For the past several days of Vacation Bible School, the children were encouraged to bring their parents, grandparents and friends to this Sunday service. Today, they would parade into the sanctuary, assemble in front of the altar and perform songs in culmination of all they had learned during the week. To the delight of the congregation, they sing songs about God, of course, and about loving one another. And just as many generations have sung before them, they often sing about the joy, joy, joy, joy down in their hearts and about being happy, so very happy. The last verse of the song really gets them excited.
“And if the devil doesn’t like it, he can sit on a tack! OUCH!”
They are nearly screaming the “OUCH!” for dramatic effect, some of them jumping for more emphasis. These kids, so much like the ones Jesus gathered around him. The ones Jesus tells us to be like.
Somewhere along the path to adulthood, most of us have lost this. We have lost the joy, joy, joy, joy, but just as importantly, we’ve forgotten to tell the devil where to sit. True, children are often fidgety, and messy – but they are serious about what they believe! Time and experience in this world wring the purity out of our inner lives, and with it goes joy. We come to understand how malevolent the powers of evil really are, but instead of invoking authority over them as Jesus commanded, we allow jadedness to crowd out Holiness. Sometimes we even romance the sin, whatever that may be. How can a people so broken become childlike in nature again?
Each one of us has the authority to rebuke the devil himself. It isn’t that we lack authority to command evil from our lives in Jesus’ name, but that we lack faith that we are given such authority. It is a supernatural proxy given us by Almighty God, not because we have the strength, but because His strength is manifest in our fidgety, messy weakness. Believe it, like a child; with passion and expectation.
“So let God work His will in you. Yell a loud ‘no’ to the devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet ‘yes’ to God and He will be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.” – James 4:8-10 (Message)
Father God, let us remember that we have the Authority through the Holy Spirit to tell the devil “NO” when we are tempted or tried. Coming to you as little children, please restore our joy to overflowing, as we say “YES!” to You and Your good will for our lives. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit we pray. Amen.
– Jana Greene