So, I’ve been thinking lately about the phrase:“The devil doesn’t come dressed in a red cape and pointy horns, he comes as everything you’ve ever wished for.” And how it can be interpreted and applied.
In my life, I’ve noticed that most of the time, the devil uses my own laziness and tiredness against me, in order to undermine my relationship with God. Merriam Webster defines sloth as a : disinclination to action or labor, b : spiritual apathy and inactivity. I think this is my biggest struggle in the “seven deadly sins” category. And boy, can I tell you why this is considered a deadly sin.
As a full time student, a full time worker, a girlfriend, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a granddaughter, and all of the many other hats that I put on on a daily basis, I sometimes get overwhelmed. Due to my own introverted nature (and clinical depression), I have a really difficult time managing my own energy level with all of the responsibilities and needs of those around me, and the own stress that comes from my work and school. There are days I don’t feel like even getting out of bed. My biggest struggle is motivating myself to continue to love people even when I’m exhausted, and when I don’t feel like I have enough energy to do the things I need to do, not mention give more energy away in order to freely love those around me who need it. But, in the past few weeks, I have noticed a huge difference in my energy level when I start my day off with a quiet time with Jesus.
Call it a placebo effect, call it whatever you want. But I truly believe that when I begin my day by getting into the love of Jesus, and taking energy from him, I don’t have to be worried about how I’m going to feel after work, or if I’ll have enough energy to love my sister when she vents about all the horrible girls at her school. I also have so much less insecurity, fear, and worry about how others view me, probably because I am already grounded and secure in the love of the One who gave it all for me.
In the Bible, we are repeatedly told that Satan is a liar, and the king of deception. We are told to “stand our guard” against the devil, because he is constantly looking for someone to tear down, or some new way to pull us from God. For example:
1 Peter 5:8
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. “
2 Corinthians 11:14
“And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”
2 Corinthians 4:4
“In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
In my life, 2 Corinthians 11:14 is the most accurate and applicable. Satan comes to me, disguised as “self-care” or “self-help,” whispering in my mind words that not only drain my energy, but encourage my lethargy. But when I listen to what Jesus has to say, instead of that slick-tongued serpent, I realize that I don’t have to worry about being alone, or having enough energy to work in the kingdom. All I have to do is be present. Jesus will do the rest. His energy is enough for me. His love is enough to not only fill up the tired, broken, and disinterested parts of my heart, but to overflow my heart enough to teach me to give away my love, my energy, and my heart freely; even though it will sometimes get rejected, or will get hurt in the process.
Only by giving Jesus my complete heart will I have enough love to love those around me freely.
Only by giving Jesus my complete heart can I ignore the devil’s sly comments and encouragements to sleep instead of becoming a part of God’s hands and feet.
Only by giving Jesus my complete heart can I have enough energy to bravely face every day, even on the days that I am broken hearted, tired, or just discouraged.
My goal for this week is to truly feel and abide in David’s words in Psalm 23:5 “My cup runneth over.”
I can choose to be energized by the Holy Spirit and abide in Jesus’ overpowering and energizing love. I will not let the devil use “sloth” against me, or convince me that I am too tired to give my attention and my heart to God for even a small moment.
I encourage you to fight against the ways that the devil pulls you away and cleverly disguises himself in your life! Watch closely, friends, for he is constantly on the prowl. Put on your armor every day, and be ready to fight the good fight.