does that is purposeless. There is always a reason for the things God asks of us, and the reason is never arbitrary or pointless.

The same can be said for the things He says no to when we ask it of Him. My kids ask for many things on any given day. If it were up to them, they’d have cookies for dinner, cake for dessert, and a vanilla shake to wash it all down with every day. I know that in the moment giving in to their request would make them happy. It would make them smile, laugh, and call me the best dad ever, but then the stomach cramps would ensue, the hyper energy from all the sugar, and the crash as the sugar leeches out of their system.

I love my children too much to let them eat whatever they want, and God loves you too much to give in and give you things that would thoroughly shipwreck your life.

Well, I, for one, don’t receive that, you grumpy man, I’m just going to ask what I desire, and when I get my mansion next to brother Joel, I’m going to take a selfie in front of it and send it to you. That’s as simplistic as asking someone how a jet flies, and they say you just have to press a button. Why is it that people who should be in advanced calculus by now don’t seem to know what two plus two adds up to? 

John 15:7, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”

And here comes the if again, ruining all your plans for manicured lawns and award-winning gardens. There are two preconditions for asking what you desire and having it done for you. First, you must abide in Him; second, His words must abide in you.

Spoiler alert: if you abide in Christ and His words abide in you, you won’t be asking for mansions and Bentleys. You’ll be asking for more of Him! It is the only thing that will satisfy. It is the only thing that will satiate. It is the only thing that will make you whole, and those who are abiding in Him, and have His words abiding in them, can attest to this.

Is the point clear enough? When you are in Him, and He is in you, you will have what you desire, but what you desire will not be baubles or things of this earth. It will not be something worthless or irrelevant; it will be a closer walk with Jesus.

Remember when we sang hymns like a closer walk with thee? How did it go? Just a closer walk with Thee, grant it, Jesus, is my plea, daily walking close to Thee, let it be, dear Lord, let it be? If we were to sing that in the church today, nine out of ten times, we would be singing a lie because we’d be hard-pressed to find a closer walk with Jesus in the top ten of our hierarchy of desire, never mind at number one.

But somehow, it’s still God’s fault. Somehow it’s His fault that He doesn’t hear, or that He doesn’t answer, or that doesn’t fulfill the wishes of spoiled children in adult bodies who think that the comforts of this life are what we should desire above a closer walk with Him. How vapid a thing to believe that the Son of God died on a cross so that you might have material things.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

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