It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. Psalm 118:8
According to the legend, when Luther was translating the New Testament into German he was harassed by the devil.
Rather than trembling in fear at the apparition, Luther did a most Lutherish type thing. He flung his ink well at the demon. It was the kind of disrespectful act he encouraged others to emulate.
While hardly Lutheran, the Freethought Society of Philadelphia has adopted a similar style. For example, they have their parties on Friday the 13th. It is their way of showing disrespect and disregard for the Friday-the-thirteenth-is-bad-luck superstition. And if you think you'd like to throw such a party on your own, you'll have to wait until next year. 2011 has but one Friday the 13th, and it is come and gone.
Another group that prides itself on its lack of respect for various superstitions is the Philadelphia Association for Critical Thinking (PhACT). This year they had a banquet on the night a U.S. evangelist said the world would end. If you're reading this devotion, he was wrong. He said the end was coming on May 21st.
All in all, I was impressed by the fact these folks had joined Luther in not being overawed by Satan or superstition. I was impressed. I stopped being impressed when I read Margaret Downey, founder of the Freethought Society, say, "We want people to know they are in charge of their destiny and life choices."
I thank God Margaret is wrong; I thank the Lord I'm not in charge. Paraphrasing the Psalmist I would agree: "It's better to leave God in charge of your life than to put your trust in man ... or in yourself."
Many stories in Scripture show that joy, peace and happiness are given in direct proportion to the amount a person lets God control his life. Now if you want to keep a stranglehold on your days, the Lord will let you. But don't expect those days to turn out the way you had hoped.
The really smart move is to follow Luther's example. Luther felt comfortable acting as he did because he believed Jesus Christ had conquered sin, death and grave. Luther was bold in showing his disdain for the devil because he knew Jesus had -- through Word and Sacrament -- shared His victory with those who were given forgiveness and faith in Him.
Because of Jesus ... Jesus is the reason believers don't have to stand in awe of evil. Because of Jesus we are more than conquerors. Because of Jesus, nothing can separate us from God's love (see Romans 8).
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that Jesus is in control of my life. Through His sacrifice and victory, He has shown He can be trusted to do a good job. For Him I give thanks. In His Name I pray. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries