When I was growing up my sister Karen and I loved to play jokes on my younger sister Karla (and yes, all our names started with a “K” even my baby brother Kraig). One day we discovered the perfect joke or so we
thought . . .
Karen and I were clearing the breakfast table one morning when we came up with the brilliant idea to make a “special” drink from the leftover grape juice that was in the pitcher. There wasn’t really enough in the container to justify putting it back in the fridge. We put everything we could think of in the grape juice – milk, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, salt, pepper . . . well you get the idea. And then we called Karla to come and try our “delectable” beverage. We told her that it was an amazingly delicious drink and we didn’t want her to miss out on its goodness because she was such a special sister to us.
I’m sure she was probably thrilled that her two big sisters loved her so much that they wanted to share their very special drink with her and so she took a big swig of the concoction and immediately began to gag and spit it out. And of course, she ran off crying into her bedroom. Karen and I were on the floor rolling with laughter, that was, until my Father showed up. I don’t recall him saying much of anything but I knew we were in BIG trouble! He took two glasses out of the cupboard and proceeded to pour our lovely beverage into them and then he said, “You have 5 minutes to drink it!” and then he walked out of the room.
My first thought was . . . “Why didn’t we throw that drink out after Karla left. We should’ve known that she would go and tell Dad. How stupid could we be?”
My second thought was . . . “Oh shoot, how am I ever going to drink that stuff, it’s got to be terrible! Why did we think this was funny?”
We both knew that we had no choice but to drink it because the consequences of not drinking it were not even worth contemplating. My Dad had been known to ground me from swimming for a whole summer! So who knew what he would do? He didn’t mess around and we knew it.
I can still remember watching the hands of the clock move way to quickly as I gagged my way through that horrible drink and I thought, “I will never do something so stupid again, next time I’ll make sure I throw it out!”
As I think about that story it reminds me of how much the devil does the same thing to us. He plays to our weaknesses. Just as Karen and I played to the weaknesses of my sister, the devil does the same thing. He entices us with sweet words and appeals to our neediness but then when we partake of it we discover what rotten yuckiness it really is.
Ephesians 6:10-11 says: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.
Notice that we are to be strong in the Lord and His power, not in our own. It isn’t through self-discipline, self-help or our own perseverance that will make us strong in our war against the devil but it is through God alone. That is the only way that we can stand firm and discern the schemes of the devil.
So beware of the devil and his sweet enticing words and older sisters bearing gifts!