Monday, August 20, 2012

Devotion: Am I Used to Wearing Blinders?

"But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in darkness. They do not know where they are going because the darkness has blinded them." 1 John 2:11

Are you walking in the dark?
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I laid down on the chiropractor's table. She gently moved my head to the left, rotating almost past my shoulder. When she rotated to the right, though, my head barely made it to my shoulder. "Huh," she said. I asked her what was wrong, and she told me that I'm not getting a full rotation with my head like I should be, especially on the right side. I had never noticed. To me, it was normal for me to not look over my right shoulder, and it never occurred to me that my vision was being unnecessarily restricted. You see, over the years, and through countless injuries, my body slowly adapted to my lack of proper rotation to where it was normal for me to be...well...abnormal. It wasn't until she adjusted me that it was like blinders being removed. Suddenly, I didn't have to turn my entire body to see over my shoulder, and it sure made keeping an eye on my kids that much easier.

1 John talks about similar blinders. Satan is sneaky [see this post about that subject]. His main goal is to separate us from God. He throws a major sin in our face. We say, "NO WAY", and he backs off, but only just a little, so we are just getting a little bit of the sin instead of the whole thing. Then he adds a little more, and then a little more. Before we know it, we are knee deep in that sin we so vehemently said "NO" to before...and we are comfortable with it...and we are separated from God. For example, gas stations jack the price of gas up to 4.00 a gallon. People balk at it, and then the price is reduced 3.80. People are okay with it. Then the gas suddenly goes up to 3.98. People are upset about it. So the gas goes down to 3.92. Then, gas is suddenly 4.15. NO WAY are we paying that. So the gas is lowered to 4.00 and we are all happy with that. What we rejected just a few weeks ago is completely acceptable today. I'm not saying gas stations are the devil, but I sure am saying that Satan works the same way.

So how are we to fight against this Sneaky Satan?

First, stay as close to the Light as possible. Stay in constant contact with God. Pray always. Seriously. When you start to get angry at your kids, pray. When you are frustrated with your husband, pray. When you are feeling worthless, pray. When you are tempted to do something you know can lead down a dangerous road, pray. God cares. Read God's word daily [5 minutes, 15 minutes, or even an hour]. He wants you to constantly stay in contact with him. When you work at staying in the Light, it is so much easier to see the darkness trying to creep in.

Second, stay in fellowship with other believers. We are all on the same team [Team Jesus].God calls us to lift each other up, support each other, and to gently lead others back to the Light. 1 John 2 talks about loving others. Most definitely love the sinner, hate the sin. And if you see another brother or sister struggling, 1 John 2 also talks about making sure you work at not causing others to stumble, to fall into that darkness. Lift each other up always, and don't give in to gossip.

Third, recognize the sin immediately and get away from it. 2 Timothy 2:22 says "Run away from temptation...". This is so very important. You can recognize the sin by doing Step 1 and 2. But it's not always about just recognizing the sin; you must get away from it as quickly as possible. God knows that Satan is sneaky. He knows we can suddenly find ourselves in the middle of a sin that we never meant to get involved in. and God wants us to see the sin for what it is and to get away from it and run to Him quickly.

For example [and this is not pointing fingers...I, too, have found myself in this sin]: Read a romance novel just to pass the time. Then suddenly you're wondering why your love life doesn't match that of the characters in the book. Why isn't a simple kiss always mind-tingling, leaving you in a puddle? Then you are building resentment in your heart towards your spouse because he/she doesn't match up. You stop kissing because it's just disappointing. Now there is a rift in your marriage [albeit, a small one]. Your eyes start wandering. [this is where it stopped for me, but I know others who let it continue from here, leading to an eventual divorce]. 

Again, I'm not saying romance novels are of the devil, but anything that gets your attention off of what God has blessed you with is a sin. For me, I decided that reading those types of books were more harmful to my marriage, and I stopped reading them. If you see that you are starting to head down a dangerous road RUN AWAY. Get as far away from that little itty bitty sin as quickly as you can. Otherwise you are giving Satan a foothold. And that is how you find yourself comfortable in the dark...and separated form God.

So what about you? What kind of blinders do you have on? Are you used to wearing those blinders? Identify those little temptations and get away from them today.

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