I personally believe that one of the scariest things about satan is that he occasionally uses Scripture verses as weapons. When Jesus was tempted, satan quotes a verse to Him in an attempt to get Him to sin (Matt.4:6).
And he’s still up to the same tricks today. I have to be so careful sometimes when I’m thinking over things and a verse pops into my head out of context. Here are some examples:
I’m driving home from Walmart and I see a homeless person with a sign. My first thought is Jesus’ command to feed and care for the needy (Matt.25:35) but my very next thought is ‘if a man does not work, then he shall not eat’ (2Thess.3:10) or ‘if a man does not provide for his family, he is worse than an unbeliever (1Tim.5:8).
Clearly this homeless person should get a job and I can’t help him because I have to look after my own family. Those two verses, when taken out of context, can very readily set my mind at ease as I drive past the hungry without feeding them.
How about when I’m judging others? Matt.7:1 tells me clearly not to judge but what about Gal.6:1, where we are told to restore those who are caught in transgression? I also like to use the excuse that I’m not gossiping, I’m sharing prayer requests.
Or Prov.6:30 that says it’s alright to steal if you’re hungry? Hey, at this point I may as well use a blanket verse, like John 3:16, to say I’m already forgiven for all my sins, so why not have fun?
I call these verses ‘backdoor’ verses because I sometimes use them to justify my actions and ‘slip out the back.’ It’s pretty easy to rationalize my way into sin when I feel so inclined. But for one thing: I know Jesus and I know what does and does not please Him.
I have the Holy Spirit living inside me to guide and direct me. Because of His voice, I know that Jesus wants me to love and feed the poor. I know that Jesus wants me to love others and not judge them or gossip about them. I know that stealing is wrong and that God’s grace does not give me license to sin all I want.
Ultimately it’s all about the glory of God. I want my life to glorify Him and when I’m living towards that end, it’s pretty easy to tell what I should and should not do. In any given situation, when I’m toying with a backdoor verse, all I have to do is ask myself which course of action will bring more glory to God.
Granted, there are some areas that will seem very grey on first glance. But I believe that God is black and white and even is situations where you aren’t necessarily sinning (deciding how to spend a Friday night, for instance), there is still one course of action which will glorify Him the most.
If we take the time to view choices through the lens of Christ’s love and ask ourselves which course of action would please Him more, it’s terribly easy to know which is the right choice. Acting on that knowledge, however, is not as simple. That’s where character comes in and, as my dear husbands likes to say, ‘you can only build character when you don’t want to.’
But if it’s a choice that Jesus wants you to make, then you can rest assured that He can and will help you to make it if you ask Him to. And with His help, the backdoor looks far less appealing.