Wednesday, June 20, 2012
I have a Higher Ground Fellowship class (what we call our Sunday School) of 7- & 8-year-olds. Every year at the beginning with new students we talk about distractions that would keep them from learning the Word of God. Things like bringing toys, whispering to neighbors, chewing gum and candy. We talk about the author of distractions and I ask them, "What does the devil look like?"
On my dry erase board I start drawing all the physical characteristics the children list. Inevitably they give me all the cartoon descriptions they've heard or seen: The pointy ears and horns, the goatee, angry eyes, a barbed tail and so on.
When we're done I ask, "Now if you could see through all the walls of this church building, and you could see this figure walking towards you from way down Scenic Highway, what would you do?"
I've received answers like:
"I'd run away fast!"
"I'd go get my mama or my daddy!"
"I'd pick up my chair and throw it at him!"
"I'd call 911!"
"In other words, you'd be prepared for him by the time he gets here from down the highway. Right?" I say and they all nod and excitedly say, "Yes, ma'am!"
"Boys and girls, that is exactly why he doesn't come looking like you expect him, like an ugly monster. Don't you know that Lucifer was the most beautiful angel in the Heavenly choir?" Then we go over how he was banished from heaven and has his own band of banished angels called demons.
"And he is smart! He knows what you like and what will push your buttons to get you distracted from your walk. He knows how to get you distracted from learning the Word of God. He'll come in the form of a friend who sits next to you in class and in the middle of a lesson he wants you to miss he'll say, 'Hey! Let's talk and giggle! Wanna hear a good joke?' He'll say, 'Those grapes in the grocery look so good! They have millions of them so it's OK if you just grab a few to eat right here in the store!" He'll say, 'Oh we can stay in and miss Higher Ground today and watch Cartoon Network and go outside to play instead. Just this one time won't hurt!' He comes in attractive packages to distract us. He also knows which buttons to push to get you angry. He knows you don't like your baby sister touching your DNS so he'll put it in your head that you need to push her because she's made you so angry!"
He has other distractions for adults. Think about your own distractions? What keeps you from having a church family? What keeps you from talking to your neighbor and showing him the love of Christ through you--even though he's a difficult person? Even though he doesn't live in your neighborhood (because you know your neighbor is not always someone next door)? Even though he doesn't look, speak or worship like you? What keeps you from practicing the Great Commission because you've told God, "Father, I will go where you tell me, but not over there with THOSE people."
Beloved, beware and be aware of the distractions in your life. The most successful deception of the author of such is to make you think he is not at work or does not exist.