Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Galatians 6:1
Thirty three years ago this fall I remember running in Pittsburgh’s Schenley Park on a beautiful day while in college. I still remember passing by a gorgeous oak tree along the path. So taken with its beauty, I looked over my shoulder to get a double-take after I had passed.
I stopped dead in my tracks.
The gorgeous tree was hollow.
This event occurred decades ago and I still remember.
When my husband and son brought back this pair of pictures from their camping trip this summer, the memory of my hollow oak tree experience in college came flooding back.
It is possible to look great on the outside–so great that the world does a double-take–but be a hollow shell.
I have lived that kind of life as a Christian — working hard for God on my own strength. Those days are behind me now but the lure to return to my old ways remains a battle that I fight every day.
Last week I spoke about the sins of other Christians, so this week it seems fair to speak about mine.
I have been meditating on 1 Peter 5:8-9: Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
I have not identified any current “big” sins in my life where Satan has a lot of room to mess with me. However, anyone who can voice such a sentence is susceptible to thinking he or she is okay with God when they are not. On my morning commutes this week I pondered the question, Where can I still be gotten? If I am not on high alert, where can the devil still get me and render me useless for Christ? I thought of a few areas that are being addressed, but this one can be published for public consumption.
I am prone to being a workaholic.
Someone once said to me, Laurie, you are one of the few people who can come up with an idea and make it happen. Most people can only come up with the idea or execute an idea, but you can do both.
Humbling, fabulous compliment. But it’s dangerous.
- I am certain that I have had ideas that were not from God but I executed them anyway.
Translation: While I was doing something very well, God wanted me to be doing something even better.
- I am certain I have had ideas that were from God but executed them in my own strength.
Translation: While being fueled by my own self-effort instead of Holy Spirit power, my efforts did not produce eternal results.
So incredibly sad.
Slipping into being a workaholic is one of the areas where I can be gotten by Satan and rendered useless for God…
- executing ideas God did not intend me to execute
- executing ideas in my own strength instead of His
…while the world cheers me on because I look so productive and useful in either scenario.
A person addicted to anything is rendered useless for God when engaged in his or her destructive behaviors, but the world does not treat being addicted to work as seriously as other issues.
- Workaholics get some family griping but they don’t get sent to rehab.
- Workaholics can ignore the needs of family but still salvage a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day from a checked off to-do list.
As a teacher, I am capable of ignoring my dear son for an entire evening while I grade papers but still go to bed having pleased 125 students with a speedy response to their assignments.
Very tricky turf to navigate. Very tricky indeed.
I do not have any large followings on social media, but 75 people have re-pinned:
I’m too busy working on my own grass to notice if yours is greener.
So I guess I am not alone in contending with the responsibilities on my own shoulders.
Folks, I can honestly say that I am too busy working on my own holiness to concern myself with evaluating yours. There is an all-out battle for each of our lives and it takes all my energy to keep my own life effective for Christ so the devil gets no room. Satan does not want to nibble at our toes or tease us. He wants to devour.
Being the crafty creature that he is, he finds tiny areas in which we will give him room and then he expands them for a full-blown takeover if we let him.
I don’t want to give Satan one molecule of my time or life so I must stay on high alert about my own sin life and also make sure that when I speak to others about their issues, my heart reflects the gentleness and personal accountability of Galatians 6:1: …you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.
Anyone care to share one of your lures? We are all in the exact same battle for our lives. No shame.
Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
1 Peter 5:9
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