Friday, November 11, 2011

The Tempter's Trainee

The Tempter's Trainee
By Charles B. French

We all have free will. The devil can’t literally make us do anything. However, this doesn’t mean there aren’t temptations out there that can trap and destroy us if we’re not careful, and even if we Christians can avoid the usual pitfalls, there are plenty of other temptations we can fall into. Sometimes what seems good is actually the worst thing in the world for us. The devil is a crafty one. He’s also a really big jerk.
Reference Verse: 1 Peter 5:8

Satan – a seeming paradox. He is very smooth and yet is a big bully. He is very full of himself and yet immature. To play him, all you need is a man in a really nice suit.
Demon – Satan’s new lieutenant. He sits back watching the master at work. He is also in a suit, but in a tweed one.
Martin – a young man just leaving college.
Nancy – a wife and mother who is devoted to everything she does
Billy – a firebrand who is out to destroy all he believes is evil

Satan is standing onstage waiting. Martin soon walks onstage and Satan stops him.

Satan: What seems to be your confusion?

Martin: What makes you think I’m confused?

Satan: I read people pretty well. And you seem to be fighting the mother of all battles between your ears.

Martin: I don’t want to talk about it.

Satan: Fine, go ahead and lose. It’s not as if I could help you.

Martin: How could you help me?

Satan: I thought you didn’t want to talk about it.

Martin: It’s just, it’s complicated.

Satan: I am not a simple man. I do understand things.

Martin: All my life I’ve been raised to get to the top. I do well in school, do well in my job, and everyone says I have a lot of potential.

Satan: This is all true.

Martin: I’ve been a Christian for a long time and I want to do what God wants.

Satan: A noble goal. The Bible does say following what God says is evidence of your devotion to him.

Martin: My parents are Christians.

Satan: Always a positive thing.

Martin: They were the ones who taught me to strive for the top. They said that God only helps those who help themselves.

Satan: A wise saying.

Martin: They said that successful people can give lots of money to the church, and that is God’s will, and why God wants me to be successful.

Satan: Let me hear your problem. We can work it out.

Martin: I feel God calling me to ministry and a life that isn’t as successful as my parents would want.

Satan: Is it ministry if you fail to follow the commandment of honoring your father and mother?

Martin: I feel called to be a missionary, but they say I am too young to know what I want to do with my life.

Satan: Beware the wisdom of youth. Your elders know what they are talking about.

Martin: I feel God calling me, but I know if I do it, I won’t ever have much money or a financial future. I don’t know if I could live like that.

Satan: Then is it God? Does he not reward his servants, and bless them with wealth? If you are truly serving God, pleasing God, your wealth will be great.

Martin: I thought money was the root of all evil.

Satan: Actually, it is the love of money. So don’t love money, just realize that it is God’s will for you to make money. That’s what he really wants.

Martin: So I shouldn’t be a missionary?

Satan: Your money is all that God needs. Just make a lot and give some to the church. You’ll definitely serve the Lord. And you’ll always be comfortable

Martin: That’s a relief, because there’s this car I’ve had my eye on.

Satan: Get it. God has blessed you, and with your future wealth, you’ll do great things.

Martin leaves and the Demon enters. Satan slugs him.

Demon: What was that for?

Satan: I felt like it.

Demon: You summoned me, Satan?

Satan: What? Oh, right. Look, you’ve been doing well corrupting Bingo night and movies based on skits from Saturday Night Live, and now it’s time you take on the lion.

Demon: I thought we already were corrupting zoos.

Satan: (hits Demon again) We are. I was being metaphorical, if you’re capable of understanding. I mean Christians. Today I teach you how to go after them.

Demon: Please don’t hit me for asking this, but aren’t they already lost to us? (He flinches, expecting a blow.)

Satan: I won’t hit you. Relax. While it is true the Enemy has them, they are still very useful to our purposes. They can do quite a lot of damage for us, and today I want you to watch and learn. (He then hits Demon.)

Demon: I thought you said you wouldn’t hit me.

Satan: I lied. (He hits him twice more.) Two for flinching. Now, did you see what I did with Martin there?

Demon: You told him to give money to the church.

Satan: No, I told him that to make money is what the Enemy wants him to do, which is not at all true.

Demon: But doesn’t the church benefit from money?

Satan: Yes, but someone actually has to go out do all the work in the mission field, and Martin would have done a great deal; I can’t have that. Besides, the more he gets to making money, the more he’ll like it and the less he’ll give, so he won’t serve anyone. He has that weakness for wealth, which is why the Enemy wanted him away from money. But I convinced him that the opposite was true. I’m good.

Demon: How do you do it?

Satan: Pay attention; someone’s coming.

Nancy enters and Satan intercepts her.

Satan: Shouldn’t you be doing something?

Nancy: I don’t think so.

Satan: Come one now. You can’t let all those gifts go to waste.

Nancy: But I’m not. I’m already involved in ministry at my church. I sing in the choir and visit the elderly members who can’t make it to church. I also work and take care of my family.

Satan: And yet here you are not doing anything now. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but with all that needs to be done, you don’t seem to be making as big an effort as you could.

Nancy: I do plenty.

