Who's In Charge?
I'm one of those, right or wrong, that think Satan is an actual being rather than just a name for an impersonal force or power or influence. I've often heard it said that we undermine the horror and reality of sin if we don't believe in Satan as a person but I don't believe that. Not only does it lack logic but I know too many fine people who take sin very seriously indeed but who don't think Satan is an actual person.
I sometimes think that we take our sins less seriously by speaking of Satan (and his demonic cronies) as having the power to know our thoughts or get into our minds to plant wicked thoughts there. He's given such power that he's barely less than God Almighty so it's hardly surprising that we're so sinful and sin so much—we can't keep from it; Satan's too strong.
It occurs to me that the same is true in other areas of thought and action. It's commonplace now to hear that authority is alien to God, that it's a corrupt and corrupting notion and it's really sinful self-dependence and a greed for control. [And we all have horror stories to tell to prove that, dont we?] What's needed, we're told, by the wise ones, is freedom from expectation, from laws and obligations—that's the way to real life for as soon as laws enter so do the shackles and chains; relationship is slain, friendship ossifies and stagnation becomes king.
We heard that in the catchy song of a generation ago you might remember. Gentle On My Mind. The singer doesn't want to be "shackled by forgotten words and bonds and the ink stains that have dried upon some line" so he leaves his sleeping bag rolled up and stashed behind his "loved" one's couch while he goes and does what he feels like doing with whatever and whoever he wants to do it with. It's that freedom, he says, that keeps the one he "loves" "gentle on his mind."
Isn't that sweet? It's so sweet. It almost makes me weepy. And, after all, what you think and feel is the only thing that matters—right?!
So, to hell with authority, rules, commandments and all other forms of corruption and death-dealing. Let's have freedom and real life, in which, the very wise tell us, not even God wants us to believe anything or expects anything of us.
But it strikes me that, for all that palaver, we've only buried the authority of someone else and brought in our own sick, self-centred will to independence; the very thing we say needs to be destroyed. The singer has become lord, the philanderer is now king, friendship is a sick joke and life is another name for death of the soul. The heart, said a prophet, is deceitful and hard to fathom and maybe it isn't surprising that we reject the authority of Jesus who said he was given all of it or the authority of a Paul who said he was given authority to build people up. In the name of "true love" and "spirituality" we oust authority and commands and rules as destructive and set ourselves up as authorities. Those who demonize authority become the authority as they pronounce judgment on it.
So, down with authority and in with unpredictability and life without responsibility a wise man says with authority.
©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.
Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, theabidingword.com.