Picture, for just a minute, being at a softball or baseball field. You choose the size – neighborhood rec team, local farm team, college, professional. Dirt, dust and sunshine. Popcorn, nachos, soda pop…and maybe even beer. Now listen….Can you hear it? The sound of the ball hitting the glove, the strike of the bat against the ball, pounding footsteps on red dirt. The chatter of the opposing team yelling out “hey batter, batter, batter….swing!” The point, of course, is to distract the batter and make him or her swing at the wrong time and strike out. Sometimes it works, most often not and a good coach will make his or her team stop. But, still it can be heard at times. “Hey batter batter…”
So, you’re wondering if my spring fever has taken over so completely that I’m fantasizing about the boys of summer? Yes! No. Well, not exactly.
I had a discussion yesterday with my best friend (who, incidentally, loves baseball and softball even more than I do!) that made me think of the chatterers. Most of us, when we reach adulthood, no longer play on a field of dreams. But, we still have chatterers in our lives. It’s different for everyone because we’re all different. But, the point is still the same – to distract us. And although it may look like people (or maybe even circumstances) distracting, the root is the same….satan.
You see, we each have a purpose. I believe that oftentimes believers are more aware of that fact, but the lack of awareness doesn’t change the truth of it. Every one of us has something to accomplish while here on this earth. God ordained it that way. He gifted us differently to reach out to others in a way only we can, with His help. The point of it should always be to lead others back to Him. Yes, even if you’re not a preacher or in the ministry, if you claim Jesus, you should be telling other folks about him and loving them for Him.
But, that ol’ Tally Bogus does NOT want you fulfilling your purpose. So, he goes about creating turmoil and mischief every chance he gets. He distracts you at every turn with whatever will work. He uses good and bad alike to shift your focus from the task at hand. He hits us where it matters. Like a clown at a circus, he does all he can to keep you from looking where God’s working. And he’s really good at it.
We’ll use me as an example. My job is as a floral manager in a grocery store. But, that’s not my purpose. My purpose is to love the folks I come into contact with. I have the extreme privilege of being with people in the most important times of their lives. I do proms and weddings, births and deaths. I help them say “I’m sorry.” “I love you.” “I’ll miss you.” “Welcome.” “Goodbye.” and so much more. In my corner, tears and laughter, love and prayers all mix together to make it the sweetest place in the store. I don’t take credit for it, it’s all Jesus. But, I’m so very thankful to get to participate. However, sometimes I get distracted by the pesky “business” part of the business. As much as I would love to only do flowers and talk to people, I have a LOT of other things to accomplish. Sometimes, I’m so focused on doing these things, in the time allotted, that I can’t love on people the way I’d like. The frustration of that can quickly drag my focus away from my purpose. Often, God gently reminds me and gets me back on track.
That’s where the, “But God” comes in. (You know those are my two favorite words!) But, God has given us the victory. And He’s given us the ability to resist the devil. If that wasn’t true, we wouldn’t have the scripture that says, “resist the devil and he will flee.” (James 4:7. Leigh Pack version. As usual, I recommend looking it up for yourself!) The thing is, even though satan is very good at what he does, he’s not really that smart. He uses the same tactics over and over, to the point that you can usually recognize his handiwork. He was so not-bright that he even tried tempting Jesus! Seriously, you’re gonna offer the world to the One Who created it!??? Not very bright, I tell ya! Still, though, sometimes we find it hard to resist him, especially when he uses the things close to our hearts to distract us.
What does he use? Well…I’m gonna throw out a list that I’ve been seeing around me lately. Troubles in marriage, with families or in the workplace. (all bad!) A big move. (yep, we’re getting personal now!). Kids! Love. Success. Wealth. Happiness. Wait….those are good, things aren’t they? Yes! And given by God! But, if you don’t put Him in the middle of it, satan can easily use it to distract you from the One who gave it.
So, what now? What if you’re reading this and my words are hitting home. Good. Recognizing it is the important first step. Give it to God. All of it. Seek to honor Him in it. And watch Him work things out in your favor.
Not recognizing yourself in this post? Just wait…your time is coming! In the meantime, come alongside someone who is struggling with this and help bear their burdens. That may be your purpose!
Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 NASB
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 NASB
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. Matthew 6:33a NASB
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:10-17 NASB
Be blessed and tell someone you love them! Oh….and Happy Resurrection Day! Be sure to tell someone that, “God’s not dead, He’s surely alive…”