“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
That statement has been attributed to various people (Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Mark Twain, etc.) and is constantly quoted as a demonstrably fact. However in my own spiritual life, I find Satan consistently tempting me with varying versions of the same line in order to cause me to sin in different ways. I also find myself falling for and defeating the same line in varying degrees.
I was recently thinking about a recent Bible study, which reminded me of God’s grace and our own unworthiness. We talked about how salvation and sanctification all come from grace through faith and none of it is about works. It was a good study that God used to bring some tremendous truths home in my life. My mind transitioned from that to an upcoming Bible study which I will be leading. Seamlessly, my flesh and Satan switched gears in my head to think about how I have to do really well with the lesson so that people will think I’m a good teacher. What?!? Had I missed the point of the previous Bible study entirely?
I started thinking, “Oh no, you are not tricking me this easy. I am not falling for this line again.” Very deftly the adversary switched gears to where I almost felt pride for not being conned into accepting the original lie. A superb and cunning bait & switch, until I heard the still, small Voice remind me of all the times I had fallen for those lines so easily, but how that was not the point anyway. It’s not about me at all. It’s about Him.
I’ve never taught a good Bible study in my life. I definitely taught some bad ones. I’ve never defeated the Enemy in my life. I definitely fallen prey to him often. Christ in me and through me has impacted other through my teaching and conquered all lies with His Truth.
Virtually every sin can be traced back to one of pride, a focus on one’s self. C.S. Lewis called it the “Great Sin” or “a spiritual cancer.” The first sin, even before Adam, was Satan declaring that he would become like God and rebelling. It was rooted in pride. Then with Adam and Eve, the temptation was once again to become like God, an appeal to pride.
It’s the same ol’ line through out human history and for most of us through out time, we have fallen for it more than we would like to admit. In that sense, Satan could not be called insane. He has variations of one line, one lie and he repeats it over and over again, expecting the same results. Unfortunately, too often he gets it.