What a tragedy to speak the truth of Christ in the spirit of Satan.
What’s the story? I hear a song and I often imagine the story behind the song. Casting Crowns, “Does Anybody Hear Her,” is one of those songs I can’t hear without picturing the story it tells. JJ Heller’s, “Father-Daughter Dance,” is another. This is probably why abstract painting does just about nothing for me. I need to be able to give life to the image, be it a landscape or portrait, I need the picture to begin the story. Sometimes, I see a face in the mall or driving down the road and I can’t help but wonder, “what’s their story?” Perhaps though the more important question would be: What is missing from their story? Maybe we should be asking, is something missing from my story?
I had to improvise this last Wednesday night a little bit. I began losing my voice Sunday and by Monday afternoon had almost no voice at all. Wednesday was very slightly better, but I certainly didn’t have the voice needed to get through a normal Wednesday night. So, we tried something a bit different. Two of our high school students did the announcements and ran the game for the junior high students, it was great, they stepped up big time.
The video we ended up watching for our Bible study time was from a study called “Gospel Above All” by JD Geear. There was one part of the Bible study that just really stuck with me. In speaking of how we relate to others, Greear (2019) says, “It’s important to not only hold the truth of Christ, it’s important to hold the truth of Christ in the spirit of Christ. What a tragedy to speak the truth of Christ in the spirit of Satan” (14:10).
It took me a few days to really get my head around what this might mean. But as I looked at scripture it became clear. The Pharisees and Sadducees and Scribes that Jesus encountered were masters of God’s word. They knew scripture and they used it. These men were not the super villain of marvel movies, they were just ordinary men who had committed themselves to their beliefs. But, there was something missing from their story.
The people of Israel were supposed to be a city on a hill. They were supposed to make God known to all peoples. They failed because the system was ultimately corrupted, and it was corrupted most effectively from the inside, by people who knew the words of God but did not hold the spirit of God. Consider further, how does Satan tempt Jesus? He uses scripture but unlike Jesus he uses scripture to take life rather than give life.
The problem is there is a disconnect between knowing the words of God and having the heart of God. Greear noted that, “it is as you become overwhelmed with the love of God for you that love for God and for others grows in you” (10:31). Are you overwhelmed with the love of God for you? I don’t think you can be and not want more than anything more or less than to love God and love others.
One of the illustrations that he used in the Bible study, was that of the shepherd who leaves the 99 sheep to find the one missing. Luke 15:7 reminds us that there is greater celebration over one sinner who repents than over 99 who need no repentance. I don’t for a second believe that there is even one out there who doesn’t need to repent. This verse is speaking, rather, to the mission found in the spirit of Christ: Find the lost!
Jesus, from the moment he began his ministry was about seeking and saving the lost. Propriety was secondary to seeking and saving the lost. Tradition was secondary to seeking and saving the lost. His life was secondary to seeking and saving the lost. “What a tragedy if we speak the truth of Christ with the spirit of Satan.” We can go to church, read the Bible, quote scripture, take our kids to church, lead a Bible study, give food and clothes, and uphold the greatest traditions in history…but if we don’t do so with the spirit of Christ, it is for nothing. What a tragedy it would be if there was something missing from your story. Give purpose back to going to church…to living life: Find the lost!
Greear, J. (2019). Gospel Above All: Session 1 [Video File]. Nashville, TN: LifeWay Christian Resources.