, Muskogee, OK

April 17, 2013

Fort Faith: Temptations are real even if invisible

— By Barrett Vanlandingham

The day after I wrote last week’s article about the challenges of starting a spiritual fire with wet wood, God dropped another campfire-related lesson in my lap. Actually, unbeknownst to me, it floated in through my back window screen.

The Saturday night I built the campfire, I forgot to shut the back window I had opened earlier that evening for some fresh air. So, the night went on with smoke from the fire-pit slowly wafting its way past the window screen throughout the house. But because it happened little by little, my sense of smell didn’t pick up on it.

The next morning my family got ready for Sunday worship just like normal. But when we returned home for dinner, the entire house smelled like smoke! We couldn’t see any smoke, but it was obvious that smoke (and I mean a lot of it) had found its way into our house even though it was no longer visible.

At first, I asked myself, “Why didn’t any of us smell anything this morning? Was the smell not there?” But it dawned on me that the smell of smoke had actually been there since the night before. The only thing that changed was that we left the house and breathed regular air for a few hours before coming back home to the invisible surprise.

This whole scenario reminds me of how the Satan works. Typically, a temptation doesn’t hit you head-on. It most often finds a way to attack your blindside, or maybe sneaks in when you are busy or stressed and off your spiritual game for some reason.

The temptation I hate the most is the one that takes place when my guard is down. Sometimes I feel spiritually comfortable and confident that the devil couldn’t get to me even if he tried. That should probably be my first clue that I need to watch out!

The apostle Paul said, “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall (1 Corinthians 10:12. ESV).”

Many good Christians have fallen for that very reason. Little by little, pride (the bad kind) enters in to the picture. We may not even notice because it first appeared while we were doing a great job serving the Lord. We can put ourselves in danger if we think we are too strong and have too good of a relationship with God to fall for any schemes from the dark side. We can also allow ourselves to become too cozy with sin until we no longer sense it.

May you never get so used to the smell that you forget to shut your window. Have a great week!

Reach Barrett Vanlandingham at the Fort Gibson Church of Christ at (918) 478-2222 or