We took this week as a fall break from Homeschool. It’s been nice, but I’m having a hard time being motivated to do anything. While we were staying with family over the weekend, however, I did find time to snuggle up with my favorite four year old and read… she read Berenstain Bears and I read some more of Get Out of That Pit by Beth Moore.
Chapter 3 is called “When You Slip Into A Pit.” It’s all about how you make choices that seem harmless at first, but eventually land you in a pit. We put ourselves in a pit without even meaning to. Most people don’t “mean” to have an eating disorder, an extra-marital affair, a pain-killer addiction, a massive debt… these things all start with good, maybe even pure intentions, but somewhere along the way take a wrong turn- which heads straight into a pit.
Beth Moore points out a strategy, a three step progressive plan that Satan has to slip us up and land us in the pit, in the muck, in the mire. It is this:
1. Distraction– a small distraction that becomes a big one is called a stronghold. 2 Corinthians 10:5 basically says a stronghold is anything that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. So.. anything that pulls our attention away from the Lord.
2. Addiction– a couple of weeks ago, my husband preached at the church where we got married. He recently graduated from seminary with a degree in counseling. He talked about addiction and how not many people would be comfortable calling themselves an addict, but the truth is we all struggle with addiction- in the Christian world, we call it idol worship- giving our affection, time and efforts to anything other than the Lord is idol worship.
3. Destruction– this is Satan’s end goal. He doesn’t just want to hurt us or trip us up… he wants to DESTROY us!
If you’re a Christian, you have a built in alarm system. The Holy Spirit is in us, and if we don’t quench Him He’ll tell us early on when we’re headed for trouble. He’ll also tell us whether to be careful right where we are or bail out all together.
Read that last sentence again… to stay put and be careful or to bail out all together..some situations need to be abandoned. Don’t fool yourself or justify your actions in the name of ministry… abort the plan. Let’s say you’re volunteering for something at church and getting chummy with one of the men who is helping who is NOT your husband. All of the sudden you find yourself spending more time with him, enjoying his company, “harmlessly flirting,”.. abort! Run away! It is not worth ruining your marriage and breaking your vows!
Or.. an example a little closer to home for me… we had a neighbor who would frequently… like multiple times a day come to our door asking for money, pain medicine, food, my phone… at first I didn’t mind. I wanted to help the family. I wanted to share Jesus with them. I thought if I turned them away or said no, they would have a bad view of Christianity. After a few months of this daily routine, I found myself hating her. I hated every time I would hear a knock at the door. I wouldn’t let the kids play outside. I closed the shades and turned off the lights and hid. I would blame the neighbors if something was missing from our house or something was wrong with our car. I found myself in a pit of bitterness. We sought wisdom and were told over and over again to set boundaries… to say no.It became clear they were only interested in what they could get from us… when we started saying no, they soon moved on.
Another way you can sometimes recognize Satan at work is that you begin to feel backed into a corner… It’s ironic Satan tries to sell us the philosophy that God wants to squelch us and confine us and that, like Him, we should be able to do whatever we want… Satan promises wide- open spaces, but then he backs us into a pit.
I feel like that sums up a lot of how I saw God in the last couple of years. I was so mad about having to leave my comforts and follow my husband to seminary. I saw it as God trying to squelch me. Even a couple of months ago, I asked my husband how much more God was going to do to squash us in the area of money (we had just lost our second car and were going to have to be a one car family for a while). My husband told me not to ask that question because he doubted I really wanted to know the answer.
Instead of having a pity party when things don’t go my way, I really should be saying:
If I should say, “my foot has slipped, ”
Your lovingkindness, O Lord, will hold me up.
When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Your consolations delight my soul.
Psalm 94: 18- 19
Contrary to what Satan would have you believe, God doesn’t want to squelch or squash you. He wants to console, love and build you up. His ways are not our ways and don’t make sense all the time… but really… the Lord is the only one who can be trusted 100% of the time.
I highly recommend that you read this book and not just go on my thoughts.. what stands out as important to me may not be what stands out to you.