Keep in the Midst of the Path

Norbert Lieth

Anyone who has read John Bunyan’s book The Pilgrim’s Progress is familiar with the following story:

The converted pilgrim “Christian” is on his way to lodgings. Two people come towards him, “Mistrust” and “Timorous.” They tell him that they have turned back because there are lions on the way to the shelter. When Christian continues and sees the lions, he, too, wants to turn back. But the gatekeeper of the lodge calls to him, “Is thy strength so small? Fear not the lions, for they are chained, and are placed there for trial of faith where it is, and for discovery of those that have none: keep in the midst of the path, and no hurt shall come unto thee.” Christian heeds this advice and arrives safely at his destination. This story calls to mind the Scripture: “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not” (1 John 5:18).

What do we want to achieve with our magazine? We want to encourage you to keep to the middle of the path, with Jesus Himself being the path and its center. It is our wish that our readers and us be Christ-centered. And, we want to provide balanced content that takes into account the entire counsel of God.

The Apostle Peter warns us, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet 5:8). How does the enemy try to harm us, and how can we protect ourselves from the roaring lion? His primary names give us information: “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan…” (Rev 12:9).

– Revelation uses the image of a burning red, angry dragon for our adversary. As Peter says, he is a “roaring lion…seeking whom he may devour.” An angry predator on the hunt will always attack the weakest (easiest to attack) victim. Where we are particularly weak, we are particularly vulnerable and open to the dragon’s attack. The devil is lying in wait for it. We protect ourselves by being vigilant.

– He is also the old serpent that injects its poison, which slowly becomes more potent. Those who venture too close to the serpent (also a metaphor for sin) are bitten and poisoned. Small, initial sins can enlarge; minor experiments become addictions. We can be dominated by coercions and completely change our nature for the worse. We protect ourselves by avoiding temptation and sin.

– The word “devil” (Greek: diabolos) means “accuser” or “slanderer.” The devil wants to accuse us, both through the world and through other Christian brothers and sisters, as well as through our own soul by way of self-accusation. We protect ourselves by invoking Jesus and the work He accomplished. But “devil” also means “bringer of confusion.” He slanders the Word of God, twists it, turns everything upside down; he turns evil into good and good into evil. We protect ourselves if we stick to the Word of God.

– “Satan” means “opponent” or “adversary.” He opposes the truth, and everything that is of God or belongs to God. He fights against it, against Israel, against the Church, against individual Christians, against the Bible. The adversary fights against the prophetic Word, to make us lose sight of it. We protect ourselves by letting the Holy Spirit reign.

All of this means: We preserve ourselves by staying on the path—firmly in its center—in Christ, in the Holy Spirit, in the Word of God. The devil cannot devour a life centered in Christ.

We hope that this issue will also help you remain in the midst of the path. May God bless you!

Midnight Call - 08/2020

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