The Lord gave me an "illustrated sermon" last night. We attended a concert at church by a well-known gospel performer. I was moved deeply by his music and insightful ministry, especially in the area of relating to our family members in spirit and in truth.
After the concert, I hurried back to purchase his newest CD, which contained most of the music he had sung. Then I got in line to have him sign it. I was standing behind my neighbor, who was concerned that I not get left behind in the crowd, so I hooked my finger around her purse strap, like a little kid hanging on to mom. Before I knew it, the crowd had pressed in and somehow we got separated. A large man elbowed his way in front of me, holding his CD high in the air and causing me to fall back in the line. I felt some irritation and stood my ground where I was while he posed for a picture. Finally, I was at the front of the line, when a woman in back of me brazenly waved a photograph over my shoulder to be signed. I could hardly believe it!
All this time, the singer looked past me, interacting with people behind me, seemingly oblivious to me standing right in front of him. What was I, chopped liver? Maybe it was because I am what people refer to as "tiny" in stature and he is extremely tall, so I was out of his line of vision. Whatever the reason, eventually I was able to grab his attention with a few well-directed and heartfelt words of appreciation. With a flourish, he penned the word "blessings," followed by Mark 10:25 and his signature, across my CD.
As I rode home, thoughts of offense against those who had elbowed in front of me crept into my mind. How could Christian people so quickly degenerate to rock star groupies? Little by little, Satan lured me into his parlor of offense and a cloud of unrest enveloped my spirit. It was as if the book by C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, was coming alive as Satan assaulted me with resentful thoughts and feelings. I was ashamed of myself and knew I must break the hold he was getting on my emotions. Then it occurred to me that the incident could have been a test to show what kind of a Christian I truly was. How would I handle this?
Once home, I popped in the CD from the concert and listened to the title song, Breathe Deep. That was what I needed, to breathe deep of the Holy Spirit, think his thoughts, and flush out the toxic messages flooding my mind. The scripture in Hebrews 12:15 came to mind, "...lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble..." Also, James 4:7, "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." I lay in bed, allowing the Word of God to shine it's light in my heart and mind and eventually got up and wrote this message. I pray that the Lord will use this illustrated sermon to alert you to the danger of letting Satan entertain you in his parlor of offense.