Staff Corner - Pastor Greg Spires
In the Lord of the Rings, Frodo Baggins befriends the creature Gollum. Gollum accompanies Frodo and Sam as they make their way to Mount Doom. Gollum is motivated by a desire to reclaim his “precious,” the Ring of Power. His strategy is to come between Frodo and Sam so that Frodo will abandon Sam. In this way, Gollum hopes to be left all alone with Frodo so he can steal the ring.
How does Gollum come between Frodo and Sam? He does it through a double lie. First, he works to convince Frodo that he is all alone. Gollum affirms to Frodo that no one in the world understands the burden of carrying the ring. Second, Gollum lies about Sam so that Frodo becomes convinced that his lifelong friend seeks the ring himself. The plan works, and Frodo sends Sam home and is left alone with his enemy.
The deception that Gollum used reminds us of the deceptions you and I face in our relationship with God. The enemy, Satan, seeks to accuse us too. But we usually think that all he does is accuse us of the bad things we have done. We think he works primarily to remind us how we have failed while at the same time taking our failings before God.
The enemy indeed accuses us of our failings, but that is only half the story.
The other thing the enemy works to do is to convince us that God isn’t for us. The enemy wants us to think God is holding out on us. Pay attention to the serpent’s words in Genesis 3:1, 4-5, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?... You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
The serpent was able to convince Adam and Eve that God wasn’t for them. They became convinced that God wasn’t good; instead, they saw Him as a cheapskate. Like Frodo, they rejected the One who was most for them and instead chose isolation with their sworn enemy.
We see this in the book of Job too. The book opens by describing a conversation between God and the devil. The devil accused Job of only being faithful to God because God had made Job wealthy. After the Lord allowed Job to lose everything, Job’s friends showed up. We can summarize their arguments this way, “Job, God isn’t for you, that much is clear.”
But notice how God responds to these three friends in Job 42:7, “My anger burns against you…for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.” Perhaps unwittingly, Job’s friends helped the devil do his job by accusing God of abandoning Job.
Consider the passage we will look at this coming Sunday, Romans 8:31-39. Notice what it says in verses 31-32, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”
The devil accuses us before God and says we are sinners and deserve His judgment. God responds by affirming that we are justified by the shed blood for Jesus Christ. In Christ, we are made righteous before God, so the devil’s accusation has no standing.
The devil then turns to us and shows us all the difficulties in our lives and seeks to convince us that God isn’t good or kind and that He has abandoned us. But the Bible in these verses tells us the truth: God is for us. Since He gave us Jesus, won’t He give us His kingdom? Yes!
Today, as the devil works to drive a wedge of separation in our minds between God and us, we need to hear from God through His word: God is for us in Jesus, and that will never change. We have His favor because of His mercy, grace, and lovingkindness. It is a great joy to know God is steadfast in His love for us.
I look forward to being with you this Sunday as we celebrate the work of God in Jesus Christ together! This Sunday, we will be seeking God through His Word in Romans 8:31-39.
Praying with you,