I cannot imagine writing on two more dissimilar stories in today's news.
The Satanic Temple
(TST) is a movement that began in 2013. The group now has seventeen chapters in the U.S. and Europe and claims an estimated 100,000 members. Its members have created satanic coloring books for distribution in Florida and Colorado schools, offered prayers to Satan at a Seattle high school football game, and demanded that a satanic statue be erected next to a monument to the Ten Commandments at the Oklahoma State Capitol.
TST has been in the news lately due to its efforts to inspire a "satanic revolution." The group has been holding rallies—the most recent was in Austin, Texas—to further its cause.
Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth turned ninety last week. She is the longest reigning monarch in England's long history. She had a conference with President Obama the day after her birthday and has met twelve American presidents. The queen has watched her country change in dramatic ways. Yet she remains an amazing force for good in the U.K. and beyond.
Why am I writing on both TST and Queen Elizabeth today?
Baptist pastor Dr. Jeff Owens once warned his church, "Satan does not want you to do what he wants you to do. Satan wants you to do what you want to do." That's exactly right. If the devil can get you to focus your thoughts on self rather than the Spirit, he wins.
By contrast, Queen Elizabeth credits her longevity and positive spirit to her resolute faith, a fact she addresses regularly
. For instance, she delivers each Christmas a message to the British people. In her Christmas 2000 message she stated, "For me the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life." Two years later she testified, "I know just how much I rely on my own faith to guide me through the good times and the bad."
In last year's Christmas message the Queen stated: "It is true that the world has had to confront moments of darkness this year, but the Gospel of John contains a verse of great hope, often read at Christmas carol services: 'The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.'"
The contrast between TST and Queen Elizabeth is captured in this biblical text: "To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace" (Romans 8:6). So, how do we set our minds on the Spirit?
Scripture exhorts us: "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" (Philippians 4:8).
Does such mental discipline make us holy? No—it positions us to experience the sanctification only God's Spirit can produce: "Keep my statutes and do them; I am the LORD who sanctifies you" (Leviticus 20:8).
So ask God to help you "take every thought captive to obey Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5). Your thoughts become your words and actions, which define your life and legacy. "As he thinks in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7, NKJV).
Let's make that fact good news today.
Publication date: April 25, 2016
For more from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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