Posted by: nmontague | February 28, 2011

The Devil went down to Georgia

I was singing “The devil went down to Georgia” to myself in the car the other day and a thought occured to me. If you aren’t familiar with the song, it’s a pretty fun song about a bet between a country fiddle player named Johnny and the devil. The devil sees the boy, bets him a fiddle of gold that he can beat him in a contest and they two face off. It ends with the devil admitting defeat and giving Johnny his fiddle of gold.

Thing is, while I was singing it and thinking about it, I realized something: The devil won.

See, in order to win the fiddle contest, the  devil had Johnny committing several sins. In fact, in the song, Johnny even admits what they are doing might be a sin. But he does it. Why? Greed, pride. He wants the fiddle of gold. He wants bragging rights over the devil. And he gambles, and by doing so ends up losing his soul to those sins.

There are two principles I really see coming from this:

1) When you deal with the devil, you never win, even when you think you have. By getting Johnny to take the bet, the devil put him in a no win situation. If the devil won the fiddle contest, he would have won Johnny’s soul as a term of the bet. But even losing, the devil get’s Johnny’s soul because of sin. The only way for Johnny to win here is to not deal with the devil.

2) Watch what the other hand does. The devil had Johnny fooled into taking the bet. And while Johnny was focused on winning the contest, through music, he didn’t realize he lost his soul through other means. He wasn’t on guard against what the devil was really up to. Which wasn’t winning his soul through a bet, but by convincing him to sin. He saw what the devil was doing with the contest, but missed that his other hand was up to no good as well.

Now, you might say, “that’s nice, but what does it have to do with me?” Yeah, Johnny wasn’t a real person. However, the devil is real. And we will all be confronted by him in a unique way tailored to us. So how do we deal with him when he comes convince us to give up our souls?

In order to learn that, we need to look to the Saviour. He is our example of all things. And even He had a time where He was tempted by the devil. Shortly after He was baptized the Savior was fasting for 40 days and 40 nights. When He was at His weakest, the devil came to tempt him. First with food, then vanity, then power. (Or it could be power than vanity. I believe the Gospels have it in different orders). The point is how did Jesus Christ overcome the Adversary?

1) He quoted scripture. He knew the word of God and rebuked his enemy with it.

2) He commanded the devil to leave. Christ didn’t sit around and have a conversation with the devil. He told him to go away.

Now, how does that help us? Well, we can do the same thing! Of course, first we have to study the scriptures. We have to pray and know the will of God. We have to know them well enough to have them written on our hearts and so that we can recite them in times of need. They will strengthen us against the Adversary. And then we tell him to leave. We don’t sit around and try to deal with him. We turn to God and get the devil out of our lives.

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