One day our intrepid explorer, Angus Dillworthy, walked briskly into a village deep, deep in this jungle. He’s the first man from outside the forest who made it to that point. Usually outsiders were waylaid by boa constrictors, black mambas and mosquitos.
The leader of the tribe, Tonto, strode forward to greet him. “Hello, old chap,” Dillworthy says seriously. “I’m here to discover your village.”
“Angus Dillworthy, I presume,” says Tonto. “Enter! You are honored guest.” (Now some of you are saying to yourselves, “If Dillworthy just discovered these people, how do they already know English?” My reply is, “I’m telling this story and they can do anything I want them to.”)
“We have great feast for you tonight,” Tonto said. “Help you get ready.”
A giant black pot was set up in the middle of the village and beautiful maiden girls and handsome rainforest boys busied themselves building a fire under it.
“What’s this?” Angus Dillworthy asked.
“You greatly honored. We let you soak in bath, prepared just for you.”
“Ah,” said Dillworthy as he took off his clothes, just leaving his boxer shorts, and climbed over the high edge into this strange black washpot. “Ah,” he exclaimed as the water warmed him and his tired muscles began to relax.
“You wouldn’t have a spot of soap, would you, old bean?”
Tonto came towards him carrying an armload of carrots, onions, potatoes and various spices. “Soap not our culture,” Chief Tonto told him. “When you in Rome, you do as Romans do.”
“Rome?” Dillworthy mused, but the delicious hot water was working its drowsy magic on him and he could barely keep his eyes open as Tonto sliced carrots, onions and potatoes and dropped them in with him.
His last sleepy thought was, “I wonder why he’s putting salt and pepper in my bath water.”
In the middle of the night he woke up in Tonto’s belly. (I know some of you purists are saying, “How can he “wake up” when he’s been eaten?” My answer is, “Hey, this is my story and they can do anything I want them to.”)
You know, a warm and comforting blanket of water is sure hard to get out of isn’t it? And I’m afraid that the devil is doing the same thing to a lot of Christians that Tonto did to our hardy explorer. He’s lulling them to sleep in misery and it feels so good they can’t get out of the water.
Misery feels good?
Many people sink into a pit of despair, plodding through life like a three-toed sloth, just barely putting one foot in front of another.
They could probably leave their misery but the effort of getting up would be too much and this misery is so relaxing. So, they just stew while the devil slices in a few more onions.
Sound familiar? If you’re cooking and can’t seem to escape that warm bubbly liquid, here are three things to do to get out of the devil’s stew.
Three ways to get out of the devil’s stew:
–Quit telling yourself how miserable you are…how persecuted you are…how unappreciated you are…how incapable you are. Don’t you know that “your self” hears yourself? Try this experiment. Say, “I just don’t know what I’m going to do. Look at this. There’s no way. I’m miserable.” Warm, comforting—and deadly.
The other day a young woman wrote this on Facebook: “I refuse to weep about my situation and I declare that this mountain will move in the Name of Jesus!!!” Unrealistic? At least she was stirring up the bath water and getting rid of the carrots. That’s tough in the short term but powerful as you keep doing it each day. Repeat what God has said instead of repeating misery.
–Make yourself rejoice. It’s a command but there’s a reason for the command. “”Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.” (Psalms 100:1,2 KJV) He didn’t say to do that when we felt like it. He just said to do it.
Journalist Robert Gordon tells of a wretched time when he was an airman in England in the Second World War. One day he watched a whistling sergeant trying to recuperate a B-17 bomber that had slid off the runway into the mire nearby. He should have been miserable in the freezing rain and the muck.
Gordon picks up the story, “Sergeant,” I said to him in a surly manner, “How can you whistle in a mess like this?” He gave me a mud-caked grin. “Lieutenant” he said, “when the facts won’t budge — you have to bend your attitude to fit them.”
–Look hard at God’s promises, God’s Word, God’s joy. Look hard at the Lord Jesus. Listen to this.
“Interestingly, our minds work a lot like a magnifying glass. The more you think about something, the larger you perceive it to be. When you focus intently on your situation, it doesn’t actually change anything in the natural, but your situation becomes larger and larger in your mind. Magnifying the wrong things can set your life on the wrong course in a hurry… But when you focus on God and magnify Him in your life, all the things of this world—the challenges, obstacles and disappointments—just seem to melt away.” Victoria Osteen
In a scary time of testing Nehemiah told his fellow builders,
“Do not be afraid of the enemy; [earnestly] remember the Lord and imprint Him [on your minds], great and terrible, and [take from Him courage to] fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.” (Nehemiah 4:14, Amplified Version)
The devil may be standing near you, licking his lips, just ready to stick a fork in you. Why don’t you make the decision to stand up and get out of your misery? It’s not easy because it’s a decision you must make each day.
But, it’s better than being devoured by the devourer.
“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for” – William Shedd