Jump Start # 2668
2 Corinthians 2:11 “so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.”
NOTE: Monday is a holiday so there will be no Jump Start.
In our verse, the apostle reveals two important truths. First, Satan has schemes. He’s trying to trick us, fool us, and blind us to the reality of wrong. He is hoping to cover our eyes to the consequences and destructive outcome that sin has in our lives. “It’s not so bad,” is one of Satan’s greatest lines.
The second truth in this passage is about us, the people of God. We are on to Satan. We see through the smoke and the slick talk. We are not buying what he is saying. In the language of the passage, “We are not ignorant of his schemes.” Satan has schemes and we know what they are. We have his play book. He’ll lie. He’ll use people close to us. He’ll jumble things up in our minds. He’ll twist Scripture. He’ll march pleasure right before our eyes. He’s good, real good at what he does, however, we are on to him. He’s not surprising us.
It is interesting how Satan will make danger look innocent. We are attracted to what seems nice and cute, only to find out how terrifying sin can be. There is a section of Yellowstone Park where the mighty bison roam freely. They cross the road. Some even walk down the road. Hundreds and hundreds of massive bison. Cars stop on both sides of the rode. People get out and take pictures. Stories are told of how some parents put their small children next to one of the bison for a picture. Some foolish parents even try to put their child on top of a bison. The bison are a wonder to watch. Big. Gentle looking. One is drawn to go and pet one. But every year someone is seriously hurt and some even die because these adorable bison are massive wild animals. People believe that they are harmless, even domesticated. But they are not. They can toss a person in the air, charge a car and become very aggressive.
And, Satan does that with temptation. It appears innocent, sweet, nice and we do not see how wild, aggressive and destructive it can be. Temptation looks at the now, not the later. Temptation focuses upon the fun, not the consequences. Temptation fools one into believing a dangerous situation is not dangerous at all. But in an instant, all that fun, all that excitement can change. The step is taken, temptation turns into sin and now one has crossed that forbidden line. Now that person is standing out of bounds. Now that person has violated the law of God. And, at first, the person seems to get away with it. This is great. It’s fun, he believes. But just as a mouse trap comes rapidly upon the unsuspecting mouse, sin traps us, changes us and hurts us.
Temptation can wear lipstick and be nothing more than a little office flirting. Cute. Fun. No harm. But like standing beside that giant bison, in a moment, everything changes. The little flirting turns into a sexual affair. And, trouble begins. Lies must be told to hide things. Deception, secrets and fear of getting caught becomes the focus. Emotions get involved. Things get tangled up. The kids. The wife. The house. Does one leave it all and get a divorce? What a mess one has gotten into. That adorable bison charged and now we are in trouble.
Temptation can appear as black and white numbers on a spread sheet. So many numbers. Such a large corporation. Such waste. Just change a few numbers here and there. Nothing too great. Nothing that the company will not miss. And, now temptation has you skimming money from an account that is not yours. You justify it so easily. They waste that much money on paper every month. The big shots always get such big bonuses and yet you are carrying the load of the work. Do that just a few more times and you can afford to purchase the truck you’ve always wanted. It will be ok. And, like that temptation becomes a sin. That cute bison becomes aggressive. And one day, it is discovered. People show up at your desk. You are escorted out and now you have a court date. You lost your job. You will face jail time. You must pay an enormous amount of money back. And you wonder how did all of this happen?
Temptation can appear as a little white pill. You’ve been bothered and stressed with the pandemic and school at home. You can’t sleep. You are anxious and just not yourself. A friend passes a white pill to you. Take this, it will make you feel better. You look at the pill and think “why not?” And, she was right. You don’t feel so anxious. You seem to be in a better mood. The kids don’t irritate you so much. Your friend was right. But that one pill didn’t last very long. So you ask your friend for some more. You find a way to get some from a doctor. You take more than what you are supposed to, but they sure make you feel better. And, like that temptation has become an addiction. Now, you must have more of these pills. You ask others if you can have one or two of theirs. You come up with ways to get more, and some of the ways are not good, right or legal. Every bit of extra money you can scrape up goes to getting more pills. And, when you are without the pills, your life is a tragic mess. That adorable bison that you wanted to pet, has turned and gored you. He was wild but you wouldn’t believe it.
Paul’s words are: we are not ignorant of his schemes. I wonder if that is true? I wonder if we simply refuse to think that something dangerous can be inside something so wonderful like a mighty bison? Sure gives us something to think about.