In the previous chapter, Naked Under Our Clothes I addressed people allowing justification to be a reason for them to sin. In this chapter I would like to address the progression of sin.
The Bible says that “The Wages of Sin is Death”! Satan knows this and is ever so patient in his plans for your destruction. He is content to kill you slowly just as long as the end result is still your death. It has been said, “the most effective attack is the one you never see coming” and in this arena, the Devil is very methodical and stealthy!
So many times I’ve heard people say, “I just don’t know how I ended up here”, as if it were a sudden occurrence or they just all of a sudden fell in a giant hole. Truth be told, a huge majority of the time, that just simply is not the case… The one who is in the hole is only seeing the end result of a plan, long set in motion.
I used to work in the public school system with teenagers who were court ordered into a “half way house” type of program. During “rec time” I would often teach them to play chess. Once explaining the rules to the student we would begin our first game…and every time I taught a new student, I would put them in checkmate in 4 moves (called a fools mate) and win the game. There is nothing like a quick, crushing defeat to teach them about strategy and analyzing the opponent’s moves. Once they recognized that they could be defeated very quickly if they did not remain vigilant there was a different awareness and approach to the way that they played the game.
By understanding that they were competing against someone who knew more about the game than they did, they recognized that if they were ever going to defeat me, then they were going to have to incorporate a much more strategic and analytical approach to the game. If they didn’t, I would mercilessly do the same things over and over again and defeat them until they “learned” how to defend against that particular attack. Most would learn the intended lesson in short time.
Like a skilled chess player, the devil is content to devise a strategy long before defeat is manifested. Ultimately, the end goal is the crushing “checkmate” but he is a very patient and methodical opponent. He’s often willing to sacrifice a pawn if he knows it will leave a more valuable game piece exposed and vulnerable. And he watches to see if you “bite the bait” or if you are playing the game with more intentionality.
For the unintentional contenders, a fools mate may be the outcome, but he has a strategy for even the most attentive of opponents . He’s been playing this game for a long time against many formidable foes and the Devil is a skilled adversary.
The road to defeat for most, starts insignificantly enough. Small compromises in integrity, trivial allowances and virtually unnoticeable changes are where the beginning of your downfall commences. I’ve heard it said that “it’s the second glance that ties your hands”… Just a glance back at what is understood to be the “untouchable” is where it all begins.
I’ve watched this lesson in human nature with my young son, Rocky. He knows what he’s NOT supposed to touch. I’ve watched him walk past the “forbidden fruit” and eyeball it the whole time (not knowing that I’m watching his response to it). I’ve watched him reach for it and then walk away without touching it. I’ve watched him quickly touch it without grabbing it. I’ve watched him grab it without taking it. I’ve watched him take it and then put it right back. I’ve watched him take it and then hide it… It’s this progression in SMALL compromises that lead to ruin.
Addicts don’t form in an instant, families aren’t destroyed by a single action, criminals don’t “all of a sudden” decide on a life of crime and MINISTRIES don’t come crashing down in a moment… but one, small, seemingly insignificant, baby step at a time, the devil baits men and women with traps that initially have no springs. In the beginning, there is a caution and a concern that the trap will snap if they take the bait, but, when it doesn’t, the caution fades and confidence in their ability “handle” the trap grows. What they fail to see is that, the “spring-less” traps are a part of the deception to keep them from recognizing the “deadly” trap when it is set. Then, the most appealing bait is set…The devil lures with the queen, knowing that when you take the bait it will leave your king exposed…as devised, you take the bait, and Checkmate…Trap is sprung…Game Over… You Lose! Behold the CRASH!!!
“How did this happen? How did I end up here? Why God? Why?” … It’s by the failure to recognize the impact in the one “insignificant” compromise at a time…
The bible references the example of “the little foxes that spoil the vine”… the little things that get in under the radar… the enemies that appear mostly nonthreatening… These are the VERY enemies that actually bring our world crashing down!
What does your “little fox” look like? What is the small area of compromise in your life? What is your “pet sin”? The one you hide and secretly feed… The one that began with a “second glance”…
That “little insignificant pet” is the one that was strategically placed in your life to infiltrate and destroy God’s plans for you… If you’re smart, YOU’LL KILL IT NOW!
Here’s the “ace in the hole” for us. From a natural perspective, we are outclassed by our opponent. The game will be played whether we want to or not, but we are afforded a significant advantage. Although, we are expected to analyze the board and anticipate the moves of our adversary, we CAN ask our coach (who just happens to be the ONE that our opponent has never beaten) what the best move is. Ultimately, it’s our choice if we want to take His advice, and the move is ours to make, but wisdom says, “Learn from the one who KNOWS”…
In time, by listening to the coach and learning the game style and strategy of our enemy, more of OUR decisions line up with what the COACH would recommend to begin with… His strategy becomes our strategy as we learn to Think like our mentor, Play like our mentor…And WIN like our mentor…
It’s your move…
If you can dig it, say “WORD”!