The enemy may now lay claim to your quarry, but he is still of great value to our cause. Our adversary, whom he now calls Lord, is not a realist. Idealism is the weakness of His kingdom. This specific prey of yours has a proclivity toward our utilitarian skepticism. Shadow Guide, you are a proven specialist in manipulating the antagonist’s illegitimates to mistrust consistently His care and pledges. Do what you do best — lead him into the enlightened suspicion of the shadows.
A beautiful cynicism usually overtakes all of our own who are forced to live under His unwanted and undemocratic reign. As they discover that nothing in His inadequate creation is of lasting worth, they curse Him and His existence with adherence to a splendid existential futility. However, this ploy will not be useful now that your man has left our great cause. The enemy is teaching him that complete fulfillment cannot be attained through satisfying his physical appetites.
Even so, you now have an opportunity to lead him to an even greater cynicism. When he prays in a time of dire need, his self-centered benefactor will sometimes refuse to answer in the way he desires. Be constant in reminding him that He who claims to care really doesn’t and that his so-called Father has left him alone in his agony. Keep him focused on the immediate as his patron seeks to justify Himself with some promise of future good from present suffering. Your goal is to keep him from conversation with the One he once believed was omnipotent and loving. With a bitter cynicism he will gradually arrive at a hopelessness that will constantly question the goodness of his maker and supposed redeemer. Eventually, you will bring him to look at the Son’s sacrifice – that which our enemy considers His greatest act of love – and, even there, his despair will rule.
He will become the cynic who refuses to be a sycophant to his stepparent and one who bears testimony to earth and heaven that He is inadequate. As one of their own, your prey will effect even more damage than he could have if he had remained with us.
Your Master, Legion
Rev. John P. Sartelle Sr. is senior minister at Christ Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Oakland, Tenn. He is author of What Christian Parents Should Know about Infant Baptism.