I saw it unfolding like a gunfight in the old West. Cole stood in the living room, squared off against the dog. Cole's eyes narrowed, his left eye twitching slightly as he held the dog in his steely gaze.
The dog had lowered his head and was gazing upward, looking at Cole in what could only be characterized as (excuse the pun) dogged determination.
The object of this square off lay on the floor between them: a stuffed animal that belonged to Cole, but which the dog had every intention of making his new chew toy.
Cole grabbed the toy and started to run away with it, only to have the dog chase him down and very gently, reach up and pluck it from Cole's grasp. A scream or two later, Amy or I would insert ourselves into the situation by taking the toy from the dog and returning it to Cole, the rightful owner.
It reminded me, somewhat, of our spiritual situation. God and Satan are squared off against each other, with the object of their desires lying between them. What is that object of their desires? Strangely enough, it is us.
Our heavenly father wants us for his own. His desire is rooted in his love for us. He wants to, through his son Jesus Christ, save us from our sins (Matthew 1:21), give us an abundant life here on earth (John 10:10) and a home in heaven once we leave this earth (John 14:1-3).
Satan also wants us for his own. However, his desire for us in not rooted in love. His desire for us is rooted in hate — hate for us and hate for God. Satan wants to hurt us because he knows that by hurting us, he will also be hurting God. His desire is to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).
So there they are, squared off against each other, with you and me lying somewhere in between. But possession of us is not based on which one of them gets to us first. Possession is based on which one of them we choose. Do we choose God, accepting the gift of eternal life that he offers us? Or do we choose Satan, not necessarily following him but doing it anyway (by default) when we choose not to follow God?
The decision is one that we must all make. No one can make it for us. What is your decision? God and Satan have both set their sights on you. One wants to love you, bless you and save you. The other wants to harm you, cripple you and utterly destroy you.
Which will you choose?
Parrish Myers is pastor of Pine Crest Baptist Church in Gainesville. His column runs every other week in Sunday Life.