2 Peter 1:8 For if these qualities (faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, love) are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A friend recently asked me a very provocative question:
If you were your worst enemy, how would you take yourself out?
WOW. I was stunned and had to gather my thoughts to even answer. And then, a terrifyingly clear picture of the slow decline towards stagnation came to mind as the all too familiar scene plays out...
It's been a long day of teaching the kids and keeping the house running smoothly but I realize I slept in this morning and didn't read my Bible. I really should crack it open but a quick check of my e-mail inbox lures me. Ellie walks in and says she needs my help and instead of laying aside Hotmail, I lay aside an opportunity to pour into my daughter. "You deserve a little time to yourself" I hear whispered in my ear and my weary heart drinks in the justified respite. Dinner rolls around and the slide towards checking out of fruitful engagement in my family's life gains momentum as I pour myself a glass of wine. Just one, I reason, no big deal... (AND IT ISN'T a big deal if my heart is in a place of worshipping Christ and not on the slippery slope towards worshipping my comfort - my desire to check out this evening) I go to bed early, figuring I can start fresh in the morning but knowing somewhere deep inside that I am far from Jesus. For an evening, I've taken myself out of the game. I'm not playing offense, I'm not playing defense - I'm sitting in the locker room with a towel over my head.
I do have an Enemy that is bent on my destruction and desires to sideline me. He is crafty and cunning but he is not all powerful. He is already defeated. The truth is - I AM my own worst enemy. By buying in to my smooth self-talk that is loaded with excuses and justifications, I am rendered ineffective and unfruitful for the Gospel. My husband likes to point out to me that regardless of the means by which I find myself stuck - Satan or Self - it is my responsibility to fight my way out. If Satan has launched a full-scale assault of lies and accusation on my soul - I must cling to Truth and grasp the Sword to engage the battle. If my own sin and folly, I must repent and turn my face towards Jesus. Either way, I am not off the hook. I must continue entrusting myself to the One who will save me, redeem me and restore me to a place of fruitful, effective knowledge of Jesus' sufficiency.
How are YOU taken out of the Game?