You Gotta Serve Somebody (Bob Dylan 1979)

With the weather getting warmer in our area, I have begun to think about going to the beach.  That reminded me of a time many years ago when my wife and I had organized a beach trip to Rhode Island for our church youth group.  While we were having a great time in the water, we noticed a heavy-set woman near us who seemed to be in distress.  It turned out, that she was caught in an undertow and couldn’t get back to shore.  Fortunately, one of the young men in our group and I were able to maneuver her back to land.  The world we live in is like the ocean; there are currents and undertows that run counter to our safety.  So, too (as Billy Graham says),there is an undertow, a subtle current, which runs against and in contradiction to the will and way of God.  Its eddies are deep and treacherous.  They are stirred and troubled by Satan and intended to trap and ensnare, not only those of the world, but also those who are trying to walk God’s way.

I sometimes wonder how many Christians really believe in the devil and in Hell.  We all believe in Jesus and most of us seem to believe in Heaven.  And while man may believe that there are many alternative life-styles, there really are only two; following God or following the world.  Even someone like Bob Dylan, who has been so enmeshed in the world over many years, recognized this.

The Bible teaches that worldliness is a force, a spirit, an atmosphere that is in opposition and in contradiction to all that is Godly and Christian.  Its goal is selfish pleasure, material success, and the pride of life.  It is ambitious and self-centered.  God is not necessarily denied; He is just ignored and forgotten.  We follow our Christian conscience as long as it doesn’t offend anyone in the world.

Three times Christ names Satan as the prince of this world.  And remember that he took one-third of the angels of Heaven with him when he was cast out. The world’s people are either under the influence of this world with its cunning, deception, and spell; or they are in Christ and under the direction of the Spirit.  There is no neutral ground.  The line has been drawn by the Bible.

Satan employs every device at his command to harass, tempt, thwart, and hurt the people of God.  His attacks are relentless.  Paul wrote, We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12).  Earlier in Ephesians he wrote, You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil–the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God…But, that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) (Ephesians 2:2,5)

We have not been left defenseless, helpless or hopeless.  God has given us the power to gain victory over Satan.  Paul said, despite these things, we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below–indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:37-39).  And John wrote, But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world (I John 4:4).

No matter what, God always has our back.  And together we are unbeatable.  But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve… But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD (Joshua 24:15).


4 thoughts on “You Gotta Serve Somebody (Bob Dylan 1979)

  1. Such a powerful truth in these words Ken! I am very glad for the second half of this writing. I am sensing more and more that I am called to go into the marketplace controlled by the Devil as a witness…that we are called to that marketplace knowing that the Devil shall attack but that in the going I must…we must be certain of who we serve. We must not waver in that place but we must faithfully proclaim Christ no matter what the response and we must rejoice even when the response is negative because we have been faithful to the One we have chosen to serve!


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