I said it during a church staff meeting: “I’m going to be the devil’s advocate for a minute…” As soon as it was out of my mouth, I knew whatever followed really didn’t matter. I had just discounted myself. We didn’t need to listen to an advocate of the devil. That’s not our goal.
Sure, it’s an expression that means taking a look at another perspective, especially looking at an opposing viewpoint, considering “what if.” That’s not always a bad thing. In fact, sometimes it’s smart. Considering the possibilities can help prepare us for what’s ahead, but it can also paralyze us. We can get distracted and even enticed by a different perspective that was never intended to be our focus. We can end up advocating something contrary to God’s will.
Being the devil’s advocate is never God’s purpose for us. It’s helpful to know the ways of Satan, but that’s fairly simple: he is deceptive and manipulative. God never is. When we focus on God and know how to discern truth, deception and manipulation stands out and is easily identifiable.
Maybe it’s just an expression, but it can also put us in a position in which we don’t want to be and have no business being. I’m taking it out of my language in order to keep it out of my heart.