Have you ever heard the expression “fish or cut bait?” I have. In fact, with a large project looming ahead I tell myself that many times. What made me think of this is I have a dear and close friend who told me it was the “putting into practice” what God wants him to do that was the problem. Well, don’t we all have that problem? I know I sure do. So often we know what to do but it’s the doing that gets in the way. And when we are talking spiritually, that’s where Satan comes in to play (and boy does he love to play!). He gets us sidetracked in so many ways from busy work to just plain chores and things that have to be done. Those busy activities in life. That’s one of the areas he must delight in.
Then, there is fear. He whispers in our ear we can’t do it; we don’t want to do it because we’re having too much fun right where we are; people will talk about us; people will laugh at us. Hey, who cares what Satan or anybody says – God is the important One. That’s what we need to keep right there in front of our brain and push Satan way back until he just drops right out of our head. I mean, Satan is slick. He weasels himself right into our lives, in and out and in and out, and there we live – back and forth. We need to keep our eyes “fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” James 4:17 says, “Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” Sin works both ways, to do and not to do. Things we should do and don’t are sins of omission. Things we do and shouldn’t do are sins of commission.
Like I said above, sometimes we get stuck in a lifestyle or way of living and even though we know we should change and live differently, we don’t or won’t. I think that’s where we can just call it plain ole sin because we know we need to change and won’t, we stay right where we are because we want to, so that’s the doing. We’re hitting both omission and commission in those cases.
Isn’t it funny (well, not really funny) how Satan slips in like in the Garden and makes it so easy for us to get into situations but then so painful to get out. When we allow Satan to take over our lives, to take us by the hand and walk us down the wrong path, do you think he’s going to make it easy for us to come back to God and walk on the right path? Of course not! He’ll put out every roadblock he can find to keep us back where he wants us. He’ll even tell us it’s not so bad and maybe we can do some good where we are. That’s probably one of his best tricks – like having one of those orange barrels blocking our way. Then, of course, he will tell us it’s too hard – that might be one of those wooden or metal things that go all the way across the road to block you from going any further. I’m sure you get the picture by now. He’s got all kinds of things he tells us to keep us away from God and anything or anybody that keeps us from God is not where God want us to be or who God wants us to be with. Truth hurts but truth is always truth and never changes.
I bet you’re saying to yourself, “Yea, easy for her to sit there and write about this. You have to live it to know what it’s like and how hard it is. It’s so hard!” Guess what? I do know because I’m not just writing about it, I’ve lived it and know the pain, heartache, and hard work it takes to begin the road back to God. I know what it’s like to say to God that I like where I are and don’t want to change or move or be different. It’s comfortable here. It’s fun here. I love here. And I’ve reaped what I’ve sown, as well. And that is not a good harvest to be reaping. Satan never tells us about that part. He never tells the truth, just like he didn’t tell the truth in the Garden. He sold Adam and Eve a bill of goods – rotten apples and they couldn’t be taken back. God had already told them the truth but they didn’t trust Him.
I’ve also seen others struggle with this as well. In GA many years ago, I was involved in a prison ministry. I met a young woman in one of the jails, in for drugs. She came up to me after the service one Sunday and wanted to talk. She told me her parents were Christians and she was raised in a Christian home. She had fallen in with the wrong group of people and here she was now. Satan had tricked her terribly. He had sold her a bag of goods that cost her much more than she could ever pay – he wanted her whole life and was about to take it over. She finally did her time and was out and contacted the chaplain. However, within a few weeks, she was back in jail – drugs again. Satan again. Hey, if it works once he figures he’ll try it again and if what he used last time doesn’t work, he’ll look in his back of tricks and go on to the next one. I went and talked to her again, read some Scripture, and prayed with her. I was very stern with her as it seemed compassion had not worked last time. She needed some cold, hard, truth from God’s Word.
She got out again but this time had no place to go. So, I took her in, after going over several rules – more than once. We shopped and got her some decent clothes and she stayed a couple of weeks, went to church with us, helped around the house and things were great. The chaplain found her a job and a place to stay. She called me a couple of years later, so happy. She finished school to get her GED, gotten a job, met a nice young man, gotten married, and had a baby girl. I was so happy for her. Satan had lost one and now life was good for her
However, about a year later I saw the chaplain again and she had left her husband and baby girl and gotten back on drugs and on the street. He wanted me to know because he said it was going to take more than we had to help her, she need to go away some place. I was heartbroken. I had no idea how to get in touch with her. So, I prayed and prayed. To this day I do not know what happened to her, I can only pray she was able to get professional help from physicians that would help her get back on the right path. She was smart and could have had a good life, but her choice was to go back and listen to Satan. It’s our choices and consequences. We say we don’t care, we want these choices, we’re willing to pay – until the consequences become more than we can bear. They start out kind of small and grow and grow until God has our full attention. So, if you’re in consequences and think they are bad but God does not have your full attention, you’ve a bit further to go unless you give Him you full attention first. Oh, and don’t let Satan sell you the bag of goods that your sin is so great you deserve any bad thing that comes along. Like I said, that’s just Satan’s bag of goods. If that were true, then why did Jesus die on the cross? If you’ll remember, He died for our sins.
The thing is in everyone’s life, just like hers, there were people around that wanted to help her but she had to want the help more than the sin. You can’t just say you want to turn back to God, you have to make the effort. He’s there, always has been, but we have to do our part. We have to turn our backs totally to the stumbling block Satan has for us and ask for help, ask for prayers, ask for a “hand-up” – we have to start “doing” and not just “talking.”
I’m pretty sure God will bring us to a certain point to where we know what we’re doing is wrong and we need to change, and then he says to us it’s up to us now. We need to either fish or cut bait. And then after we take that step, He takes us to the next step. And the more steps we take, the closer we get to Him and the more we can trust Him. And I don’t think any of us believe in any way this “step taking” is easy. We know it’s hard some days. It’s just like everything, some days or some times are easier than others. That’s life – wake up and smell the roses instead of standing around the outhouse with the devil. It’s up to us and what we really want in life. Do we want the roses or the manure? If we stick around with the devil we get manure! So, I reiterate – we need to fish or cut bait.