My new groom and I went to paradise in Michigan for our honeymoon-a picturesque village of adorable cottages and fishing boats on the Kalamzoo River, a haven for tourists and artists. The natives were friendly and the staff at our bed-and-breakfast treated us like family.
It did not take long to see that the place had caught Satan's eye, too. There were rainbow flags on many establishments, and the churches had signs such as I had noticed on a recent trip to Maine: "All are welcome," "An Open Community." Interactions with a couple of waiters in restaurants, and the sight of men walking hand in hand, confirmed a suspicion that the church signs were code: Gays welcome here.
Now "Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6), but He did it to clean them up, not to keep them in their wretched estate. There is a big difference between inviting a sinner to point him to the new nature, and inviting a sinner to confirm him in his sin.
I would almost say about our honeymoon spot what John said about Pergamum:
"I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is …" (Revelation 2:13).
But as we toured the village, my husband and I also came across this other sign, an old and large billboard almost incongruously and defiantly holding its ground, that the zoning board had bafflingly left standing. It read, in bold and timeless letters:
"FOR THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH, BUT THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD" (ROMANS 6:23).
And so we saw that the little town we had come to as a honeymoon spot and getaway was really a spiritual battleground unawares. As every town is. Just scratch the surface of paradise and you will discover that behind the sensate reality of fishing boats and bistros and quaint inns is always a raging contest to the death, in the heavenlies. And in this contest you will find yourself either on one side of the battle or the other.