I’m home. I feel safe. I have no worries because life is good and God is greater. I’ve spent all week locked in my protective little bubble of praise, worship and the Lord’s presence. Wrapped tightly in my coziest security blanket, I am covered with God’s love, hope, comfort and Truth.
I am genuinely happy. I am confident in my faith and purpose. I am like a light radiating from the brightest Light inside of me. All is well in life and in my soul.
So well, in fact, that I decide to venture outside.
Yes, on the surface it’s a beautiful world out there. Though, the realness will eventually become too real when it takes off its mask and shows its true face. A beautiful world on the outside will ultimately enslave its people if they wander too far inside of it. They’ll be lured until the door is closed, the chains locked and the sparkle dimmed by darkness. The nomads will become captive. Lost, weak, without hope, and defenseless.
But not if they believe there is more to this seemingly beautiful world. More to experience, more to enjoy, more to live for. A desire to have a purpose and make a difference. A plea to be saved, to start over, and be made new.
I know this world all too well and spent way too much time living in it and for it. I was wandering, constantly, and falling almost daily. It’s easy to roam when the gate is open, the land wide, and when you’re all alone consumed by the world and full of your self.
You explore aimlessly as you travel down a path to nowhere and then suddenly, almost out of the blue, you are stuck in a place unknown while knowing it’s a place you don’t want to be. Your hands become tied and a blindfold covers your eyes. You’re vulnerable and confused. The voice you were listening to sounded so much like your own at first but this new voice you don’t recognize. No, it is not familiar and you don’t like it one bit. It is loud, mean, manipulative and destructive. It is telling you it has you in its grip, chained to everything you thought you knew, wanted or saw. You are locked and have become its prisoner.
Sweet friend – do you know what I’m talking about? Have you been there before?
I certainly have.
After spending 20 years as a “world traveler,” I ultimately found myself when I laid my life down at the foot of the cross. But it didn’t come naturally or without effort. No, it took a lot of work to throw my hands up in surrender. If I’m being honest, it still takes work each and every day and it has been well over a decade since I’ve been redeemed! I learned, however, that I must be intentional and purposeful in living my life for the Lord. I must protect my heart and be on the constant defense against the enemy. Because, and this is so true and without fail, every single time that I am on fire for Jesus and think I’m “all good,” that darn enemy takes advantage of the open shot and scores his destruction on me. Every. Single. Time. And of course he does. I give him the opportunity (Ephesians 4:27) to strike and crush all of my imperfect perfect progress when I choose to put my guard down and take a walk outside of my safe bubble [aka my Father’s arms].
“Keep alert. Be firm in your faith. Stay brave and strong.”1 Corinthians 16:3 (CEV)
I don’t know if you’ve experienced this type of wandering, enslavement or defeat by allowing the enemy to gain control of your life but I know I have. I’m writing this as an encouragement to all who encounter it, regardless if you are a seeker, unbeliever, or strong, devoted follower of Christ, because I believe the Spirit wants me to communicate the importance of continuously abiding in Him and remaining within the secure place of living with purpose.
We all will endure trials and tragedies because the beautiful world we live in is also very broken and dark. But take heart – accepting Jesus and honoring God by receiving His grace and surrendering your life to Him will give you hope, love, and comfort that the end is not near. Quite contrary, this life is only the beginning. Living life on earth playing defense against the fallen one will be short lived. Yet, life with our Savior and becoming apart of the winning team will reward you eternal salvation.
With arms reaching up toward the heavens in praise and surrender, I pray we can play defense against the enemy so we can enjoy the post-game after-party of eternity with our Creator.