by Clark Roush, Ph.D.

The other day I looked down while wearing a light sweater and saw something odd and white sticking out. I quickly plucked it off my wardrobe to behold that it was a hair from our bulldog. I was somewhat puzzled since our four-legged family member had not been on the sweater. I soon realized that she had been near the closet that housed the day’s apparel. Because of her proximity to my clothes she had left her mark.

I couldn’t help but draw a direct correlation to how we wind up with attitudes, actions, and verbiage we shouldn’t – we allow Satan proximity to our eyes, ears, minds, and hearts. He works subtly – just like my bulldog. I don’t ever see Bella’s hair “flying,” but apparently she can still leave her presence even when I don’t notice anything. Isn’t that how Satan often works? 

We don’t take careful notice and before long, we’ve allowed him more access than we intended, and often with pernicious consequences. We didn’t mean to! I didn’t think anything bad would happen! I didn’t think what I was doing was all that wrong! Oh the things we tell ourselves that enable our unholy behavior!

I truly believe that we do not often set out to allow him access – I just think we’re sometimes careless and don’t realize the effect the Evil One can have on us. I don’t think we’re intentionally bad – I just don’t think we’re as intentionally good / careful as we could be. Wouldn’t our lives be so much easier if we practiced Phil. 4:8? A later epistle tells us to “resist the Devil.” Doesn’t that mean get (and stay) as far away as possible?

I think we have a tendency to try to keep one foot at the Cross, and the other in the world. We use phrases like “it’s not that bad” (which inherently means it isn’t also that good), or “it won’t do much harm” (it won’t do much good either), or “what’s really the harm?” (what’s really the good?)

This is far from me scolding – this is me encouraging because I know how easy it is for me to give things that are not from above more proximity in my life than I should. I think about Jesus, in the flesh, on earth – he was tempted as we are, yet without sinning. He really wanted to be that close to God! Brutal reality is sometimes I just don’t want to be!

Let’s try to insure that Jesus and His ways are what we allow close enough to us to leave their mark. I doubt it can make us perfect, but it will certainly make us more like Him. I think he gave His life so I wouldn’t have to give in to the human nature I have. I think it can be supplanted with the mind of Christ (Phil 2), but it will have to be intentional! I am thankful for his loving grace and tender mercy. I will try not to stain them by allowing the wrong things proximity to my spiritual entity.