by Taylor Rogers
OK, y’all. I have a question: Have you ever had a normal, ordinary day when God speaks to you and teaches you something extraordinary?
Taylor, you mean that God speaks to us outside of church and/or religious events?
Yes! That’s exactly what I’m saying. It happened to me just last week during my annual trip to the Florida Strawberry Festival.
While I was walking down the midway, the Lord taught me a big something about a strategy that Satan uses to hinder our eyes from staying focused on Christ. I like to call it “The Carnival Midway Strategy.”
Here’s what happened. My family and I were on a mission to find the “big-kid” rides. To get there, we had to travel through the midway with all of the games. As we were walking through this game strip, the people working at the booths kept shouting at us, trying to lure us in. They were yelling things like, “Only one dollar! “Everyone gets a prize.” “Guaranteed to win!” “Pretty girl discount!” One man even said, “Just come here for a minute. You don’t even have to play.”
Guess what. I did “come here for a minute” because I was sick of them yelling at me. But that was a waste of time. It didn’t work. They kept howling and hollering.
You know what did work? You know what stopped their pestering and nagging? Looking the other way. When we stopped making eye contact with them and quit looking interested in what they had to offer, they quit trying to convince us to play their games.
Here’s the light bulb that God switched on in my brain and in my heart. Those hootin’ and hollerin’ guys working on that midway are like the hootin’ and hollerin’ demons working for Satan.
I’m talking about temptation. There are so many voices yelling at us throughout our days, offering us things that seem satisfying, thrilling, flattering and fun. But the motive of these voices is not to satisfy us, thrill us, flatter us, or distract us from the mundane things in life. The motive of these voices is to mislead us, to sidetrack us, to stall us from what God has in mind for our lives, to tempt us to turn our backs on the straight and narrow and give into what’s easiest.
You see, I wasn’t interested in playing those over-priced games or winning a jumbo stuffed teddy bear (even though I really do love those stinkin’ water guns). My goal was to find the “big-kid” rides. The voices of these carnies distracted me at first. My eyes and body wandered toward the noise, causing me to lose focus of my goal and to forget why I chose to walk down that road in the first place. But when I realized that these voices were feeding me nothing but lies, I turned away and kept searching for my goal. I made it to the “big-kid” rides.
The Bible says that the devil “was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). The devil wants to destroy us, and he attempts to accomplish that through lies and deception. When we realize that there is absolutely no truth in him — that he isn’t physically able to speak truth — then it will be easier for us not to believe the lies that he throws into our lives. It might not keep us from hearing them, but it will keep us from believing them.
James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” There’s a promise right there. There’s truth. With the Holy Spirit’s power, we can resist the devil, and he will flee from us. Don’t grant Satan opportunities to tempt you and entice you. Yes, there will still be temptations and lies, just like the carnies at the fair were still there. They didn’t just disappear once I started ignoring them. But I stopped giving them control. I stopped actually listening to their statements and comments. I looked the other way and focused on my goal.
Our eternal goal is to finish the race and to keep the faith. Don’t look toward the carnies. Don’t try to win the fuzzy stuffed animal. Keep your eyes, mind and heart centered on Christ, and the abundant, truthful life that He has for you. You will finish the race. You will keep the faith. You will be satisfied and fulfilled. You will accomplish the goal. Don’t be hindered by The Carnival Midway Strategy.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
Taylor Rogers is a 21st century twenty-something who is striving to cherish her everyday, ordinary moments in an ever-changing world.
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