Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spiritual Kryptonite

At a Los Angeles Times Festival of Books held on the UCLA campus, a campus security officer was asked if he expected any trouble during the festival. He replied "Ma'am, books are like kryptonite to gangs." There are two ways we can look at his statement. One is that gang members are so disinterested in books that they have no interest in coming to a place where there are a large number of books. Thus they stay away just like Superman avoids kryptonite. The second is that as they become acquainted with good literature, the hold of gangs on a gang member is weakened. In this way also, books to gang members can be considered like kryptonite to Superman.

In a similar manner, the Bible is a form of spiritual kryptonite to Satan. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, the Old Testament was his defense against all of the devil’s temptations. Satan was not able to stand against him. When we read the Bible and incorporate its message into our lives, Satan’s hold on our lives is weakened. As we discover what it means to become more like Christ and put this into practice, Satan’s grip becomes less and less. As the Holy Spirit convicts us of God’s word, and we follow it, Satan flees away. The Psalmist was well aware of this phenomenon when he wrote in Ps 119:11 “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you”. He knew that if God’s word was held deeply inside the core of one’s being, the tendency to sin was lessened.

But today people are becoming less and less literate. This has led to our becoming less and less biblically literate as well. The constant jumping from sound bite to sound bite has left us unable to concentrate on serious study. Coupled with this is the false idea that Christianity is only about forgiveness of sin and escaping to heaven. Many have lost the vision that Jesus calls us to be his disciples, fully living a life of commitment to him. We have lost the belief that God calls us to live lives of holiness. The combination of these trends provides Satan with the antidote to spiritual kryptonite. They allow him to strengthen his hold, not only on non-Christians, but even Christians within the church. Thus we see dissension and bickering inside the church, Christians who refuse to get along with each other, and power struggles over who controls the church. These all come from the neglect of a serious study of Scripture and prayer which will impact our lives in a God pleasing manner.

God desires that we have an adequate supply of spiritual kryptonite deep within the core of our being. That is where all that we think and say and do is generated. It is where our true beliefs reside. It is our command center. Jesus indicates as much when he says that it’s not what goes into a person that defiles him, but what comes out. Satan loves to invade this center and compromise it. Without a strong defense, he can easily be successful. This is why it is so important to for us to have the word of God and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit deep within us. This is why prayer is also important. God’s word, the Holy Spirit and prayer are the three pronged kryptonite that Satan fears. They help keep him at bay. They help protect the command center of our lives. Ask yourself, how much spiritual kryptonite is there between Satan and me?

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