I completely ripped this idea off from Nate Wilson. I was listening to his talk “Trouble-makers.” He makes a comment in passing about how to be deceived by a dragon. He gives one point: expand God’s prohibitions. I want to riff off that thought and talk about How to Kill a Dragon.
1. Don’t Entertain the Dragon (Or Meditate on His Lies)
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
Eve might as well invited the Dragon over for a cup of tea. She was entertain the Dragon’s point of view. She was encouraging conversation. She was sitting down with the post-doctoral liar and giving him a far hearing when what she should’ve done was called ol’e Adam over to crush his head.
Part of not entertaining the Dragon is recognizing his lies. I said previously that I have honed my ability to recognize parseltongue. You will find yourself time and time again entertaining Satan if you cannot recognize his native tongue. The foremost way he speaks is subtly twisting Scriptures. Did God really sssssay? But, a close second, he accuses us. Tom Holland points out Paul in Romans 8 says no one can bring a charge against God’s elect. He paints the picture of the divine wedding and Satan screaming out, “I object! She’s a whoring, no good, filthy prostitute...and she’s mine. Here’s the covenant.” Don’t listen to those lies. The Judge of all the earth and Savior has put the old us to death and we’ve risen to new life. God will not entertain those charges.
2. Counteract His Lies and Accusations with the Sword of Spirit (Also, Fact Check!).
Number one weaves right into this second point. Not only reject entertaining that Dragon but combat the Dragon with the Sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6). So when the Dragon spews skilfully woven lies. Piles of dung dressed with frosting. Reply with the Word of God.
Notice how Paul addresses the word? The Sword of the Spirit. This is the sword called Glamdrung.
Just at that moment all the light in the cavern went out, and the great fire went off poof! into a tower of blue glowing smoke, right up to the roof, that scattered piercing white sparks all among the goblins.
The yells and yammering, croaking, jibbering, and jabbering; howls, growls, and curses shrieking and shriking, that followed were beyond description (The Annotated Hobbit p. 75)
It’s an ancient sword that has spilled the blood of goblins and serpents. It shall prevail because the same Spirit which raised Christ from the grave crushing the head of that Dragon empowers the words of God.
These aren’t just words. You can walk on them.
3. Root Your Identity in Christ.
We should violently pursue an active participation in Christ. We should strive to know more of our identity in Christ and our union with him. We must know we are justified, redeemed, and baptized into Christ. It’s good and well to say I’m justified. It’s another thing entirely to know why and how. We must boldly assert our privileged status in Christ. We are not beleaguered paupers who are destitute and fatherless. Our Father is Aslan and his bite is worse than his bark. Tom Holland makes a crucial about your union with Christ,
On closer examination of the texts we find that a pattern clearly emerges. There is no mention of being baptised together [discussing Galatians 3:25-27], but only of being raised together and seated together. The fulcrum for this change from an individualistic to a corporate dimension is clearly the event of the death of Christ. The believer is baptised into His death, as an individual, and consequently raised, together with all other believers, to share in the blessings of the eschatological community. The question that must be posed is when did this baptism take place and what was the nature of it? . . .
There was no union either with each other or with Christ until it had been created by the Spirit. It was this baptism that brought the covenant community into existence. Therefore if one asks when did the church historically come into existence, the answer is at the moment of Christ’s death, for it was then that the Spirit baptised all members of the covenant community into union with their Lord and Saviour. Once this union had been established, Paul was free to use the preposition ‘en (in) which speaks of the fellowship of believers in Christ. From then on, in terms of ultimate reality, no believer could experience anything apart from all other believers, for their union with Christ is such that all other believers are also partakers in Christ’s saving work.
What I am arguing for is that the baptism passages which we have considered are speaking neither about water baptism nor even of Christ’s baptism into his sufferings, even though these are important related themes, but about a baptism modelled on the baptism of Israel into Moses when Israel came into a covenant relationship with Yahweh through the representative He had appointed. In Romans 6 (and in 1 Cor 12:13; Gal 3.:5ff ; Eph 4:6 and 5:25f) Paul is demonstrating how the old order has been brought to an end and how the new eschatological order has come into existence. It is because believers have shared in the death of Christ, with the consequence that they have died to all the covenantal demands of the old relationship that bound them mercilessly to Sin and Death (Satan), that they are now free to live lives unto God who has made them his own through Christ his Son.
Holland, Tom. Contours of Pauline Theology. London, UK: Christian Focus Publications, 2004. 150, 151-52.
5. Enjoy the Freedom You Have in Christ.
To Nate Wilson’s original point. He argues we are primarily deceived by the Dragon by expanding on God’s prohibitions. Again consider Eve. She tacitly agrees with Satan that God said don’t touch the fruit. Satan is making God out to be a kill-joy. Isn’t Satan still doing that today? Don’t touch. Don’t eat. Don’t hang out with those who do.
So many of us are terrified to have a little fun. To enjoy all the good gifts God has given us. You might’ve heard something like “I just feel like in our culture refraining from _________ is a wisdom issue. See how many people are abusing it?” I want to say in almost all of those cases of abuse it’s not that people are enjoying these “sins” too much, rather they are enjoying them too little.
For instance, let’s not villainize sex. Sex isn’t ugly, dirty, or shameful. Sex is created by God to be enjoyed in the fullest way possible within the marriage covenant. Our culture has hijacked the gospel story by painting married sex as infrequent, joyless, and routine; whereas non-commited sex and one night stands are fun, frequent, and joyful rompings. Let’s challenge that narrative all day long. And Christians aren’t much better. We’ve tried to turn out of the curve by making sex ugly and shaming those who desire it. Rather than shame let’s point to Christ and start telling people to stop drinking from muddy water of non-committed sex when they can drink from an everlasting Niagara Falls of joyful, God-honoring, marital sex.
In conclusion, don’t be deceived by the Dragon instead kill him. These methods are tried and true. They are empowered by the sin-slayer, dead-raiser, and head-crusher--the Spirit of the Living God.