Tuesday, April 8, 2014
The Three Little Pigs
I was recently reading this story to my preschooler, and it occurred to me that the spiritual battles we fight are a lot like this. First the darkness sends us temptations to try to get us to open the door to it. The temptations are custom-designed for each one of us. I am not especially tempted by, say, drugs. But the enemy knows full well what can tempt me, and, dangling the temptation in front of me, I know the voice, "Kristin! Kristin! Let me in!"
Thankfully, if we have gotten to the point in our spiritual walk with Christ that we would want to read and/or write a Christian blog, we have had victories over that voice. We have looked some temptation square in the eye and we have said, "Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin!" But that isn't the end of the story, because, as we all know, the enemy doesn't give up there.
"Then I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house in!" If the enemy can't get us to open up our lives to him, then he will try to destroy us from the outside. I have a friend who is a missionary to Uganda. Her family is currently here raising funds and mission awareness within the States. One Saturday evening, she posted on Facebook, "Please pray for us tonight. Our new baby is very cranky every Saturday night, which makes for a sleepy missionary mommy standing before churches on Sunday mornings to speak about God's work in Uganda." So lots of people commented that they would pray for her. The next morning she commented, "Thanks for the prayers! We all slept well last night. But then this morning our car door was frozen shut, and I couldn't get it open, and so I missed the first worship service. Hoping to make it to the later service. Thankfully, though, my husband left earlier in a different vehicle, and at least he got to that service." As a pastor's wife, that sounds familiar to me!
I have another friend who is also missionary in Africa. Two years ago her family had a horrific experience of accidentally hitting a child with their van on the road in Uganda and killing him. The little boy was the age of their own small sons, and as they carried that dead boy to his mother, it just about completely broke them emotionally as missionaries. Part of them really wanted to pack up and go home. But as they prayed they realized that to go home would be a victory for darkness. So, instead, they kept praying, God brought some clarity and hope to them, and they were able to continue in fruitful ministry there.
When we won't let the darkness in, it will fight us from without. It will huff and puff and blow against us, and I think that, in the end, this shows just what we are made of: straw, sticks, or solid brick. Just how far can the darkness push us before we cave in? If we are wobbly, if our defenses are in our own strength, in pop-psychology, in things going well, in the approval and favor of other people, in a steady job, in a healthy family, in the capacity to pay the mortgage, etc., then how are we going to stand when the darkness blows straight through all of those things and knocks them down? But if our lives have been built with the sturdy brick upon the rock of Jesus, trusting him completely, obeying him, believing in the power of the resurrection over all of the crosses in this world, then we can stand against any attack.
However the enemy approaches you today, whatever he dangles in front of you, however he blows against you, remember the lesson of our Lord Jesus: "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell- and great was its fall!" (see Matthew 7:24-27).
Praise be to God for Jesus, in whom alone we have a sure hope and a sturdy, unconquerable, eternal home.