According to Wikipedia, “The gateway drug theory (also called gateway theory, gateway hypothesis and gateway effect) states that the use of less deleterious drugs can lead to a future risk of using more dangerous hard drugs or crime.” I think sin is a lot like this. Satan uses a “gateway sin” strategy to lure us into situations where we never expected to find ourselves. I’ve observed that the strategies of Satan are fairly consistent, merely variations on a theme. His goal, much as it was in the Garden of Eden, is to only slightly blur the lines for us. He doesn’t try and whitewash the entire canvas.
We see this strategy most obviously played out in some of our holiday celebrations. At Christmastime, if the devil can get your children and you focused on the seemingly harmless and even positive notion of Santa Claus, he will have turned your eyes away from celebrating the birth of Jesus. This is where most people would backpedal and offer the standard, “It’s not that I’m against Santa Claus” line, but the fact is I am very anti-Santa Claus. In fact I am anti-everything that distracts us from the mission of Jesus Christ.
Satan uses the same strategy at Easter. Instead of celebrating the most important and miraculous day in all of history, we host Easter egg hunts and sit our children on the lap of a giant rabbit. Never mind that Easter is also the celebration of the ultimate defeat of Satan. Instead of remembering and sharing this fact with others, we bemoan the fact that we can’t find a parking place at our Easter brunch. Little pleasures in our lives that we are quick to dismiss as inconsequential are actually tools Satan uses to ever so slightly alter our focus. And here’s the worst part: the more he successfully gets us to indulge in these behaviors, the more open we will be to more impactful and grievous sins.
My fear is that you will read this post and write me off as on old-fashioned, legalistic, and overly rigid person. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am simply a man who has lost too many battles over the years and has taken the time to analyze why. Solomon said that there was nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9); the same is true for the tactics of Satan. He’s still using the same tricks he used in the garden. He doesn’t have to tell a “whopper” of a lie; a slight distortion of the truth is all he needs to gain a foothold.
If all you take away from this blog is that Santa Claus and the Eater Bunny are bad, then I have failed to convey this simple truth: Satan uses very slight distortions, the smallest of distractions, to lead us down a road of ever increasing danger and sin. We are not often tempted by wrongs that are difficult to rationalize. It’s the insidious little temptations that we get suckered into that lead us to depths of sin we would never have imagined ourselves capable. What little lie is Satan feeding you? The subtlety is the gateway.