Things are not always what they seem. Last year, we were visiting friends in Little Rock, Arkansas. I was up early, and I wanted...no, I needed a cup of coffee. A large, hot cup of caffeine-laced goodness to help shake off the fog of spending the entirety of the previous day in all manner of conveyances (planes, trains and automobiles)! Being in a strange house, I didn't know where to look for the life-giving goods, so when I found a jar full of coffee grounds by the sink, I joyfully assumed our gracious host had ground them up the night before for her travel-weary house guests.
Coffee or Compost?
What I assumed was a gesture of hospitality turned out to be our host's way of "being green" and helping to save the planet. What I was actually drinking was a cup of coffee made from old, used coffee grounds which were destined for the compost pile. Come to think of it, I seem to remember that the coffee had looked a bit weak and that it had a slight aroma of egg shells. Ick.
When I was going through the process of making the coffee, scooping the grounds, pouring water, selecting my mug, I had no idea what I was doing was participating in a falsehood, a deception. What I perceived to be a part of my standard morning ritual turned out to be a rather embarrassing mistake. We all had a good laugh at my expense and we now have a great memory and story to share with our dear friends.
It made me think: how often do we participate in some activity, conversation or correspondence which at the time, seems innocuous or routine, but we later discover it was not at all what we initially thought?
You might think it's a stretch to call that small experience of deception a theft or a loss, but bear with me as I try to explain. John 10:10a says this: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy." Let me tell you about the Greek word for "steal" in that text (hopefully without sounding overly spiritual). The word is "KLEPTÓ", which translated means: to steal; absolutely, to commit a theft: Matthew 6:19; Matthew 19:18; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20; John 10:10; Romans 2:21; Romans 13:9; Ephesians 4:28. Or: transitive, to steal i. e. take away by stealth: Matthew 27:64; Matthew 28:13.
You may recall the word "kleptomaniac" which is obviously a derivative of the Greek. When the enemy comes as a thief to steal, he comes with subtlety, with stealth and with deception. We're happily going through the motions when all along, we are unwittingly picking our own pockets. Our own ignorance and complacency can lead to our own downfall.
Back to my cup of compost: my experience with drinking egg shell-laced coffee was a fairly trivial one, and as I mentioned earlier, it resulted in a funny story to share. However, many times we are so subtly deceived by the enemy that we are unaware the theft has even occurred. The enemy steals from us through derailing our lives right in front of us. He is so adept at his craft, like a pickpocket stealing a valuable item, we don't even perceive the theft. He oftentimes steals from us as individuals and as married couples in more intangible ways.
A minor inconvenience or argument can transform into a major one if we're not aware of satan's schemes and standing watch against them. Our thoughts tend to turn from truth and move towards falsehood, towards deception. He attempts to erode the foundation of our lives and relationships with subtlety and lies. The deception starts small and grows as we nurture and water the lie by believing it. Putting the Word of God deep into our hearts is the key to remaining steadfast against the attacks of the enemy.
Understanding that self-examination and being accountable to others through the filter of the Word is the only way the dark intent of the enemy can be dragged into the light. Stay on guard, be alert and always be on the lookout for the thieving attempts of the enemy!
Proverbs 4:23: Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
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