Wake up. Pack lunches. Take the kids to school. Exercise. Do laundry. Take a few minutes to catch up on friends’ Facebook updates. Pick up kids from school. Supervise homework. Take kids to sports practices. Make dinner. Clean up kitchen. Put kids to bed. Collapse on couch for an hour of TV. Say a quick prayer (and I mean quick). Go to bed.
Wake up and do it all over again.
Oh sure, we’ll mix it up a bit. Run some errands here and there. Carve out a few minutes to catch up with our bestie. Maybe devote 30 whole minutes to our Bible study homework IF we’re meeting the next day. Throw in a little, ok a lot, of yelling, and maybe a 20 minute nap (Who am I kidding? No mom has time for a 20 minute nap.) But all the same, it’s like our life is stuck on auto pilot and we’re living out a real-life Groundhog Day scenario. At least I am.
Meanwhile, Satan’s kicking back in his lair, feet propped up, catching up on old episodes of the Vampire Diaries on Netflix while we voluntarily self-destruct.
Satan need not exude the effort to tempt us with murder, mayhem, violence, stealing, pornography, adultery, drugs or any other evil depravity lurking in the dark shadows. Matthew 4:1 says “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted.” For 40 days and 40 nights the Devil taunted him to no avail as Jesus clung to the Word of God. Unlike Jesus, we don’t require Satan to put in that much work. We willingly hand him the keys to our souls in the form of busyness, stress, exhaustion, apathy and worldly desires.
Truth is Satan doesn’t comingle with most us in the immoral, ugly, secret corners of life. Satan is in the details. He’s crafty. He’s scheming. He’s calculating, and, most of all, he’s subtle. Just as he duped Eve into desiring the apple, truth is he’s duped us into an over ambitious, overscheduled, pleasure seeking superficial, world-loving, purposeless, robotic existence. And we think we love and desire, even need, every second of it. And that’s the biggest, most devious, most ingenious charade that Satan has perpetrated on the universe, on us. We’re on the highway to hell and we don’t even realize it.
Every day that I watch TV instead of opening my Bible, Satan wins. Every night that I go right to sleep instead of praying, Satan rests easy. When I miss church to sleep in, Satan rejoices. Every time I let a swear word slip, Satan smiles. When I quarrel with my spouse, Satan is at peace. When I pass judgment on the way friends and family live, Satan is satisfied. When I keep my mouth shut, when someone bad mouths my Savior, Satan is delighted. When I allow the tragedies of this life to overwhelm and depress me, Satan laughs. When I worry the days away, Satan is pleased. And when I do all of this in front of my children, Satan goes on vacation. His work is done.
If I’m not careful, I think I may just get to the end of the long-in-years earthly life I desire and realize I haven’t lived my life at all. That I may very well miss out on the joyful abundance, the meaningful commission that God would have for me. And worse yet, this sort of going through the motions, trying to keep up with the Joneses existence is quite possibly a contribution as Satan’s inadvertent foot soldier.
HOLD THE PRESSES! This is not the way I want my story to be written! But I must will my thoughts into actions. I cannot wish the life God wants for me into existence. It’s not going to effortlessly manifest. We have to work for it. Fight for it. We need to be intentional Christians or it’s not going to happen. We will just comfortably slip back into the world’s routine. Wake up. Take care of the kids. Work. Relax. Go to bed. Do it all over again and again and again. Unless. . .
We help each other. We worship together. We serve together. We challenge each other. We hold one another accountable. Proverbs 27:17 says, “as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
We need to change our relationships. We need to change the way we interact. We need to go deeper. What if we texted our friends every day and encouraged them to read their Bible. What if instead of gossiping about Jane’s divorce over lunch, we encouraged one another in our own marriages. What if instead of critiquing Mary’s parenting style over drinks, we offered our support to one another as mothers. What if instead of spending our extra cash on designer clothes and pedicures, we bought groceries for a hungry family. What if instead of a playdate at the park, we volunteered with our kids at a homeless shelter. What if instead of correcting our kids we complimented them. What if instead of nagging our spouse, we pampered him. What if instead of fishing for success or popularity, we became fishers of men.
I suspect IF we did our lives would overflow with joy and abundance, and we might quite possibly change the world.
Life was not meant to be about getting married, having kids, buying a house, becoming a CEO. Life was not intended to be a solitary experience where sink or swim we’re on our own. But we know all these things. We have the knowledge. What we need to do is practice what we preach. Put words into action. Immerse ourselves in our faith. Kick Satan to the curb.