Devil is Deceptive as Always

The devil is unbelievably clever. For some time now I've been frustrated with my spiritual life. I don't feel like I'm growing, although I feel like I think and learn more about God everyday. That seems incongruous to me and is extremely troubling. Then today at church we had an interesting sermon on "God Bless the USA." Let me just say when I saw that topic in all its PowerPoint glory I was not thrilled. Another lesson on why America is apparently God's chosen nation was not what I longed to hear.

Over the course of the sermon something happened. I realized that I was getting frustrated over the wrong things. As my preacher laid out how the prophets had great love for their country and people, and I reflected on thoughts I heard earlier from Jacob's Well about how the Bible is not wholly devoted to the afterlife, I realized that I had been overly critical. Augustine's Confessions then slapped me across my face as I listened to his earnest yearnings on knowing and understanding God.

That's when it occurred to me that over the past few months I have lost my focus. I have become more concerned with petty issues of what is taught in church, how people interact in our class, dating, etc. and no longer was earnestly seeking God. Sure I could tell you how American theology is a little confused over why God "chose America", or perhaps what's wrong with how my church does things, but that gets me no closer to God. The devil had tricked me yet again!

You see, sometimes we get worked up and have righteous indignation over the wrong things. Or at least I do. We get frustrated with our churches because they are not meeting our spiritual needs. We even gossip about people in our classes, or we decry the liberal left for their wayward ways. Yet when we discuss these things we consider them of the uptmost importance and can go on for hours, days, even weeks with great religious fervor trying to solve these issues. Instead our focus should be on knowing and God and better serving Christians and non-Christians alike.

So here is hoping towards a renewed focus. I hope to focus less on being critical (always hard for someone who thinks a lot and reads a number of random books that have a critical bent), and more on truly understanding and feeling the love of God. It will be tough, but a worthwhile endeavor. I'm on to you devil!


Josh Y. said...

Blake! I like your post. I have recently been through a similar situation and came to a similar conclusion. In that, I felt like my spiritual life was going nowhere. My present answer (the reason I say present is because that problem seems to be answered in more and more amazing ways each time it hits me) which struck me while preparing a devo for my teens, was that I needed to be willing to give up what was most important to me for Christ. Man that's hard! In other words, my focus needs to be in the right place.

Kari said...

CS Lewis talks about this in Screwtape, too. It's a good point. It's not really about sin, but seperation from God. Anything to take your mind from it's focus is enough to provide a foothold. He talks about if you can't cure a man from church-going, at least get him to find a church that "suits" him, therefore making him a critic where God just wants him to be a pupil.
I hear that one. ;)