A friend once told me that for a long time as a churchgoer, she felt like she was standing outside in the cold and dark looking through a cheery window into a well-lit room where everyone else was having a party except her.
I have also felt this way, and I believe it is a common temptation of Satan. He would love for you to believe you are worse than everybody else, have sinned worse than everybody else, have blown your life more irreversibly than everybody else, and are basically a second-class Christian just treading water with no hope.
Paul urged “that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs” (2 Corinthians 2:11). But I wonder how “ignorant of his designs” many of us are. And is that because we do not really believe in the direct influence Satan has on our thinking? He put thoughts into Judas’ heart (John 13:2)—and when Judas failed to discern that, Satan turned a foothold to a stronghold and moved right in (John 13:27). He put thoughts into Ananias and Sapphira’s hearts (Acts 5:3). There are spirits of confusion (Isaiah 19:14), and evil spirits that cause people to have ill will toward each other (Judges 9:23) and prompt even otherwise godly men to make bad choices (1 Chronicles 21:1).
You may have lived in a pit of sin so long you have a mailbox and flowerbeds there. This may be in spite of years in a church and knowing the gospel by heart. You may have been whupped real good by the Lord for repeated backsliding, and now you think He has given up on you. You may have seen others go on from similar beginnings as yours to make great progress in the faith. And now you are being attacked by Satan’s final temptation—the lie that Christianity works for everybody but you.
No one has felt that way more than I have. But we must resist it, brothers and sisters. And if you find yourself up to that point in your life where you feel like a permanent outsider, here are two verses I am willing to share with you, just for 10-time losers like you and me. Memorize them and repeat them to yourself until you are convinced of it—God’s Word against Satan’s:
“I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD; the LORD has disciplined me severely, but he has not given me over to death” (Psalm 118:17-18).
There is no pit so deep that God cannot get you out of it. God wants you at the party.