Satan: I’m not disagreeing there. You are serving the Lord with due diligence. However, because you have been blessed with so many gifts, don’t you think it a shame that they go to waste. You have so much to offer your church that they are fools not to ask you to do more.

Nancy: Well, they did ask me to work with the youth, but…

Satan: There you go. You have such a talent for working with the kids. I tell you, the youth will be blessed by your presence and I foresee great blessings coming to you and your church.

Nancy: I don’t know…

Satan: What’s there to decide? You are an incredible woman of God. If He didn’t want you to serve, why would he have given you the gift? Don’t ignore the Parable of the Talents. There is a reason you were given so much, and if you want to truly walk in Christ’s footsteps, I think this is the path you should take.

Nancy: You’re right. I’ll do it.

Nancy walks off. Satan smiles as she leaves and them hits Demon.

Satan: See that? That’s what I’m talking about?

Demon: But didn’t you get her to do more for the church? I would have thought you’d get her to do less.

Satan: More is less.

Demon: Meaning. (He ducks.)

Satan: (ignoring Demon) Meaning that she has no time to add this new thing to her schedule and still serve diligently everywhere else. As a result, everything in her life will suffer: her current ministry, the new one, not to mention her family and job.

Demon: What if she just cuts back?

Satan: Not a chance. She will feel too obligated to everyone and keep going full blast until she gets incredibly burnt out. She’ll then feel so guilty for her failure that she won’t even question the idea of whether she should have added that extra ministry in the first place. She’ll blame herself for not being faithful enough and quickly descend into a shame spiral, and if all goes well, she’ll grow bitter and leave the church altogether.

Demon: Brilliant.

Satan: (hits him again) Of course it is. Here’s another.

Billy enters and is itching for a fight.

Satan: Deuteronomy 13:5!

Billy: You must purge the evil from among you!

Satan: (more enthusiastic) The Bible says you should seek out evil and destroy it.

Billy: Amen! Preach on!

Satan: This great country is corrupted, Billy, and no one cares. No one sees the enemy. But you do.

Billy: I know the truth!

Satan: The enemy wants to corrupt this great nation, and corrupt the church.

Billy: That’s right he does.

Satan: But you’re going to stop that from happening.

Billy: Oh, yes Lord. Send me!

Satan: We’ve got to fight that evil to save our children. You need to burn books.

Billy: Evil books!

Satan: Fight the homosexuals.

Billy: They are the enemy.

Satan: They are sinners.

Billy: No mercy for the sinners! Send them to the lake of fire, Lord!

Satan: Destroy all evil. God hates evil. He hates sinners.

Billy: Burn it! Bomb it! Destroy it! No Mercy!

Billy charges offstage. Satan laughs.

Demon: You quoted the Bible.

Satan: I know it cover to cover. I know it better than Billy does.

Demon: Don’t you want them avoiding the Bible?

Satan: Are you kidding? I get so much done with that book.

Demon: But it’s the word of the Enemy.

Satan: That’s what makes it valuable to me. You see, the people don’t read it. Oh, they think they read it, but they like to pick and choose what they want and ignore the rest. That’s why I only gave Billy one verse.

Demon: I don’t understand.

Satan: That’s right you don’t. People don’t really want to serve the Enemy. They say they do, but that’s before they find out how hard it can be; they’d rather get out of it.

Demon: Even the Christians?

Satan: Especially them. True, they are committed to the Enemy, but a lot of them still want to follow their own path.

Demon: Then why not just tempt them away?

Satan: Oh, I do, but you see, there’s a better way. If you get them to think they’re serving the Enemy when they are really serving my interests, they are much harder to bring back to the fold.

Demon: They sin by serving?

Satan: Listen, simpleton, because this is the advanced technique and you need to know it. I could either get Billy to drink himself into a coma or beat up on people. If I got him to drink, he’d be very easy for the Enemy to rescue. It would be clear to everyone, including Billy, that he was sinning and needed to turn his life around. He would repent, return to the fold and be stronger than before.

Demon: And you don’t want that?

Satan: Glad you decided to pay attention. Perhaps I won’t torture you. If I can get Billy to beat up on people while thinking he’s doing the Enemy’s will, being a good Christian and all that jazz, he won’t think to repent, and he will even convince others that he is doing moral things.

Demon: Okay, but I thought you already sent him off to do moral things.

Satan: And you’re back to being stupid. He might think so, but he is doing more damage to the Enemy than he will realize. The Enemy fights with love, which is what I despise the most. Remove love from his servants and they can do magnificently evil things. And do you know why I love Billy?

Demon: He’s evil?

Satan: (hits him) Spare me the Sunday School answers; who do you think invented them? Everyone who might have gone over to the Enemy sees those things Billy is doing, and they reject the Enemy. They want nothing to do with the Enemy. All because of our friend the crusader.

Demon: He thought you were the Enemy.

Satan: They often do. I tell almost as much truth as the Enemy, but I also mix in just what they want to hear, and if they never check their facts, they are doing my will.

Demon: You are unstoppable.

Satan: (hits Demon) I know. Now come on, we have a church camp to get to.
Satan and Demon exit.
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The Tempter's Trainee Copyright © 2011 Charles B. French. All Rights Reserved.
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