Run the Race to Win
The biggest danger in most Christians’ lives is not what you think. You might guess one of the open and notorious lifestyle sins. It is true things like crime, drugs, alcohol, or promiscuity are dangerous in themselves. The thing is Christians know to avoid these pitfalls. These are obvious. You can avoid them relatively easily and feel good about yourself as a Christin. People also vary in their response to these temptations. Many people don’t struggle ever in these areas.
The real arch-nemesis is more subtle. It is also more deceptive. It comes in different packages. The only common theme being they are meant to lure you to your ruin. The true boogie man of the Christian life is simple distraction. It is your temptation to fritter away your life on the insignificant. It is wasting your holy calling on the profane mundane.
Jesus calls you to keep your eyes fixed on Him alone. It is this attention to the relationship that powers everything in the abundant Christian life. The world beckons you to spend your time on anything but Jesus. Satan will never get everyone hooked on drugs or other vices. He has been unbelievably successful in getting the world addicted to distractions.
You have been saved by God. You are reborn from a life of sin through the greatest miracle in history. God loves you and values every hair on your head. The Bible says God has good works prepared for you. You are the only way people around you may hear the Gospel. You are crucial to the Kindom of God! God Picked You to Shine You are Valued by God
So how are you spending your time as a believer in Christ? Are your eyes fixed on Jesus or are you lured away by the distractions of life?
Taking Satan’s Bait
A friend recently invited me to an introduction to fly fishing class. I learned something interesting during the presentation. Did you know there is usually no actual “bait” involved in fly fishing? There is no worm or little fish on the hook. The fish gets nothing of value out of the deal except a hook. Fly fishing is all about tricking fish to latch onto what will kill them.
The end of the fishing line holds a “fly”. It is essentially a brightly colored lure with a hook in it. It is an elaborately designed trap made to look like a real fly. The fisherman uses casting and looping of the line to make his fake “fly” look like a real one. The bright colors, excitement, and motion attract the attention of the big fat fish. If the fisherman manipulates the fly well enough, the fish winds up hooked by its own choice.
The art of fly fishing is simply deceiving a fish to willingly ingest something painful and worthless. The fish are meant to swim around and eat the food God prepared for them.
The end up tricked, hooked, and pulled away from where they were intended to flourish.
Sound familiar? Ever end up here?
That is just where the Enemy wants you.
The Wiles of the Devil
The world ensnares you with diversions much like the fly fisherman with his fish. Satan and his minions have no actual power over you. He is not God and can’t force you into sin. The Devil cannot make you do anything. He can entice you into stepping off God’s path. He can use things both good and bad to pull us away from Jesus and leave us just as hooked as the unfortunate trout. Sin Wants to Destroy You
There are no literal fishermen involved. Yet, the things of this world have just as many flashy lures as the fisherman’s tackle box. They demand our attention but have nothing of substance to them….only pain and death.
What are the distractions? It depends on the individual.
Drugs, alcohol, pornography are obvious ones but they are more easily understood. They are direct attacks. The more subtle come at you every moment of the day. You cannot escape from the assault of political theater for very long these days. Professional sports seasons never seem to end for very long anymore. The coverage of even the offseason for football has become all-consuming. Work and the desire to make money are an ever-present concern. You cannot even go to the bathroom these days without the entirety of the internet available at your fingertips. Parents are inundated with kid’s sports and activities as well as planning for their future. Many of the distractions of life are not bad in themselves. They can still greatly diminish your life in Christ if allowed to reign.
You probably have seen this demonstrated in your local restaurant or coffee place. You often see couples who are clearly dating sit across from each other. They should be gazing into each other’s eyes or giggling giddily in the early stages of relationship. They should be enjoying each other and building one another up. Instead, they barely notice the other as they stare at whatever pops up on their Twitter feed.
They are missing out on the joy and wonder of the relationship for momentary empty excitement. They are not loving each other well. They are not experiencing the awesome privilege of being loved deeply. They are chasing the colorful lure.
The Bible refers to it as dissipation. It is like something slowly slipping through your fingers. This is what an inattentive life in Christ looks like. You are sitting in Starbucks with the King of Kings. He is there ready to bless you, love you, be loved by you and give you direction. He wants a relationship with you so much He died nailed to a Cross. Yet, you are tempted to chase after the empty and easy.
What is your choice?
Check on the game? See how the other political party offended you today? Check your email or stock portfolio?
Will you allow your blessings to slowly float away like ashes on the wind?
Or will you give your Master your full attention?
There are many groups and causes that are casting out the bait and fighting for attention. They lead to waste and emptiness.
But you only have one Lord. He leads to innumerable blessings.
Have you been wasting your calling?
I have great news for you. Jesus loves you anyway. He is still there waiting in love for you to turn to Him. His mercies are new every morning. Today is the day to learn to cherish every single moment with Him!