Do the Next Right Thing

It was time to re-order my contact lenses online. Right eye, this number, left eye, that number. How hard could it be?

Apparently, harder than you think. Yet even more startling than the very bad customer service I got was the bad attitude I got with it. Bad to the bone bad. Big bad mean dog bad.

Not them, mind you. Me.

“The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell….no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” James 3:6, 8. Lord, have mercy – ain’t that the truth.

I started off the first of multiple phone calls and e-mails all Woman of the Word, child of the One True King, angel-like goodness and light, gracious, patient, understanding and kind, and ended up during the last phone call foaming at the mouth rabid dog angry, insulting, demanding, scathing and self-righteously unrighteous.

Big time shameful, embarrassing, disgusting and disappointing bad girl bad. Who WAS that nasty woman? Oh, yeah, that’s me. The PASTOR’S wife, who claims to be a follower of JESUS. Mmm hmmm.

“Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.” James 1:26.

Ouch.

Have you ever been there, friend? You are growing in the grace and knowledge of your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You feel like God has made big changes in your heart and life. You know the good you ought to do and most of the time you do it, and then – BAM!

Out of nowhere Satan knocks you up side the head, takes up temporary residence inside you and pours venom out of your mouth, reminding you that he is still the Prince of this World and that as long as you live on this planet you will struggle with sin. His goal is to destroy you. He knows your areas of weakness and can and will exploit them to your detriment. He is constantly working to take away your peace and replace it with turmoil, discontent, and strife.

So, what can we do about it?

  1. Wake up! “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8. Accept the fact that Satan is actively trying to take us out. We can then begin to recognize his schemes, take away his element of surprise, and better defend against his attacks.
  2. Submit to God. “Submit yourselves, then, to God.” James 4:7a. Whoever or whatever you submit to will eventually control you as you continue to submit to him or it. Just make sure you are submitting to God first, and not to yourself, another or any other thing. When we submit to God, we stop struggling and unleash the power of the Living God to fight evil for us. As Moses reminded the Israelites just before God delivered them from the Egyptians by parting the Red Sea: “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14.
  3. Resist the devil. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7b. Refuse to surrender to the enemy. The devil is an opportunistic coward and will turn and run if you resist. With each stand you take against the devil’s schemes you will grow stronger and better able to defeat him in the next battle.
  4. Come near to God. “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” James 4:8. Spend quality and quantity time with the God who loves you. Get to know Him by regularly reading His word and purposefully applying it to your life. Talk to God and be willing to listen and wait for His answer. Pray every day, all day, throughout your day, about anything and all things. Draw near to God. Get closer to Him and as you do, He will come near to you. “I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8.

Lucky for me, although I blew it this time, as long as I live I will have many opportunities to do the next right thing.

Lord, please help me to wake up, resist the devil, submit to and draw near you so that next time I will respond with more Christ-like character, leaving behind a fragrant aroma and not a bad smell. “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2.

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