Do you believe in the Devil?
If so, what exactly does this mean? Are you talking about a living being, or something else, like pesky, negative internal thoughts?
In any event, whatever you believe, some of the Devil’s titles are “deceiver” and “accuser.” There are good reasons for this.
Sometimes, the Devil can act like someone using a laser pointer toying with a cat – and you are the cat. No matter how hard you may try, it is impossible to get that dot. The Devil shows you the dot, you chase the dot, the dot cannot be captured, contained, controlled or mastered.
The Devil plays this game again and you instantly become wide-eyed, mindlessly forgetting what happened before and chasing anew, with the same frustrating outcome.
This dot may represent the pursuit of perfection: “If only you could be more (fill in the blank), then things would be better.”
This thought is accusing you of not being good enough. It says you fall short. It says you are a failure. All of this may in turn lead you to deception of your perceived self-worth.
If you allow these negative thoughts to go unchallenged, they will leave you feeling horrible about yourself. They will repeatedly bruise your ego, and may lead to a self-filling prophecy that is marked by self-pity, resignation and despair.
Such deception is a lie that leads you away from the truth. The lie being told to you is that you are always lacking.
The truth, however, is that you are completely loved. This should be the beginning and foundation of your reasoning process.
So, when the Devil wants you to chase the dot, you may still be tempted to play. However, you begin with full knowledge that the core of your self-worth is not based upon the success of an unfairly rigged contest.
The game shows you that you are flawed. I’ve got news for you: we are all flawed. So why play this game and think that you are any different?
Success is in knowing the truth that God loves you unconditionally, despite your flaws. Do not be deceived into thinking otherwise.
Walter is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church and has served as parish pastor for more than 25 years.