You CAN Fool Me
Recently I made my annual pilgrimage to the cathedral dedicated to all things outdoors, the Bass Pro Shops. This store is in Mesa. To the best of recollection, I have never purchased anything at the store other that something to eat. Nonetheless, I am fascinated by the stockpile of merchandise.
Here’s the description of the store from their website.
“Here, we offer 170,000 square feet of outdoor excitement including the area's largest selection of quality gear for fishing, hunting, camping, boating and marine.
Bass Pro Shops also offers equipment for hiking, backpacking, outdoor cooking, kayaking, golfing and more. Shoppers will find outdoor apparel for men, women and children, along with a fine selection of outdoor, casual and athletic footwear. A gift and nature center serves up a wide variety of outdoor-related items from lamps and dishes to bird feeders and furniture. Our shooting gallery and archery range are sure to please young and old alike.
Although they offer tens of thousands of items, I wouldn’t invest a dime in any of them – well, maybe a humming bird feeder. Yet, I am irresistibly drawn into this unfamiliar world. On this trip I noticed something. Much of the merchandise sold for hunting and fishing was based on the item’s ability to be deceptive. I saw materials used for building and stocking duck blinds. Camouflage clothing and decoys were designed to provide the user with a clear advantage over their prey. About the time I had this revelation, I turned the corner and saw rows and rows of fishing lures. Each lure was customized, designed for an exact environment, and was tailor-made to attract a specific type of fish.
The past few weeks at Redemption Church we have been studying Ephesians Chapter 6. As Paul closes the book of Ephesians he directs our attention to the ongoing battle we face against the “schemes of the devil.” As believers, we battle against (Paul uses that word, against, 6 times in verses 11 and 12) the devil, Satan and his army. The scripture teaches us Satan attacks us posing as an angel of light, a roaring lion and/or a subtle serpent. That last portrayal, a subtle serpent, is what I thought of when I saw all those lures at Bass Pro Shops.
James uses that imagery of enticement when he explains temptation and sin. James 1:14, from the NIV, “Each one is tempted when he is dragged away, enticed and baited [to commit sin] by his own [worldly] desire (lust, passion).” Or “The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us one to the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust.” -The Message.
The bible frequently warns us to be alert; be on guard, because the adversary is seeking to destroy you. This is a real and deadly threat we face every day.
After warning us Paul gives us an action plan; a defense strategy. Ephesians 6:13-18, “ Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.” -The Message
Here’s your homework assignment: Grab a pen and paper and make a list of the “weapons” God has made available to you. A hint, it will be helpful if you check other translations, such as the NASB. After that, take some time and map out a strategic plan for how you can maximize your arsenal to combat the enemy.
It is war.
“Talk” again soon.