The twists and turns of Survivor, the reality show on CBS, has been capturing viewers’ interest for many seasons and most likely will once again as the fall lineup opens with September sweeps. The slogan to the left reads: “Outwit, Outplay, Outlast”. For those of you who have never watched the show, two groups of people compete against each other over the course of 39 days to see who can outwit, outplay, outlast all other contestants while battling each other and the elements of nature such as sleeping on tree limbs, enduring an abundance of rain and of course, the bugs. So why would anyone want to do this? The last person standing walks away with a handsome pot of cash. It must be the money.
Within the tribes tensions naturally mount as teams go head to head in games that call for strength and strategy while subsisting primarily on rice and beans. Alliances are formed, promises made and broken, and truth is scorned in favor of lying to get ahead. Eventually the two teams will hear the host, Jeff Probst, say the words, “Drop your buffs” which means there is going to be a radical change in the game. There is likely a merge between the opposing tribes and the scrambling begins all over again to jockey the best position to win. Is there is a spiritual application here? Perhaps.
I think this activity, though entertaining, records for the camera the worst traits of people. Even those who promise themselves that they will play a clean game with personal integrity intact, usually don’t. In time, the strain of those who play dirty breaks them down and they are soon following the less-than-savory decisions of the others who aren’t bothered by lying, cheating, stealing in order to stay one more day on the island and one day closer to payday.
Let’s view, the best we can with our veiled eyes, what the spiritual war is like that we are involved in. Good against evil. We can’t see them. They are in a third dimension beyond our vision. If the curtain could be drawn we would see actually combat between evil angels, the third who were cast from heaven with their leader and the heavenly angels who stayed with their Leader. The fighting is over us; our souls. Satan fights dirty. Jesus does not. Let’s have a look at the credentials these two leaders bring to the table.
Jesus has impeccable credentials: Son of God (Luke 1:35), Creator of all things (Colossians 1:16), joined earth by birth, then ministry and finally death to pay the ransom for our sins so that we could have the gift of eternal life. He did it all. He has covered every detail even to be judge and attorney in the most important court date you will ever keep. Before you are sentenced, Jesus shows His scars earned for you and He would have done it all just for one person; you or me. If we have chosen wisely, He puts a robe of righteousness around our shoulders (Isaiah 61:10). Our filthy rags are covered (Isaiah 64:6) and we stand before the judge as if we had never sinned.
Satan did not start out as satan. He became satan by bad choices leading to a permanent case of “I” disease. But first he was created as the highest angel and was drop-dead gorgeous, brilliantly decorated in all kinds of shimmering gems. Let’s read the description in Ezekiel 28:13,15. Speaking of Lucifer: “You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created.You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created until iniquity and guilt were found in you.”
Can you imagine his beauty? God spared “no expense” covering him with colorful gems. How he must have glowed in God’s glorious light. But it wasn’t enough. He was not satisfied. He grew to envy Jesus and coveted His position next to His Father. The Bible says that he became full of himself and decided he deserved a promotion. Even though he was covered with crusted jewels, the colors of a peacock, he wanted more. His pride gone to his head, he began to sneak around among the other angels and whisper things about unfair treatment. Some angels paused to listen, like Eve in the garden of Eden, but others would not listen. They would remain loyal to their Creator, Jesus Christ. Lucifer was created to be head of the heavenly angels; to be just where he was. When he figured that winning his coveted position would not be possible without a fight, “War broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (Revelation 12:7) Lucifer, now satan, is still in charge. He manages the evil angels or demons down here and we are his prey.
According to John Grosboll in an article, “God’s Promise”, the devil uses a three-pronged approach. Grosboll writes, “First he [satan] attempts to deceive through miracles, false teachings and false doctrine. If that does not work he uses his seductive power, at which he is very successful. Multitudes of people know the truth, but they are seduced by the various forms of sin and held in bondage to them.
If you cannot be deceived or seduced, he still has a powerful weapon to use against you. He will use fear tactics that include threatened death, imprisonment or torture to get you to forsake the Lord. [But] God is going to have a fearless people who cannot be deceived, because they know God will fulfill His promises. He says 366 times in the Bible, ‘Do not be afraid’ ~ a promise for every day of the year, including the leap year. God has every experience covered, and you can never be put in a position in which God is not aware and able to help you. Those who know these things will not fear the devil.”
If we choose to follow Jesus the stakes are much higher. It’s not just a game with a large check at the end. It is an all or nothing proposition for eternal living. Survival for eternity depends on whose team we choose to train on while in “boot camp” here on earth. Perhaps you will choose to join me. I love Jesus with heart and soul and therefore choose to be a “soul” survivor. How about you? With Jesus we can “drop our buff” and don His robe of righteousness. It’s a perfect fit and in Him, we are complete. “God has made you complete in Christ.” Colossians 2:10