A few days ago I finally watched “Heaven is for Real.” While I did have a pit in my stomach and drop a few tears at a few scenes, I honestly didn’t think it was all that impressive of a movie. I think a lot of it had to do with Kinnear’s character’s sermons. They were really fluffy, light, and not at all thought-provoking. Not once did he quote anything out of the Bible and for him to struggle with the heaven concept, as a pastor, just baffled me.
Maybe it has to do with me not being a person that needs a lot of convincing of the existence of heaven. I believe I went there before, or at least experienced the feeling of heaven, so no one needs to waste a lot of breath about the topic on me. … but what about hell? Better yet, what about the devil?
I’ve been thinking about the devil a fair amount lately. I remember as a kid, I was so freaked out by movies like the Exorcist and Amityville Horror. I felt if the devil existed, he would scare me half to death with gore and blood and psychological thrill. In recent years, I’ve decided he doesn’t come at us that way…
I had a conversation with a trusted mentor. I told her that I was wanting to close a chapter on a certain part of my life, yet, when I thought about it too hard I would become fearful and second guess myself. She told me that if the action I was committing was a God-honoring action, then there would be only one reason for the fear. The devil. She said that with God there is no fear so those feelings aren’t coming from Him. So if they aren’t coming from Him, they are coming from somewhere else. My response to her was, “well, couldn’t it just be that I simply am not comfortable with the decision?” She assured me that if I was once comfortable with a prayerful decision and later am not, then the devil is involved because God won’t send mixed messages.
The existence of the devil comes in handy if you are trying to forgive someone as well. I’ve been ridding myself of blaming other people and simply putting the blame on that jerk the devil for dysfunction and discord in my relationships. By doing this, it allows me to step away from over-analyzing any aspect of strife and letting it lay with the devil. Who else would want strife in our lives? Certainly not God. The bible is very clear about staying clear from it. So, who would want us to live in opposition to the bible? The devil, of course.
The ideas of hell and the devil aren’t easy for a lot of people, especially when cheating multi-millionaire Christian televangelists get caught with their hand in the cookie jar (or someone else’s marital bedroom) and respond with “the devil made me do it.” Those statements, even if they may not be sincere, are actually near to the truth. … Minus the “made me” part. We have our own free will and must be strong against the evil one.
Yes, heaven IS for real. So is hell, and the devil. Take notice when the devil is trying to work in your life. Recognize it when you want to gossip, when you want to feel ill towards a person, when you want to tell a little white lie, when you don’t trust when God has your back, when you question your abilities, when you judge other people, when you feel like God hasn’t blessed you enough, when you are angry at God because of your hardships… Those feelings don’t come from God. After you recognize it, tell the devil to get behind you and ask the Lord for help. I’ve been dealing with the evil one this way lately and I have to say I’m noticing some big improvements in my life.