A few days ago I was watching The Little Mermaid with my daughter. Believe it or not, I actually had a spiritual encounter. Don’t laugh! I’m serious. It happened during the scene where Ariel and Ursula are negotiating at Ursula’s lair. In a quick synopsis, Ariel wants to become a human so she can walk on land in hopes of living happily ever after with the love of her life, Prince Eric. Ursula wants to dominate the entire sea. Ursula proposes a plan to “help” Ariel get her dream come true. In reality, she wants to use Ariel’s desires to trap her and take her soul. Ariel’s crab friend, Sebastian, tries to stop her but she is overcome by her longing for Prince Eric that she agrees to a contract with Ursula. During this scene, the Holy Spirit took me to school on spiritual matters.
Ursula is a representation of Satan. Her goal is the same as his. She wants to control the seas and all that is in them, and Satan wants all of humanity. The Devil will frequently try to make agreements with humanity in order to achieve his goals. Those contracts seem enticing, but at their core, they are deceptive and evil just as Ursula’s were. Ursula played off of Ariel’s desires, just like Satan does to us. He will always pervert our desires which ultimately stacks the chips in his favor and only leads to our pain and the pain of those in our lives.
Examples: We all have a longing to be loved and accepted. Satan will confuse us on what that actually looks like, or will play off of hurts caused in our lives to lead us into making poor choices. Maybe we never felt it as a kid growing up from our parents, so we make agreements in our mind that we will seek it out, even from unhealthy sources. We meet that girl, or guy, or group of people, that makes us feel accepted and wanted, yet they only want to use us or exploit us in some way. This is exactly how gangs are formed. This is why people go from one unhealthy relationship to the next. This is why people get sucked in to pornography and affairs. This is where Satan wants us because these situations ultimately lead people away from God.
The bible contains a narrative of a similar scene from the one in the Little Mermaid. (I’ll bet that’s a statement you’ve never heard before). The most detailed account is in Matthew 4:1-11. To summarize, Satan attempts three different ways of luring Jesus into signing a contract with him. The first is to target the thirst and hunger of Jesus because He had been in the desert fasting for 40 days. Satan will try to exploit the needs and wants of our flesh. If we aren’t getting something that we perceive as a need or have a desire for it, then Satan will surely offer up something to fill that. The problem is, it will not be a good thing and we will certainly have to pay a major price if we take the bait. The second is to challenge the identity of Jesus by saying, “if you truly are the Son of God…” Satan is sometimes referred to as the accuser or father of lies. This is because he twists reality and brings charges against everyone who has ever been born. He does not want us to know in our hearts that we are created in the image of God. Those who do embrace that identity are more empowered to live for God and overcome temptations. The third was to offer Him a counterfeit to that which was already His. Jesus already had control over everything in creation, because He created it and He is how all things are held together. Satan still had the audacity to offer Jesus the kingdoms of the world. Those who are in Christ are already loved, accepted, valued, and given great purpose in life. Satan wants to confuse us on that so that we will look for those things in another source besides God.
These are pretty common methods that the Devil uses which is why I believe Jesus wanted us to see it through His experience. I couldn’t believe that God was taking me on a journey of the soul during an animated movie. It just goes to show that there are no limits to how His Spirit can work in us.
I hope that this post can be an encouragement to you and can help you stand in the face of temptation and hurts and see the counterfeits being offered you. I hope that the days of your life are empowered by Holy Spirit strength and wisdom to see the good from the bad and the light from the dark and be able to choose the right path to take. For me, the scene from the movie, or that from Matthew 4, can sometimes play out daily. The good news is, that Satan can’t force any of us into a contract, we have to choose it. We can decide who we want to be like…Ariel or Jesus.
Jesus shut him up all three times by using the Word of God to expose Satan’s deceptions. Interestingly enough, Jesus is the Word of God made flesh so He was never really at the risk of being drawn away by Satan’s schemes. For us, we have to use the same method. We have to tap into the same source as Jesus did. The bible tells us who were are, how much God loves us, and what our purpose in life is. A life lived with these answers will have fulfillment, unconditional acceptance, and have far less room for the enemy of our souls to try to invade.
I’ll end with some verses to declare that in Him, we are strong!
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” -James 4:7
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” -1 Corinthians 10:13
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” -2 Corinthians 12:9-10