Many years ago the Lord revealed to me my besetting sin, and He did so through, of all people, a satanist.
I met this fellow at a party and we fell into conversation. From the beginning he was very frank and open about his religion. I had never met a satanist and I asked many questions. I was trying to understand how this man could rationalize siding with Satan, when he clearly believed also in God. It seemed to come down to a matter of power: feeling that the state of the world plainly shows that Satan has more power than God, he wanted to be on the winning side.
At this point in the conversation, the satanist offered to demonstrate to me the power of his lord. Handing me a piece of paper, he asked me to write on it the single greatest desire of my life. Immediately a thought came to my mind and, concealing the paper from view, I wrote it down. Then I folded the paper and put it in my pocket. Immediately, to my astonishment, the satanist proceeded to tell me exactly what I had written. Having never witnessed such powers even in a Christian, I was duly impressed.
For years I pondered this dark miracle. The satanist thought he had demonstrated to me his master’s power, and so he had (unless, of course, it was some psychological ruse). But gradually I realized that in this same incident the Lord also had revealed something to me. What was divulged to me was a piece of priceless information, which was no other than Satan’s central strategy for corrupting me. I came to realize that my besetting sin was a tendency to isolate myself in a pretense of superior spirituality, and thus to lord it over other people.
So: What was it I wrote on that little piece of paper? Though I cringe to reveal it, here it is:
I want to live alone on an island and have people come to me to learn about God.
As I say, to think of these words now fills me with shame. The utter pride and egoism of this desire is all too evident. Nevertheless, that Satanist caught me at my game, and I’m thankful to him—or rather to the Holy Spirit, who is the true revealer of our hearts.
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