A Slow Fade
Sometimes, actually many times, especially at lunch, my children get their plates and sit at the coffee-table. Jacob is 11, and his body is smaller so he has a little more room. Faith, on the other hand, will be 15-years-old this month, and her legs are longer than both mine and my husbands. Needless to say, she doesnt fit so well in between the love-seat and the coffee table. And, if Jacob has gotten there first, hes already nicely placed and settled, eating his chicken nuggets and fries before Faith. Then, Faith shows up and has to maneuver herself between the loveseat and coffee-table. She usually looks like shes playing a game of Twister while she gets herself situated.
The other night, after a long day of school, soccer practice, and Atlanta traffic, we all got our dinner plates and got situated in the living room. I was sitting on the couch watching Faith. She did something different this time. I tried not to laugh.
Jacob was already settled and eating, but for some reason the coffee-table was further out than it usually is. Now, this meant that Faith did have more room to get situated between the love-seat and coffee-table, but it also meant that when she sat down and began to eat, the coffee-table was actually too far away. In the past, shes reached out and quickly jerked the coffee-table towards her to which Jacob would yell, Hey Faith!
This time, I watched Faith, and I tried not to laugh. Faith reached out and gradually took the right, back leg of the coffee table and she slowly, slowly, slowly, ever so gradually started to pull the coffee-table towards herself. I looked at Jacob. He didnt even notice. He was eating his food and drinking his milk, and didnt even realize that the table on which his dinner rested was being moved at the pace of a snail. Sure, it took a while, but when Faith quit moving the table it was perfectly placed in front of her so that she could comfortably lean on the back of the love-seat and eat with her food at a perfect distance in front of her. Now, the funny thing was the coffee-table was completely diagonal at this point, but Jacob didnt even notice. I saw Faith grin, actually smirk with satisfaction, as she went to take her first bite of food.
I tried not to laugh. I thought it was mighty clever of her. She altered the placement of the coffee-table without Jacob even noticing. She just had to be cautious and patient while she gradually moved the coffee-table into position. If she did a quick jerk, she would have been found out and the coffee-table would have been considered game over and it would have had to stay in position.
As I was trying not to laugh aloud at what I had just witnessed, God said, See that, Kristina? Immediately, I knew what He meant. In regard to Warriors and our enemy, the enemy moves ever so slowly, gradually and patiently moving things in our lives, setting little traps in our lives, pulling us away from the Word, gradually day by day to the point where we dont even notice. And then, all of a sudden, one day, we wake up and we wonder what has happened to our faith, our energy, our passion for life, our hope, our friends, our community, our home-lives, ourselves, our hearts, and our sanity!
The Truth is, we have experienced a slow fade of a gradual decrease of our faith. It made sense at the time, We didnt have time for the Word, we didnt have time to exercise, we didnt have time to talk with and/or pray with a friend because (sure, we had good reasons) our child had a doctor appointment, our spouse needed something at the store, kids had homework, we needed to run to Walmart, etc. etc. etc. And so we find ourselves in a bad place of thinking the church is lame because it just doesnt do anything for us anymore, and we think the problem is with everyone else. We find ourselves a little bitter, resentful, and irritated with Christians who say, Praise God! like they really mean it. And sure, we are reminded of the people from our past, in the church, who actually were hypocritical. So, we think we are justified at judging everyone who happens to say, Praise God who irritate the stew out of us. Truth is, there are people who say, Praise God! because they mean it, and there are people who say, Praise God! just to look good, but thats not what is really bothering us. Even Paul talked about people who preached Jesus Christ out of integrity and people who preached Jesus Christ out of arrogance, and the two types of people will always exist.
It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for meanwhile I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I will rejoice.
What is truly bothering us is that we want to be the type of person who says, Praise God! out of a genuine, authentic, real relationship with Jesus Christ (like Paul in chains) and somehow we feel that weve lost the ability to do so. Paul praised God whether well fed or hungry, whether in chains or free because he learned the secret of being content in all things.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Praise God!) Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me put into practice. And the god of peace will be with you. I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4: 4-13.
And THAT, my fellow Warrior Moms is what you want to have the kind of passion and genuine relationship with Jesus Christ that Paul had, but somehow the banquet table before you was slowly, ever so gradually moved. The enemy altered the placement of the coffee-table of Christ without you even noticing. Sure, he had to be cautious and patient while he gradually moved the coffee-table into a position so that he could attack you better.
If he did a quick jerk, he would have been found out and Christ in you, who resided at the center of the coffee-table of your life would have said, Game over! and you would have been able to stand-firm in your stead-fast position of praise and alertness. Therefore, may you find yourself consistently in the Word, consistently in prayer and consistently in community with other Believers. And may you find yourself truly living the life that is truly life!
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy [and move the coffee-table of Christ away from us ever so slowly]; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devils schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for the saints.
Kristina Seymour loves to encourage and equip women through the Word and through community. She is the author of The Warrior Mom Handbook, The Warrior Mom Leadership Manual, and The Warrior Wife Handbook; they are available at Amazon.com. Kristina’s Bible studies are for women who desire to live by faith in the midst of their everyday lives. She has learned that women can’t survive on caffeine and animal crackers alone; women in the Word and in community are united and able to stand firm. To learn more about Kristina, please visit her website, https://kristinaseymour.com/. God loves to share His story of love and grace through us all, and Kristina believes that everyone has a story to tell.