1 Peter 5:8-10
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
"Them poor critters. You know them things always have to be on the alert don't they," was the comment from Rich, a member of our hunting party. It was the day before the Central Oregon rifle deer season and we were watching some mule deer feeding along the ridge out in the middle of a vast expanse of sagebrush. We had been talking about the low numbers of bucks we had seen that day and discussing the habitat, the harsh winters and the predators that are constantly keeping these animals on high alert. Between coyotes, cougars, poachers, hunters, winter conditions, finding food, finding water, sickness and disease a mule deer does not live a cushy life. They must be strong, they must be savvy and they must always live on high alert in order to survive.
You know, that is not totally different from the life of a Christian. In order to live well for Christ we must also be on high alert. The world, the flesh and the devil are constant danger to the heart of a Christ follower. Without our heart, without all of it, we cannot live well. We cannot love well. We cannot find our specific role that we are to play in the kingdom. And to live well for Christ can at times be....exhausting.
Take this morning as an example; I have some sweet time with Lord first thing. Then driving the kids to school, we are singing along with some Christian music in the truck and having a good morning. I get to work and say the joyful morning hello's to everyone and then I open my email. Customer complaint. A few minutes go by and then we have a problem in the plant. Then I find out a couple of employees are in a squabble. Literally an hour into my day at work and I have lost my bearing. What happened??? I go home for lunch and while talking with my wife we have a disagreement. Not a big deal but still a hassle. On my way back to work I decide to stop off and get my chainsaw fixed. I'm told it will take 2-3 weeks and probably cost $75. I end up buying the parts so I can fix it myself quicker. Like I need more to do. As the day goes on it is one thing after another and the result is a subtle loss of heart. How effective was I for Christ today? I got taken out early.
I'm not trying to over dramatize. I'm not saying that Satan sent the customer complaint. Hardly. But the effect of the world and trouble can take it's toll on you in a day. String a few days together and a subtle erosion begins to take place and we start to lose heart. Then we are susceptible.
I got an email from John Eldredge the other day. I am on his prayer team and so he sends us weekly updates on how things are going with his ministry. This is what he said in his update:
We are spent. Really poured ourselves out. It is not just the travel; it's not just an evening talk. It is maintaining the constant inward integrity and the constant walk with Jesus that allows no place to anything that would diminish our availability to His Spirit and the beauty and uniqueness of what He is bringing each day. That is....whew. Demanding.
That is how I want to live. Demanding yes. But so worth the hassle.