The Devil’s Advocate
In Matthew 16:21-26 Peter tries to tell Jesus that the way of the cross is “never” going to happen. Can you imagine (given what we know now)? In fact, it says that Peter took Jesus aside to tell Him this (yikes). Peter could not get his mind around the thought of the Messiah being killed by the religious leaders of the day (who could blame him). It was not in his theological framework; not even on his radar. He thought surely the way of God would be the path of least resistance- or at least, less resistance. When he tries to stop Him, Jesus says that his words are straight from Satan. In the moment Peter had become the devil’s advocate (Satan’s supporter, backer, promoter, activist, helper).
Jesus says, “Peter, your ideas are not divine but human.” Here’s something to think about: What human ideas are you following after? What human ideas are actually guiding your thoughts and decision-making?
You become the “devil’s advocate” when you believe that:
• God will never choose the difficult path for you.
• God will never do something He’s never done.
• God will never say anything He’s never said.
• God will never lead you out of your comfort zone.
Satan’s way is the path of least resistance. Satan’s way is the way of comfort. Satan’s way is the way of fear… in the end, we think that our ways are God’s ways. Isaiah 55:7-9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
So, what about you? How have you been playing the devil’s advocate? In what ways have squelched the work of the Holy Spirit by choosing the path of least resistance? How have you put God in a box? Perhaps your Gospel is too small. Maybe you’ve bought into some form of the prosperity Gospel. Or maybe you’ve accepted Christ on your terms and not His. Maybe you’ve fossilized your own understanding of God’s Word, thinking you are firmly anchored in the truth. It may be that you’re anchored alright- not so much to the truth but to the movement of God in your life. You’ve not stepped out to do anything risky, anything different for years. Have you become the devil’s advocate?
Then He said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23