Note: This topic has been written on a sixth-grade level in order to provide understanding to both adults and children.
Have you ever heard someone say, “You can’t have it both ways?” In the Bible, God’s plan for you as His child is clearly stated. Unfortunately, His plan isn’t the only one written out for you. The devil also has a plan; it is up to you to decide which one you will follow.
In the book of Revelation, there were letters written to several of the churches. God had become upset with the things that some of the people had been doing. Listen to what God said to the church of Laodicea: (Revelations 3:15, 16) “I have knowledge of your works, that you are not cold or warm: it would be better if you were cold or warm. So because you are not one thing or the other, I will have no more to do with you.” (BBE) The people who were a part of this church weren’t really sinning, but they weren’t really serving God, either. Because of this, God was no longer going to try to reach after them.
When Jesus was on the earth, He had something very specific to say about the two plans:
(Matthew 6:24) “No one can serve two masters. He will hate the first master and love the second, or he will be devoted to the first and despise the second. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (GOD’S WORD) It is impossible for us to obey two different bosses at the same time. Have you ever been in a situation where one person asked you to do one thing, and then another told you to do something else? They didn’t mean to confuse you; they just didn’t know that you’d already been given something else to do! Just as it would be impossible to complete two tasks (or jobs, chores) at the very same time, it is impossible to satisfy your flesh (do what you want to do) and please God.
(Matthew 7:13-14) “Enter through the narrow gate because the gate and road that lead to destruction are wide. Many enter through the wide gate. But the narrow gate and the road that lead to life are full of trouble. Only a few people find the narrow gate.” (GOD’S WORD) The wide gate symbolizes life in the world. Many will choose not to serve God, but to serve their flesh – to live in a way that pleases them. The gate that leads to heaven is narrow, because in choosing to serve God, you also choose to give up many things that the world offers. Why is the road that leads to eternal life so full of trouble? Because Satan knows exactly what we must do to live for God, and he will do everything he can to make us mess up. Just remember: there is only one devil, and unlike God, he cannot be everywhere at once!
The choices that you make throughout your life will determine (or decide) where you will spend eternity (eternity means “never ends”). Let’s look at the two choices and their results.
- To deceive: (To mislead the mind; to cause to err; to cause to believe what is false, or disbelieve what is true; to impose on; to delude) (John 8:44) Satan is a liar!
- To trick: (To deceive; to impose on; to defraud; to cheat) (Ephesians 6:11) Put on the armor of God so that you can stand against Satan’s tricks!
- To cause sin: (I John 3:8a) “The person who lives a sinful life belongs to the devil, because the devil has been committing sin since the beginning.” (GOD’S WORD)
- To destroy: (I Peter 5:8) “Be serious and keep watch; the Evil One, who is against you, goes about like a lion with open mouth in search of food…” (BBE)
The world tries to make sin look “pretty.” There are pictures everywhere (billboards, magazines, etc.)! All of these things try to show people having ‘fun’. However, what is the real story behind them? You never see pictures of the people who are in the hospital, sick with cancer caused by the cigarettes they smoked. You don’t see a picture of the drunk driver who is in jail because he drove after drinking and caused an accident. (How much fun do you think he’s having then?) If you are not careful, the devil will do all he can to trap you with the tricks and vices (habits) that will cause you to become stuck in his plan.
In Hebrews 11, the Bible talks about Moses when he faced this decision. (Hebrews 11:24-26) “Then after Moses grew up, his faith made him refuse to be called the king’s grandson. He chose to be mistreated with God’s people instead of having the good time that sin could bring for a little while. Moses knew that the treasures of Egypt were not as wonderful as what he would receive from suffering for the Messiah, and he looked forward to his reward.” (CEV)
- To take you to heaven: (John 14:1-3) “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (KJV)
- To take care of your needs: (Matthew 6:31-34) “Don’t worry and ask yourselves, “Will we have anything to eat? Will we have anything to drink? Will we have any clothes to wear? Only people who don’t know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father in heaven knows that you need all of these. But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well. Don’t worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. You have enough to worry about today.” (CEV)
(You have heard about both God’s and Satan’s plans. Which one sounds better to you?)
The devil is very interested in you. Notice, this doesn’t mean that he cares for you, or loves you…he simply wants to keep you as far from God as he possibly can. Satan knows that he is already defeated and doomed to a life in hell, and he wants to take as many of us with him as possible. You see, hell wasn’t created for us; it was prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41) (II Peter 2:4). It is obvious from God’s plan that He truly loves and cares for you. He has nothing but good thoughts towards us, as spoken in Jeremiah 29:11-13: “For I have the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” (KJVR)
Copyright © 2004 Growing with God 2 by Mark and Glenda Alphin
Definitions derived from Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of American English
Scripture quotations marked (CEV) are taken from the Holy Bible, Contemporary English Version, electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, ã1995 by the American Bible Society.
Scripture quotations marked (BBE) are taken from the 1949/1964 Bible in Basic English. Printed in 1965 by Cambridge Press; public domain.
Scripture quotations marked (KJV) are taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version.—Electronic edition of the 1850 red letter edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.—Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995