I am sitting at a Cracker Barrel on an early Friday morning and can see various families heading out for Spring Break retreats and respites, Sherriffâ€™s deputies huddled around a table laughing over various experiences in their line of duty, and â€˜localsâ€™ beginning their day. As the sun creeps over the ensemble of cars in the parking lot another day begins with its unknown opportunities, life changing surprises, and its mundane workday. It is this potential for change (in me and in the world), this unknown future that drives me to the Father and His holy book. It is not one of fear, but of an excitement that I donâ€™t want to miss the potential opportunity.
Â Internal Struggles
With an upcoming mission trip to India and an awareness that there is a huge potential to be of great service to the Lord there, I am becoming ever more aware of my depravity and sinfulness. I am not sure if it is the Holy Spirit desiring to cleanse me and make me more useful to the Father or if it is Satan trying to keep me from even trying.
At the age of 37 I am keenly aware of my sin nature, how and where I tend to drift and am very alert to my weaknesses. That doesnâ€™t mean that I always remain strong to fight against these weaknesses, but I know who I am as a person, a part of the fallen human race. I have the faint shadow of wisdom to know that my sin nature destroys and it vanishes as smoke when I display my lack of wisdom and depravity and listen to that still small voice and heed itâ€™s foolish instructions.
Â A Walk Through the Garden
If we go back to the Garden at the beginning of time, we discover it was Satanâ€™s desire to disrupt what God had established. Chaos was brought into perfect order, and disruption and death were cast upon peace and eternal life. Everything changed when Adam and Eve fell and sin entered the world.
1. Â Satan desires to use our empty cravings and vain self-deceit to keep us off topic and focusing our lives on the wrong things. We are to love Christ completely and with our whole heart, yet many times we love ourselves and become gods in our own minds.
Genesis 3: â€œNow the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, â€œDid God actually say, â€˜You shall not eat of any tree in the gardenâ€™?â€
What God said was that they could eat of any tree (freedom) except for oneÂ tree (limitations). Satan wanted Eve to think that God was keeping something from her, or taking her freedom away.Â Christ left heaven, took on the flesh of man, and died as our substitute. He then commands for us to follow His example, yet we often times could care less about people and their eternal destinies. When we focus on our own navels, we spend all our money on ourselves, we spend all our time in our own self-adventures, and we tend to stay comfortable in all things.
2. Satan desires to feed our wicked desires with constant temptations so that we increasingly lose potential to do great things for Christ. When we sin, and continue to sin, and have decades of sinful behavior our impact and ability to serve Christ becomes greatly diminished.
Genesis 3:4-5Â â€œBut the serpent said to the woman, â€œYou will not surely die. 5Â For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.â€
It is this knowledge of sin that destroys us. We chase after it with all our hearts and lean constantly on our own understandings of the world around us.
I often times feel that I am in a fog or a deep sleep. My anesthetized soul drags through life as if coming out of a horrible surgery.Â Awake and yet half-asleep. There are moments when it is as though I am coming back to being spiritually awake, only to slide back into a deep slumber of cold callousness. Â Days drag on to weeks, weeks roll on to months, and months to years â€“ this constant sleeping and moments of awakening. Always asking, â€œLord, have I slept too long to be of any use to you and your kingdom?â€
3. Â Satan desires to make us doubt our Creatorâ€™s love for us.
Genesis 3:6 â€œSo when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.â€
In one conversation Satan was able to persuade Adam and Eve to rebel against their Creator. They were perfect, in a perfect world, and having a perfect relationship with God. Every time we take a bite of the forbidden fruit we doubt Godâ€™s love for us, and make ourselves gods in our own minds. We say to ourselves, â€œI know what is better for me, and what I should know, not God.â€
I know my gentle Fatherâ€™s response is always â€œDrew, letâ€™s go â€“ wake up, there is much to do.â€ He loves us enough to make us apart of His plan for the redemption of humanity and the created order.Â Whether that is a â€œbig roleâ€ or â€œsmall roleâ€ â€“ it is hard to tell. It seems to be based on His sovereignty (putting people where He sees fit) and our willingness to turn from sin and being holy.
The Great Adventure
On my trip to India I am taking my camera, every sermon I have ever written, and a heart that desires to be greatly used by the Father. My prayer is that I may be spiritually awake to see what is going on around me, and have the wisdom to hear His voice. Who knows whatâ€™s going to happen, who knows what we will be able to accomplish in His name. Â This is the adventure, this potential to be of great use for the Lord.