Thursday, June 19, 2014

It is summer--Praises be to Papa-God!--and I have taken over St. Michael's desk this morning while he's on the golf course and Grand-boy and Grand-diva are at Vacation Bible School this fine Tuesday morning.  (For this week each summer, Casita 422 is known as "Camp Casita," where grandbabies come to spend the week with Papa and Jaja, go to VBS in the mornings, and have wild adventures with Jaja--moi--in the afternoons.)

I've semi-connected (I am ADD, y'know) with to participate in their summer Bible study, I Am Loved.  One of their study methods is to "SOAP" Bible passages that we read.  This is involves 1) writing out the day's focus passage ("S" is for Scripture), 2) observing (that's the "O") as much as I can about the passage (who wrote it? Who is the intended audience? What words stand out to me?, etc.), 3) determining how Papa-God desires to speak to me through this passage and how I can apply ("A") it to my life, and 4) praying (yup, there's the "P") over the passage--praying Papa's words back to Him, asking that it speak to me and work in my heart as the Spirit leads and directs.  

Pretty cool, huh?  So I thought I'd use my SOAP reflections as a catalyst for some long-overdue writing.  (Oh, I've been writing, sweet peeps, just not here, and, truth be told--ALWAYS, please!--just not enough.) Just giving you a heads-up on the format . . . okay, here we go!

"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour " (1 Peter 5:8).

Paul is writing to--WHOOPS!--Peter is writing to Jewish Christians who've been driven out of Jerusalem and "scattered" (as seeds to be planted, according to the Greek) throughout Asia minor. It's encouragement written for not only them but for all of us Jesus followers. (Second observation: I need to remember that Paul did not write the entire New Testament!  My bad!)

Satan is our enemy. Yes, we know that. In fact this is one of those verses so well known and oft-quoted that if we're not careful, our brains might disengage from the depth of its truth and switch to automatic pilot--blah, blah, blah; yeah, I know this one; c'mon folks, tell me somethin' I don't know already--and take its message for granted. But if I stay focused, asking Papa to give me fresh spiritual eyes and ears this morning, the first thing this metaphorical description reminds me of is that Satan is no pussycat. Like a "roaring lion," he is not interested in becoming anyone's domesticated pet--he cannot be tamed, and he will do what lions in the wild do: He will stalk his prey, waiting for the right moment to make his move, and then attack with one purpose in mind--to destroy. I must never forget that.

I can't help but shift right on into Application here because--dang!--I've just been smacked right in the face with the realization of how often I've foolishly thought I could "tame" this big cat. Whoa! 

Truly, how many times have I thought that I could "manage" something--make it my "pet"--when I should have seen for what it was:"wild and dangerous" and certainly, for all my foolish bravado, absolutely beyond my ability to take for a simple walk around the block. (Think about it, even a trained lion-tamer uses a whip, a stick, or a chair to maintain a certain distance between himself/herself and the animal in the cage. What in the world made me think I could put a collar on the darn thing and take it for a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood?) 

Sin. Yup, how many times have tried to make a personal pet of it?  Tried to play just "a little bit" with it?  Thought, on my own, that I could tame it.  Anything not to have to see it for what is was--for what it is--something that stands ready to pounce and devour me.

No. The devil is not my playmate, and his schemes are not to be my play-things. Not if I intend to remain whole and healthy.  Not if I am to be holy. Not if I am to be "the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21).  

Whew.  I didn't expect to get all that out of that short, yeah-yeah-I-know-all-that passage this morning. 

Spirit, give me Your eyes to see the enemy for who and what he is.  Make me sensitive to the seriousness of his schemes and their resulting destruction if I am not alert and steadfastly vigilant in my watchfulness.  In those areas where I have let my guard down, stir me to fresh awareness that leads not only to a sober understanding of the danger of thinking that I can play with my pet sins and remain unharmed; help me to let go of any illusions I have of being able to stand firmly and safely on my own, apart from You. Instead, give me a heart's desire for complete obedience to and reliance on You . . .  Amen.


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