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The Devil and Daniel Webster

by Susan Budensiek  
11/07/2018 / Devotionals

I remember reading the short story, The Devil and Daniel Webster in junior high school (over half a century ago!) and thought, “Who would ever do something so foolish as to sell his soul to the devil? That is definitely fiction.” Now I am old and have been a Christian for about forty-six years. I have come to realize that all of us, even sincere Christians, do the same thing as Daniel Webster did, although on a much less dramatic level.


Before you say, “maybe some do but not me”, as I did, consider this. Let’s assume you are a sincere devoted Christian who seriously tries his/her best to hear God’s direction for your day. Have you ever had a day when you just couldn’t seem to get with the program and tackle the things you should? Did you then say something like, “I guess I’m just having an off day” and go through the day, accomplishing nothing, and thinking tomorrow will be better? Who has a vested interest in preventing you from doing what God has given you to do? That is making an agreement with the Adversary, not as dramatic as Daniel Webster, and not likely to be the subject of a classic short story. But an agreement nonetheless.


Now, what about something more serious, something that shapes the rest of one’s life? It is common for children who are mistreated and/or neglected to carry into adulthood the belief that they are unworthy to be treated well. We have probably all heard stories about children rejected by others at school or being the less favored child in their family growing up, to have inferiority complexes that they can’t shake off. Even as an adult they don’t realize that they have made an agreement with an entity who wants to destroy him/her.


Another form of these devious agreements that is not as rare as we would like it to be in the group of people we know as professing Christians, is when a wife is abused physically, mentally, or emotionally and threatened with abandonment or divorce if she protests. The partial truth of “God hates divorce” is used to keep her in line. So she stays and avoids upsetting her husband, not letting on to anyone what goes on. She suffers with the abuse but also with her prayers for deliverance from the situation seemingly going unanswered.


I do believe that these subtle agreements we make with the Adversary are often what prevent us from experiencing the abundant spiritual life that Jesus promises us in John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (NASB) To be under a crippling false belief whispered to us by Satan or any of his evil underlings, cuts off our unity with Jesus explained in John 15 as the vine and the branches. Severing that unity damages the relationship of being in Christ and the Holy Spirit living in us. Would that not hinder the abundant spiritual life?


Every time we give in and believe one of Satan’s lies, we are making an agreement with evil and unwittingly shooting ourselves in the foot. We know well the story of the first agreement made between the devil and mankind. It was in the Garden of Eden when Eve, and then Adam, believed Satan’s lies instead of what God Himself had told them. And since then we have all made agreements with the Adversary in the same way.


We could say we have a good excuse for believing the Adversary’s lies because he is the best of all liars that have ever been or ever will be. John 8:44 (CJB) “You belong to your father, Satan, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. From the start he was a murderer, and he has never stood by the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he is speaking in character; because he is a liar — indeed, the inventor of the lie!”


But is that really a good enough excuse? Is there an excuse good enough to get us off the hook? It isn’t like we haven’t been warned about Lucifer’s agenda so we can’t plead ignorance…yet we do.


I was raised in church but always felt like I was missing something. Now the Word of God excites me! My curiosity enhances pursuance of discernment. I have often felt discouraged, but not totally defeated knowing that in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

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