Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Exchange Rate

Did you ever read something and have one of the AHA moments that really made you believe it should have been a DUH moment?

We know that Satan offers a poor counterfeit of every good and perfect gift that comes from God. We know that he comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But have you ever thought about what exactly he is coming to steal, kill, and destroy or what counterfeit he is offering as a replacement? If you did, you are way ahead of me because this was so obvious, my eyes have missed it more times than I can count.

Last week we talked about intentionally cultivating the Fruits of the Spirit. Now, we can't make them grow ourselves, but we can foster an environment physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually that will not hinder growth. So, if God gives us Fruits of the Spirit, does Satan have a counterpart? And if he does, wouldn't the Fruits of the Spirit God gives us be exactly what he would come after to steal, kill, and destroy?

On Day 23 of Devotions for a Healthier You, Katie Farrell writes, In order to find our way out of a tempting situation, we need to determine what is happening when we find ourselves giving in to temptation, and the first step is being able to recognize Satan's schemes. Satan works overtime to draw us away from the Fruits of the Spirt......he wants us to live with fear, doubt, stress, and anxiety.

As Gru would so aptly put it, LIGHTBULB!

Satan's prize: peace, joy, love, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control
Satan's counterfeit offer: stress, worry, anxiety, fear, doubt, manipulation, anger, envy, etc.

Satan offers fruit for sure; I just don't know that I've ever seen it that way. And the fruit that God offers us through His Spirit is wearing a huge bullseye and is coming under direct assault.

I don't know why I've missed this, but it's important. Why? Because any time any ungodly fruit should pop up, we can automatically realize that we have made an unconscious exchange, determine what we gave up and what we took in, and then trade back. AND, as if that's not all, any time temptation comes our way, we can now look at it with a cost analysis perspective. If we do a and give into our flesh, it is going to cost us b. Substitute a with anything we know we shouldn't do and b  with any Fruit of the Spirit we are about to place on a cutting board and hack the life out of with a huge knife.

Is it just me or is anyone else irritated that Satan is just that tricky?!

Now, I'm not going to say that we should all go out and by those horrid neon stickers that you can get with prices listed on them for yard-sales, but maybe if we have a particular temptation or two or ten, we might want to consider it. I mean seriously, if we are struggling with a negative self image, maybe putting a monetary symbol as our screen saver might just remind us that social media is costing us something. Or, if we have a penchant for late night eating we can put a post-it with a dollar sign on the bag of chips to realize it will come with a cost. And if our mouths are the problem, maybe we need to find some washi tape with money printed on it and put it over our mouths as a reminder.

I think it's time we stop the automatic deductions that Satan has been withdrawing from our spiritual accounts because we didn't realize we forgot to cancel after the free-trial was up. He's been given access to our hearts and minds for far too long and he just needs to be cut off.

Lord, I thank You for such a simple, tangible understanding of the fact that we are constantly making choices we don't even realize. And I praise You for the realization that at least I have been exchanging Your good and perfect gifts for far too long for things that don't fit properly but I've been parading around in. Lord, help us to see every area that we have exchanged Your truth for a lie and graciously grant us the return we need to make. We love You and ask all this in the powerful, redeeming, restoring name of Jesus. Amen.

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