The Devil Made Me Do It!
Check out some great examples of childhood misperceptions and their 'haha' ness...
I only know the names of two angels. Hark and Harold. Gregory, age 5
Everybody's got it all wrong. Angels don't wear halos anymore. I forget why, but scientists are working on it. Olive, age 9
Angels don't eat, but they drink milk from holy cows. Jack, age 6
Angels talk all the way while they're flying you up to heaven. The basic message is where you went wrong before you gotz dead. Daniel, age 9
My guardian angel helps me with math, but he's not much good for science. Henry, age 8
Angels have a lot to do and they keep very busy. If you lose a tooth, an angel comes in through your window and leaves money under your pillow. Then when it gets cold, angels go north for the winter. Sara, age 6
Angels live in cloud houses made by God and his son, who's a very good carpenter. Jared, age 8
Some of the angels are in charge of helping heal sick animals and pets. And if they don't make the animals get better, they help the kid get over it. Vicki, age 8
What I don't get about angels is why, when someone is in love, they shoot arrows at them. Sarah, age 7 1
Of course what makes these quotes so funny is the fact that they came from children...and really clever children at that. I don't know where kids like these come from, but I'd really like to find them and get their opinions about a lot of things.
So I'm thinking that if these quotes came from older people, the innocent humor would be lost, because as children grow up, they're supposed to be a little more 'up on things'.
Angels live in cloud houses made by God and his son, who's a very good carpenter. Jared, age 18
Um, Jared...many seniors in high school are now aware that water vapor doesn't work well for things like walls, floors, roofs, etc. - but neat thought though.
Angels don't eat, but they drink milk from holy cows. Jack, age 16
That was funny Jack...WHEN YOU WERE SIX!
I think you get the point, and I have a point about this as well. There are many Christian teens who may not have a misinformed and naïve view of God and His angels, but they are way, way off on their understanding of Satan and his demons.
Here's what they might say:
I keep sinning because the devil made me do it! Sarah, age 17
When I'm tempted to do wrong, I try to listen to the angel on my right shoulder, not the demon on the left. Todd, age 14
I don't play with Ouija Boards or try to IM the dead, so I'm safe from demons. Amber, age 15
I'll be able to recognize the devil because he wears a red suit, has horns, and carries a pitchfork. Oh yeah, and he has a funky tail too. Jared, age 12
Like the kids we quoted at the beginning, they hold an over simplistic view of the spiritual world. Only this time the only one laughing is the devil, because they are such an easy target for spiritual warfare.
So...are you an easy target? You might not think so, but unless you have at least a basic understanding of Satan and his schemes, it's only a matter of time before you're toast...(by toast I mean "this is a bad thing").
The Apostle Paul saw it as bad thing as well:
If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven-if there was anything to forgive-I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes. (2 Corinthians 2:10-11)
These verses tell me a couple things. First, Satan is trying to outwit us, outsmart us, and generally speaking kick our tails from here to the moon. How? By implementing his 'schemes'. This is a word that specifically means an evil plan, which is the basis for spiritual warfare.
But here's the really amazing part. Did you notice what Paul directly ties in to Satan's strategies? Forgiveness - as in he mentions it 5 times in one sentence! That's right, it is not Ouija boards or séances...it is grudges and bitterness. In other words, one of the primary weapons in the devil's arsenal to shake and bake your faith is simply convincing you that you don't need to forgive people who offend you. Why? Because Satan knows this verse well:
"If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins." (Matthew 6:14-15)
Jesus warns us that if we are unforgiving, we are also unforgiven. At that point spiritual warfare becomes a walk in the park for Satan, because you are in a broken relationship with God, who is the only One who can give you victory. Refusing to forgive is like dropping your guard when an arrow is headed straight for your heart.
Nope, angels don't live in cloud houses - and the devil can't make you do anything. But most importantly, you can experience victory in spiritual warfare by simply forgiving people and moving on.
And that's no childhood misperception.
Head: What you need to know about this truth
One of the primary spiritual warfare strategies of Satan is to convince us that we don't need to forgive others. When that happens, we lose the power of the Holy Spirit, which is the only way we can defeat the devil.
Heart: What you need to feel about this truth
Feel a strong and constant desire to keep all your relationship accounts clear. In other words, if there is someone who has offended you, don't entertain any other thoughts or feelings until you let the anger and bitterness go. Jesus uses the Biblical word for forgiveness that means to 'send away', which is what we need to do with our feelings of unforgiveness.
Hands: What you need to do about this truth
WARNING - this exercise will help you gain a great victory against the devil, so if you're happy in your bitterness, do not participate!
Take a few minutes and ask God if there is anyone you are holding a grudge against, and if any names come to mind, write them down on a piece of paper. Take a few minutes more and picture Christ on the cross, saying "Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing...". Ask God to give you the same attitude that Christ had towards His executioners, then tear up the piece of paper and throw it away.