My mama and I used to look for lost treasures at the junkyard at De Valls Bluff when I was a little girl. This would have been the mid to late 1970’s. I remember one time we took a friend of hers named Jimmy with us and they were looking at a piece of furniture or something that didn’t interest me. I walked down the dirt road trying to find something that would be fun to play with.
It just so happened, I come upon a blue calculator on the ground, so I set down and started fiddling with it. After a couple minutes I felt like I needed to get up and not only get up but run as fast as I could!
That’s when I saw a large, brownish-red dog coming right at me. Let me tell you, I got up and ran so fast, you would have thought I was practicing for the Olympics! Unfortunately for me, the dog was right behind me. I remember feeling fear trickle down my spine as I ran for my life.
Jimmy and mama looked up as I was screaming and running, and Jimmy took action. I was just about to the car and he ran from where he was and opened the back door and yelled for me to jump in the back seat.
Thankfully, I was able to jump in the back seat in just enough time for Jimmy to slam the door shut before the dog got to me.
Well that dog had other ideas. She literally jumped (or tried to) through the window that was partially rolled down. I have never been so thankful to have not rolled a window all the way down in my life!
The dog was trying her best to get at me, even with the window not allowing her full body to come in. I remember hearing WHALLUP, WHALLUP, WHALLUP sounds and finally the dog gave up and ran off.
The WHALLUP sounds came from Jimmy taking his leather belt and hitting that dog. He hit that dog over and over until she realized he was as determined to get her to leave, as she was determined to get at me.
This dog had me in her sights. For some reason, she wanted me. Really bad! Maybe her predatory instincts kicked in when I started running. Who knows? All I know is that I am thankful that the dog didn’t get ahold of me!
Running from that dog was a race that had to do with my physical safety. It was an important race. My life was on the line! The dog could have maimed me or even killed me! So, for me, that race was a race for my very life!
The Most Important Race
Coming full circle to 2020, there is another race set before me. Set before you. It is the race for our spiritual safety.
Do you realize that Satan is coming for you? Like that dog was determined to get at me, Satan is determined to get at you. At me. At every living soul! “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1Pet. 5:8).
Have you ever looked up the definition of “devour”? I have. I don’t like the thought of the word “devour” pertaining to me and Satan in any way, shape or form. No sir.
Definition of devour from the Merriam-Webster (transitive verb)
1: to eat up greedily or ravenously (devoured the turkey and mashed potatoes)
2: to use up or destroy as if by eating (We are devouring the world's resources)
3: to prey upon (devoured by guilt)
4: to enjoy avidly (devours books)
Satan started in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1) and he has never had to change his ways. He comes at us where we are most vulnerable using the same three ways, In 1Jn. 2:15-17 we are told, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”
Satan wants us to put self above all else and he will do what he can to help us make that happen.
The lust of the flesh is an evil desire of those things that are of the flesh. That desire for fleshly things that are not yours to have.
The lust of the eyes is an evil desire for things of this world. Some love money and possessions more than they love God. They allow that love to cost them their soul.
The pride of life is that evil desire for honor and glory among men. Some have such pride that they allow it to keep them from repenting of their sins.
The devil loves to have it so!
Winning the Race
When I was running for my life from that dog, I had help. Jimmy was there to help me get to safety. He knew what needed to be done to save my life.
As we are running for our lives today, we also have help. Jesus Christ the Son of God! We have help to keep the devil from devouring us. We have very specific instructions on how to get to safety. Everything we need is included in the pages of our Bible. Everything.
But like I had to follow Jimmy’s directions when he yelled for me to get in the car; we today, have to follow directions in the Bible.
Fortunately for me, I had Jimmy there yelling what I needed to do. Fortunately for us, we have page after beautiful page screaming at us. Telling us what we need to do. It is right there in black and white. We simply have to pick it up and study it. We must not allow ourselves to be ignorant of the things that Satan will do to us. 2Cor. 2:11 tells us: “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”
We start out by studying the Bible and we finish still studying the Bible. It takes constant study and meditation on the word of God to fight off the devil. We MUST put on the whole armour of God (Ephesians 6:11-18). How are we to know what the whole armour of God is unless we study the Bible?
We MUST submit ourselves to God. This is vital. God does not ask us to do anything above what we cannot do, we just have to love God above self. Read that again. Then make it personal. Do I love God above my own self? Do I submit to God? If not, what must I do to make things right?
I start by submitting to God. Then I must mentally prepare myself to resist the devil (James 4:7). Once we submit to God, we will want to resist the devil. We will have that desire to do Gods will and not the devils.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7)
I can continue by looking to Jesus as my example. I can look to Jesus and do my very best to lay aside those things that cause me to sin Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
I can then keep my faith in God even when it is hard, submitting to Him till I draw my last breath 2 Timothy 4:7-8 – “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
I can put my trust in God, all my days, Proverbs 3:1-7 – “My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
We must remain faithful unto death Revelation 2:10 – “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”
I ran from that dog, like my life depended on it. I had the back door of that car in my sight. That back door led to the safety of the back seat and I was determined to reach it. I am not for certain that the dog would have killed me but it could have. That thought motivated my young self to run and to not waiver.
Today, I am certain the devil will happily take our souls to hell. But he can’t do that unless we waiver. He can’t do that unless we take our eyes off of the goal of heaven. Like that back door led to the safety of the back seat for me, Jesus leads us to the safety of heaven, John 14:6; Acts 4:12.
The question is, will you run towards it and be saved, or will you falter in your race and be lost? It is up to you.
Are you a Christian? Have you obeyed the gospel? If not, you can. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Put Christ on in Baptism. Put God first. Do this and you’ll find it’s much easier to run the race.
How does one become a Christian?
1. Hear the Gospel. (Romans 10:17, John 8:32)
2. Believe the Gospel (Hebrews 11:6, John 20:31)
3. Repent of past sins (Luke 13:3, Acts 17:30)
4. Confess faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 10:10, Matthew 10:32)
5. Be Baptized (Galatians 3:27, Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38)
6. Be faithful unto death (Revelation 2:10)
As always, I am happy to study with anyone, day or night.
In Christian Love,