In 1959 Twilight Zone episode, an unpleasant man named Walter Bedeker sells his soul to the devil in exchange for immunity from all pain and fatality, and he thinks he has gotten the better of the bargain because he even extracts from his hellish benefactor permission to live on earth as long as he wants (see video below). This is a win-win situation in Bedeker’s mind. What could possibly go wrong?
We tune in later to find the unfortunate man bored with living and driven nearly mad by the inability to feel any sensation, even the impact of subway trains he throws himself in front of. After his wife’s fall from a roof, Bedeker gladly confesses to her murder, hoping to experience a thrill of some kind in the electric chair. But his lawyer gets him off with life in prison, and the last we hear is the chuckle of the devil.
Most people do not make such overtly dramatic pacts with the devil as Walter Bedeker did with Cadwaller, or the legendary German Faust did with Mephistopheles. But both Scripture and experience teach me that whenever we knowingly do something the devil’s way rather than God’s way to gain some short term advantage, we may think we have gotten a good deal but there will be hell to pay down the road.
Perhaps it is a little white lie. Or perhaps it is a verbal sting. Or perhaps we choose to sulk or indulge a bad habit, or give someone the silent treatment so as to teach him a good lesson. We think, “What could possibly go wrong with that?”
But: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked …” (Galatians 6:7).
For there is a solemn warning against “presenting” ourselves to the ruler of the Dark Side:
“Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey …” (Romans 6:16).
And many of us who have borne the name of Christian but who have trifled for years with presenting ourselves to the devil’s ways, have found that when we wanted to change, we were stuck fast in a stronghold of our own making (Ephesians 4:17). We thought we could stop the evil practice any time we wanted to, only to discover that as we tried to get out, the noose of Satan tightened like a Chinese finger puppet the more we pulled.
There is deliverance in Christ. But there is also warning not to be casual with evil. Many a Faust and Walter Bedeker have found that to tango with the devil is a losing dance.