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actually now that i think about it, i’m not surprised that the devil was attacking me like that. i was just reflecting about what these next few days/weeks will hold for me and i realized how tightly they revolve around seeking God and his will:

  • tonight i’m going to c-hop with my small group
  • before visiting the prayer room, mal and i are going to be hanging out with a girl who used to live in grand rapids
  • on sunday, i am going with mal + cathy from my small group to chaperone a youth group trip to CIY, which i know will be as enlightening and recharging for me as it will be for the kids
  • i reached out to a woman i look to as a role model and we’re going to meet the following week to talk and just for me to get the chance to seek any counsel or wisdom she has to offer, about relationships (i admire her marriage and the way she’s raised her kids) and God and everything else inbetween
  • then i return to grand rapids to continue to see what that holds

those are all areas where God is at work and where I’ll be seeking him and searching for him. so i suppose the devil figures he ought to try to get some really deep digs in now, before that process takes place. of course the devil really should just stop trying so hard because he already gets his own share of successes each and every day when i mess up in some sort or another. but fortunately, he’s not winning these kinds of battles any more. i know the day will come with those other battles–even the small, seemingly insignificant ones–will be vanquished and overturned, too.

You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness,
O God our Savior,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas,

Psalm 65:5

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on (my) tattoos and piercings
as you probably know, when it comes to big decisions, i’m not one for spontaneity. sure if it’s, “let’s go get ice-cream!” or “let’s go on a vacation!” then i’m all for it, because you can’t go wrong with either.

but something that there’s a chance that i might someday regret isn’t something i take lightly. hence why i’ve been so patient and spent so long kicking around the idea of a/my tattoo. but things changed last week when–in the midst of “where am i headed?” and “what’s going to happen, life-wise, next?!”–i got the out-of-the-blue urge to get one of those monroe piercings. i really, really wanted it even moreso than the tattoo. like, i was ready to get it on friday if i didn’t know myself better.

i don’t have anything against piercings; what i’ve always held as important in decision-making is intention behind the choice. so, i came to see that with this urge for a pretty little beauty-mark diamond was how quickly it came on and how forceful it was and how it consumed my thoughts, because it really did. everyday i was thinking about how i would look with one; i’d imagine it on other people and how it would change the way they look, etc. that preoccupation was a red flag to me–that there was something deeper going on.

if you’ve ever read the screwtape letters (OK, or the Bible for that matter), i believe in that stuff–that the reason why all our movies have a good guy and a bad guy, where there’s always some sort of struggle between the two is because that reflects the greater story that’s taking place in our world. that there’s a God and a Devil and that the bad guy in this story is doing everything he can to bring down Good. i remember when i read the Screwtape Letters, one thing that C.S. Lewis pointed out was how one of the devil’s greatest tools is using inaction and distraction to bring us down–while we may not be committing great sins like murder, if we’re still not doing good,  then what’s the difference? he’s won.

so i realized that this piercing preoccupation was just that: a distraction that was keeping me from focusing my thoughts on what God had in store, future-wise. i know it sounds silly because it was just a simple piercing, but in context it stood for so much more: as i pondered getting it, i was really doubting that God would accomplish what i knew he already told me he would. (because the last thing the piercing would say is “professional” and could really stand as a stumbling block as i consider that path.) i had to realize that if he encouraged me to pursue this path, then why wouldn’t he provide that? why would i jeopardize or disregard that?

it was a matter of regaining/reasserting my faith in the future. and since that realization, the overwhelming preoccupation has melted away and now i’m back to considering that old tattoo of mine. the one benefit i see in this is that at least it has a purpose other than pure vanity (which was all the piercing had to offer) and would be a gentle and daily reminder of the state (and source) of my life. here’s the general direction i’m thinking, although the elements would be better integrated, of course. but i’m digging the idea of calligraphy + ornamentation:

Philippians 4:8
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.

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