Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Lessons from Aesop: Crafting the Enemies Darts

AN EAGLE sat on a lofty rock, watching the movements of a Hare whom he sought to make his prey. An archer, who saw the Eagle from a place of concealment, took an accurate aim and wounded him mortally. The Eagle gave one look at the arrow that had entered his heart and saw in that single glance that its feathers had been furnished by himself. "It is a double grief to me," he exclaimed, "that I should perish by an arrow feathered from my own wings." (From Aesop’s Fables)

How often is this true in our Christian walk? Moreover, how often does this happen with unregenerate man? I do not think that Satan has to be in the business of making darts to shoot our way. I think he uses arrows that we ourselves have crafted.

Take James 1:14-15 for example: “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” If there is not a messed up desire then Satan has no power to lure you. It is only because of a disordered affection that Satan is given an opportunity for destruction.

Or consider Ephesians 4:26-27: “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” This is another way of saying “don’t leave the door cracked so that the devil can get his foot in”. The principle here is that if you do not leave the door cracked he will not have easy access. If you want to be destroyed then harbor anger and bitterness. Hanging on to anger is like crafting an arrow and handing it to Satan to shoot straight into your heart.

I think we often go through life wondering why we get wounded so much. Part of it because we are fallen people living in a fallen world. We are not yet fully redeemed and neither is our environment; pain is inevitable. However, many of our wounds come from arrows that we ourselves have crafted. Such as:

  • The alcoholic whose life is in shambles because he cannot kick the bottle. With each purchase of a case of Budweiser, each trip to the bar, each party you are crafting an arrow and asking Satan to shoot you in the chest
  • The husband or wife that hang on to bitterness. With each unresolved conflict, each refusal to speak truth, each entrenched refusal to forgive, and each night of refusing to make the gospel central they are crafting an arrow and asking Satan to shoot their home full of fiery darts.
  • The teenager that hops from ungodly relationship to ungodly relationship. With each empty ‘I love you’, each touch that went too far, each flirtatious look, each loaded text message, each “innocent” massage, each obsessed and smothering moment, and each non-gospel centered date or wish of a date you are crafting an arrow and asking Satan to destroy your heart with it.
  • The pastor that refuses accountability or is too prideful to delegate. With each new item on his agenda, each busy moment spent in planning instead of prayer, each corner that is cut in sermon prep, each guard that is ignored to protect his purity, and each moment he spends as a pastor instead of a son he is crafting an arrow and asking Satan to wreck him.

The situations are numerous. And we will find when we come wounded and scarred before Jesus that a good portion of our wounds came from arrows that we crafted. But the beauty of the gospel is that Jesus heals our wounds no matter who crafted the arrow. This is why the answer to your wounds is not more pills, more education, more free time, more rules or regulations, more relationships, more counseling sessions, or more spiritual disciplines. These are good, they help, but they cannot do what only Jesus can. Only Jesus can heal.

If you find that you are in the business of making arrows to give to Satan, your answer is not to try harder and start a focused regimen to not make arrows. Your answer is to be so drenched with the gospel and so enthralled with Jesus that you are either too in love to make arrows or too gospel soaked to feel their sting. And when you mess up and hand Satan an arrow, take the stupid thing out (repent) and go to Jesus for healing (faith).

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