Jeff’s Blog

The Devil’s Advocate

In Matthew 16:21-26 Peter tries to tell Jesus that the way of the cross is “never” going to happen.  Can you imagine (given what we know now)?  In fact, it says that Peter took Jesus aside to tell Him this (yikes).  Peter could not get his mind around the thought of the Messiah being killed by the religious leaders of the day (who could blame him).  It was not in his theological framework; not even on his radar.  He thought surely the way of God would be the path of least resistance- or at least, less resistance. When he tries to stop Him, Jesus says that his words are straight from Satan.  In the moment Peter had become the devil’s advocate (Satan’s supporter, backer, promoter, activist, helper).
Jesus says, “Peter, your ideas are not divine but human.”  Here’s something to think about: What human ideas are you following after?  What human ideas are actually guiding your thoughts and decision-making?

You become the “devil’s advocate” when you believe that:
•    God will never choose the difficult path for you.
•    God will never do something He’s never done.
•    God will never say anything He’s never said.
•    God will never lead you out of your comfort zone.

Satan’s way is the path of least resistance.  Satan’s way is the way of comfort.  Satan’s way is the way of fear… in the end, we think that our ways are God’s ways.  Isaiah 55:7-9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.  As the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

So, what about you?  How have you been playing the devil’s advocate?  In what ways have squelched the work of the Holy Spirit by choosing the path of least resistance?  How have you put God in a box?  Perhaps your Gospel is too small.  Maybe you’ve bought into some form of the prosperity Gospel.  Or maybe you’ve accepted Christ on your terms and not His.  Maybe you’ve fossilized your own understanding of God’s Word, thinking you are firmly anchored in the truth.  It may be that you’re anchored alright- not so much to the truth but to the movement of God in your life.  You’ve not stepped out to do anything risky, anything different for years.  Have you become the devil’s advocate?

Then He said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”       Luke 9:23



  1. Thanks for these good words Jeff; they really hit home. I’m feeling old these days and the energy levels seems to be fading. And with less energy (and laziness) I’m searching for the path of least resistance in all areas of life and desire comfort more probably than His ways. This motivating message is reminding me to “keep on” and to “fight the good fight” with His armor and guidance.

  2. Ron,
    As always, your honesty and humility are refreshing. It is true (though we hate to admit it)- as we get older- the less and less we want to change, hear about change, or have someone tell us we need to change. The problem with that of course is that we are always, and will always be changing- IF we are following God, because He’s always leading us to new ideas, new places, new adventures, etc… Why? Because then we’re “forced” to follow after Him and not that thing, person, place(?) that we have become so accustom to (and have turned to for our security, safety, comfort, purpose)… hmmm.
    Okay Lord, bring on more change today! (yikes)…

  3. Speaking of new ideas, are you the Pastor Jeff Warren who has posted the beautiful “you tube” sand animation? I am having a light table built for this purpose and am interested in the particulars of your set up, if so. We at Federated Church in the UCC in Chagrin Falls are interested in using the medium for our “global” worship and would appreciate your advice if so! Nice website!

    • Hey Jill. Yes, that’s me. We’ve had fun with it and yes, we do have specs on building it, etc… e-mail my assistant

      Thanks! Hope we can help.

  4. Double check the email address for the last posting, please.

  5. ” Peter could not get his mind around the thought of the Messiah being killed by the religious leaders of the day “. This sentence is of great importance for me since I can see more and more how the religious leaders of today in our country are softening more and more the Jesus of the Gospel and his holy word. Somehow, I feel in our churches how the word of God is being push aside to give way to vain and wordly cultural believes which are not the truth of God. I pray that in your Church as in mine God will be the center of our worship and Honor.
    Thank you for being a servant of God.

  6. Live Forgiven has been run in five churches hear in Cape Town and has truly blessed the churches and their peoples in so many ways. After so many years of Unforgiveness due to Apartheid in our country to have this resource has been amazing and has helped so many disadvantaged peoples to ‘LIVE FORGIVEN’ in Christ. Thank you Jeff for writing such a book that has impacted so many. We so desire to make it more available throughtout the country. God Bless, John and Barbara

  7. Pastor Jeff,
    I’d like to comment about an article in the Sun Oct 9 Dallas Morning News p 18A in the article about Dallas’ greatest generation of benefactors, as it aligns with the mission God has given you at PCBC. The gist is that many benefactors have died, and we need to connect with the next generation in order to develop future benefactors. At PCBC it is not about benefactors, but about bringing the message of Jesus Christ to this community and to the world. The people we want to connect with are the next generation.

    I think it is important to note what the experts said, “The assumption that tempts the nonprofit world is one that corporations try to maintain but are unable; that is they they are entitled to perpetual existence in a perpetual market…Just as Chrysler or Apple or Hewlett-Packard have to continue to make a case for the next generation to be engaged with them, so too do particular nonprofits…nonprofits must do a better job of cultivating the newer generation.” How well we know about companies which have gone belly-up when they have not made changes to appeal to today’s generation using latest technology and which have resisted making changes to adapt to the different needs of the next gen.

    Every profession is experiencing this and so must the church. Keep the core, absolutely, but the non-core must adapt. I can say that I am the old generation(baby boomer), so hopefully my comments are credible.

  8. I wanted to listen to Susan Ashton’s song, “Beyond Justice to Mercy” after hearing your sermon Sunday. Right on it! Thanks for your obedience to His call, Jeff!

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