Recently, I came across a compelling story that I want to share with you in its short form.
Satan called a worldwide meeting. The huge crowd hushed as he stepped up to speak. “We can’t keep Christians from going to church. We can’t keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth. We can’t keep them from conservative values, but we can do something else.” He paused. Everyone listened.
“We can keep them from forming an intimate, abiding experience in Christ. If they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken. So let them go to church, let them have their conservative lifestyles, but steal their time so they can’t gain that experience in Jesus. This is what I want you to do. Distract them from gaining hold of their Savior and maintaining a vital connection through their day!”
“How shall we do this?” shouted his angels. “Simple. Keep them busy, busy, busy in the nonessentials of life and invent unnumbered schemes to occupy their minds,” he answered.
Tempt them to spend and spend, then borrow and borrow.
“Keep them from their children. Convince the wives to go to work and the husbands to work six and seven days a week, 10 to 12 hours a day, so they can afford their lifestyles. Tell them they are doing it FOR their children. Hah! That one works well. As their families fragment, their homes won’t offer an escape from the pressures of work.
“Overstimulate their minds so that they cannot hear ‘the still small voice.’ Entice them to play the radio or DVD player whenever they drive, to keep the TV, DVDs, MP3s, iPods, cell phones, text messages, and CDs going constantly in their homes. This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ.
“Fill their homes with magazines and newspapers. Pound their minds with news 24 hours a day. Invade their driving moments with billboards. Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, sweepstakes, catalogs, and every kind of newsletter and promotions with free products, services, and false hopes.
“Even in their recreation, let them be excessive. Have them return from their recreation exhausted, disquieted, and unprepared for the coming week. Don’t let them go out in nature. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, concerts, and movies instead.
“When they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences and unsettled emotion. Don’t let them encourage or uplift each other; keep those who are gifted encouragers especially busy and worn out.
“And above all, when they get together keep them from praying for one another. Let them be involved in soul winning. But crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Christ. Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family unity for the good of the cause.”
It was quite a convention in the end. And the evil angels went eagerly to their assignments trying to cause Christians everywhere to get busy, busy, busy.
Do you sense the busyness of the world today? I know I do. This story so accurately portrays the temptations Satan uses to keep us from developing an intimate connection with Jesus. Yet as my wife, Janet, and I look back over God’s leading in our lives, ministry, and family, we’ve found God’s Word true: “In your presence is fullness of joy; At your right hand are pleasures forever more” (Psalms 16:11, NKJV).
Just before my ordination, Elder H. M. S. Richards, Sr., told me, “Jerry, never lose your time with Jesus!” That has proven a major key to God’s best for us.
When we stay connected to Jesus, our marriage, ministries, and children do so much better! When we separate ourselves, even for a short time, things go downhill in a hurry. We’ve learned that without Him we just can’t do anything of lasting value.
I pray that the words of John will be true in your life today: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. . . . If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. . . . These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:5, 7, 8, 11, NKJV).
Your brother in Christ,