When I was in 3rd grade at Brown Elementary School in North Denver I got in trouble for doing something very weird as I walked down the hallway between classes. I was shuffling along with my eyes turned downward, riveted on the white tile floors beneath my feet. Both of my arms were locked rigidly by my side and both of my middle fingers were extended straight down from my tiny fists. They pointed toward the hellish abode of Satan that I was sure existed on the other side of those tiles.
A teacher tapped me on the shoulder and asked, “What are you doing Greg?” I remember feeling frustrated that this teacher had disrupted me in what I felt like was a spiritual exercise tantamount to fasting and meditation. I looked up in exasperation and answered flatly, “I’m flipping off the devil.” The look on my face must have convinced the teacher that I was totally sincere. So, instead of sending me to the office, he stuttered out, “Well, um, stop doing that.” I complied with his request but took secret pleasure that I was still going to flip Satan off in my heart.
Okay, so I was a weird kid. But you have to understand my background. I was raised in a family filled with body building, tobacco chewing, beer drinking thugs (insert signature line here*) where flippiing off someone was as common as waving hello. I wasn’t quite sure what it meant but I knew it was something you’d do to those you really hated and the only person that I really hated at the time was the Devil. So I reasoned that if there was one person I could flip off and consider it an act of worship it would be the Devil.
Up until that time I had never read Jude 8-10, “In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings. But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’ Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand.”
I didn’t know that I was supposed to be careful in the way that I dealt with Satan by refusing to try to take him on myself. I didn’t know that slandering celestial beings was a no no in the divine scheme. I didn’t know that a simple “The Lord rebuke you” would suffice. I didn’t know all this because I was only eight years old.
So how do I deal with Satan thirty five years later? Well, I don’t flip him off anymore, although I hate him more than ever. I hate what he has done to this nation and the hearts of our young people. I hate that he has blinded the minds of those who believe not so that they won’t trust in Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:4.) I hate that he hates the God whom I love and who loves me in spite of all my mess ups.
I hate Satan with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns. But now I choose to flip him off with my life and not my middle finger(s). I want to live such a God honoring life that it enrages him more than any word or gesture ever could. I’m not quite there yet but I am pressing on to live a life that makes God smile and gets Satan ticked.
* The signature line “….and that’s just the women” is a registered trademark of Greg Stier Inc and is not to be used without the express written consent of Greg Stier and the female bodybuilders in his family.