Posts Tagged ‘barb’

I’m not much of a fisherman, but I’ve recently been thinking about fishing lures.  While many fishermen prefer live bait, certain situations call for the use of lures, which can consist of any number of different elements (e.g. rubber, plastic, feathers…) used to attract the fish.  For those who know what they’re doing, there is a whole science to deciding what elements to use for a particular application. 

The specific lure that I remember using as a kid was called a “spinner”.  It had shiny metallic pieces on it, and as it moved through the water it created a spinning motion, which resulted in little flashes of light meant to attract the fish. 

In a time of prayer, I saw a picture of a spinner, moving just below the surface of the water, with little flashes of light coming from it, and pronged hooks protruding from the end.  I felt like this picture was symbolic of the spiritual battle that we face each day.  Though we know that the enemy often comes disguised as an angel of light, we often don’t recognize the deception until after his hooks are into us.

An enemy that doesn’t have the power to overwhelm you with a direct assault must resort to special tactics to achieve the desired result.  Normally, deception and distraction are an integral part of such a strategy. 

Our enemy is a master of deception, and in Western culture we have made distraction almost an art form.  Of course, we don’t refer to it as distraction, we call it entertainment, amusement, recreation, chilling out, a sport, a pastime, a hobby, a special interest…, but regardless of what we call it, our attention is easily snatched away from the more substantial issues of life. 

I would submit that our enemy loves these pre-occupations, and that they’ve been amongst his most effective tools in facilitating moral decay within our culture.  He doesn’t have to convince someone to embrace evil, he simply needs to keep them too pre-occupied with the temporal to even ponder the eternal. 

The truth is that most people within our culture still believe in the idea of God (or a “higher power”), and of being a “good” person.  But most are too busy pursuing their own interests to commit to any sort of relationship with God, or a church community, or anyone else for that matter.  In theory, those of us who count ourselves as followers of Christ ought to be a little harder to deceive, but our predisposition towards being distracted is much the same as the cultures. 

We can spend our whole Christian walk pursuing knowledge, titles, positions, spiritual gifts, experiences, credentials, recognition…  We can champion causes we’re passionate about, and fill our calendar with church activities.  Yet we may never really come to know the person of Christ, or be used by Him in a substantial way to touch the lives of others. 

While all of these pursuits may seem virtuous and worthwhile, unless God is calling us to them, they are simply a distraction from what He is calling us to.  Given the ineffectiveness of the church in touching the world, it is likely that this is more prevalent than any of us would like to admit.

In Stephen Covey’s book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, he suggests that a person (or organization…) create what he calls a “Mission Statement”.  This statement should encompass what that person’s (or organization’s…) ultimate goal (i.e. mission) is.  

As conflicts arise, Covey suggests that they must be evaluated as to their bearing on achieving this ultimate goal.  His premise is that we spend a lot of time and energy on things that really don’t make any significant difference in achieving our over-arching mission. 

He suggests that if it isn’t going to move us toward our ultimate destination, that we shouldn’t spend a significant amount of resources on it.  For the church, it would seem as though the “Great Commission” might be a good mission statement, or maybe Jesus’ statements as to the “greatest commandment”.  Considering those examples, it is difficult to reconcile many of the things “the church” involves itself with. 

From global warming, to student loan forgiveness, to who resides in the White House, the church seems to immerse itself in conflicts, that at the very least seem useless, and in many cases are counterproductive, in achieving our eternal purposes.  If we are investing the resources of the church in areas that it’s not been commissioned for, we are depleting those resources for doing the work it has been commissioned for.

On an individual level, the distractions are even more abundant.  We can easily get caught up in the day to day struggle to raise our families, and lose sight of our higher calling.  Like Covey, the Apostle Paul encourages us to keep pressing toward the goal; he also reminds us that a good soldier doesn’t involve themselves in “civilian” affairs.  These words speak of avoiding things that will distract us from our greater purpose. 

If we don’t keep focused, something as little as the way someone looks at us, or their tone of voice, can pull us off track.  One unkind word, or interpersonal struggle is often all that it takes to make us forfeit the joy of our salvation.  A situation on the job, or an unpaid bill may be all that it takes for us to forget the hope we have in Christ.  We must understand that within these situations there is a hook that our enemy means to get into us, and we must learn not to grab hold of it. 

We’re often so quick to respond to these issues without guidance from the Lord, and then get overwhelmed by the consequences of acting under our own power.  A fish is simply driven by their instinct, and if it survives, it can be hooked over and over again with the same bait.  As believers, filled with God’s Spirit, we need to be wiser than that, and learn to take every thought captive. 

We need to recognize that our enemy is always using people, and situations in an effort to snag us, and choose not to take that bait.  We need to understand that apart from God we can do nothing, and that if He isn’t calling us to the battle, He isn’t under any obligation to equip us for it. 

As Paul said, we must press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of us.  Adding that, “One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus”.  We too must push every hindrance aside, and throw off the things which mean to entangle us, so that we might run the race that’s been marked out for us.

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