By Al Behel
The late evangelist, D. L. Moody, tells of a preacher who was preparing a sermon on the urgency of receiving Christ when he fell asleep in his chair. The preacher had a strange dream in which he heard a group of demons discussing how to devise a scheme to lead people into hell.
One of the evil spirits said, “Let’s tell people that the Bible is not the word of God and that it cannot be trusted.” Other spirits spoke up and said that isn’t enough to persuade men. Another demon said, “Well, let’s tell them that God doesn’t exist, that Jesus was only a man, and that there is no heaven or hell.” The other spirits rejected that idea as well. Finally, a third demon said, “Let’s tell them that there is a God, a Savior, a heaven and hell. But, let’s assure them that they do not need to hurry, because they have all the time in the world to be saved. Let’s encourage them to delay their decision to serve God.”
Satan is the master of deceit. He doesn’t care if we believe in God because he also believes in God. He doesn’t care if we accept that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. He was there and witnessed the entire crucifixion. He doesn’t care if we believe that the Bible is God’s infallible Word. He knows Scripture and knows that God doesn’t lie. He isn’t even concerned if we believe that the church is the body of Christ.
What Satan wants is for us to put God off. To tell God that we will serve Him when we have time, or get the kids through school, or finish our other commitments. He wants us to believe there is no rush, no need to be in a hurry. Sure, he would be delighted if we just denounced God completely, but he knows historically that approach has limited effectiveness.
Time is God’s gift to us. Each day is an “extension” of life granted by our heavenly Father. Each day He longs for us to fill each moment in deep fellowship with Him, in sharing His love, His grace, and His message of redemption with a dying world. God wants our hearts without diversion, without distraction, without reservation.
The demons in the preacher’s dream were correct. Tell the world that there is no rush. Tell believers that they will have time to serve God...later. That is Satan’s deceptive and fatal message.
- Al Behel preaches for the Great Smoky Mountains Church of Christ in Pigeon Forge, TN. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://greatsmokymountainschurchofchrist.com/