Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Second Time Around

I remember learning to roller skate. My sister held my hands as I skated along the sidewalk. I learned how to move my feet and maintain balance that day. The next time I skated, it was a much easier process, and I didn't need anyone to hold my hands.

Have you ever noticed that once you do something for the first time, it's easier to do the second time?

I was terrified the first time I had a speaking part in a play. My hands and knees were shaking, my mind raced a hundred miles a minute, and my stomach was in knots. But after that first time, each subsequent time became easier. I became a little less nervous, and a little more bold.

I read a passage in Luke a couple of weeks ago, and since then, have been reminded of it several times and have come across it in other places. It's one of those passages that I've read and heard many times, but felt it didn't apply to me. I've never stopped to give it my full attention until a couple of weeks ago. Jesus was speaking:

"When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first." (Luke 11:24-26, NIV)

Most of us don't give a second thought to evil spirits, but according to the Bible, they do exist. And as Christians, evil spirits do not dwell within us, but they can {and do} surely persist in attempting to make us miserable. For if Christians are caught up amidst sinful behavior, we are usually not sharing Christ. Think with me in terms of sinful strongholds. Do you have one? What is it?

Say, for instance, you've acted out in sinful behavior. The first time you acted out, it was scary, yet a little exciting. However, you recognized your wrong, and cleaned up your act. You attend church every Sunday, facilitate a Bible study, volunteer at a local shelter, and by all appearances, you are a shining example of a Christian. But if you're not being transformed by the renewing of your mind with His Word, you have a void that is an easy target and a stronghold that you may or may not recognize. You may know your weakness, but assume you can handle temptation. However, you don't imagine that temptation could return with a vengeance much stronger than you. Soon you might find yourself amidst the same sinful behavior as before with its grip on you much tighter than you ever thought. You never realized how easy it would be to give in a second time or how much destruction your actions could cause the second time around.

Doing good and behaving well are great for appearances, but won't satisfy our innermost cravings. Only Christ can satisfy our deepest longings. It is only when we dwell in Him that we are assured a refuge from evil.

No comments:

Post a Comment