This morning I was driving along I-24 in TN and tuned in to the FISH station in Nashville. The song that was playing was Slow Fade by Casting Crowns. Oh man, does this song ever nail it! One of the things I absolutely love and respect about the music CC has been putting out is that it is so incredibly REAL and HONEST and ACCURATE and TRUE-TO-LIFE and JUST WHAT I NEED TO HEAR.
Slow fade? You betcha. I am aware more than ever, and I hope I am speaking with absolute honesty here, of the activity of the devil in doing what his name implies... lying, deceiving, accusing, stealing, killing, destroying, threatening, intimidating, etc. No, I am not always aware of what he is doing at any given moment and he certainly pulls his stinking rotten tricks on me, but I am aware of how much he hates people and wants nothing more than to keep us from living free in Christ Jesus.
I am also more aware than ever at this point in my journey of my own sinful tendencies and weaknesses and patterns and predispositions.
The combination of my own "quirks" and the enemy that loves to prey on them is not a good one.
But praise God that Jesus has set us free, and whomever the Son sets free is free indeed, and there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, and He has separated us from our sins as far as the east is from the west, and He has not given to us a spirit fear, but a Spirit of love and of joy and of sound mind.
The old hymn says it well... O victory in Jesus, my Savior, forever. He sought me and bought me, with His redeeming blood; He loved me ere I knew Him, and all my love is due Him, He plunged me to victory, beneath the cleansing flood.
While all this is true, we still have to guard ourselves because it's a slow fade... nothing happens overnight... NOTHING. It starts with me not being in God's Word regularly. It starts with me not praying which, incidentally, I am commanded to do. It starts with me not walking in the light as He is in the light so that He and I can talk freely and consistently and honestly (and I should note that any breakdown in communication is clearly my doing). It starts with me being prideful and arrogant and stubborn. It starts with me not keeping watch over my tongue. It starts with me holding on to offenses and letting (sometimes righteous) anger fester into cancerous unforgiveness and staph-like bitterness that infects my soul and negatively affects those closest to me.
And then it all boils over like an unattended pot on the stovetop and I rush over but the mess has already been made and it's really difficult to clean up at that point.
I need to guard myself because it's a slow fade.
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. ~~ Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight. ~~ Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life. ~~ Whoever guards his way preserves his life. ~~ Whoever guards his soul will keep far from [thorns and snares]. ~~ The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. ~~ The Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. ~~ I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.
[ Psalm 119:9; Proverbs 4:5-7; Proverbs 4:13; Proverbs 16:17b; Proverbs 22:5; Philippians 4:7; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; 2 Timothy 1:12 ]
Take a listen to Slow Fade here on the player and let it sink into your heart today.
O God, would You graciously and mercifully give us the strength to avoid wandering away from You and all that is best for us as you know what is best for us. You have been kind and good to us and we are desperate for You every moment of every day. Deliver us from evil and guard us from the temptations that we will encounter today.
Amen and amen.