Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Long Con

Hi.  My name is Robin.  And I'm addicted to Netflix.  (This is where you in the audience would give me a reassuring smile and applaud.  Got it? Thanks.  I know there are some fellow Netflix addicts out there who can empathize with me. Then there are some of you that just aren't ready to admit it yet.  It's ok....it's a process.)  At first..... it was just every once in a while when I would get the remote all to myself, but before I knew it, I found myself sneaking it late at night, several nights a week. Now, it's not just me....my husband and boys join me, too.  It started with "Criminal Minds" and now we've moved on to "Lost".   I had even gotten my parents hooked up with Netflix when I was home for a visit to Tennessee a couple of weeks ago.   They lost their home the very next week in a fire after lightning struck it.  So, I guess they aren't in danger of becoming addicted for a while now.

Too soon to be joking about such a thing, you think? I was told my Dad was cracking jokes the morning after the fire.....saying they had a "little hotspot" there and all.  That's how he rolls, though, and I may have inherited some of his coping skills.  I won't get into all that, though....another day....another support group. Thoughts and prayers would be appreciated for my parents, though, as they deal with the loss of our childhood home.  Also pray they don't get overwhelmed as they rebuild and have to decide on everything from which house plan they want to build to floors and ceilings and everything in between.   We may be scheduling them for some marriage counseling before it's finished! Kidding again. Sorry...It's a condition, I tell you.

Now back to the issue at hand. I think Lecrae summed it up well when he posted on Facebook one night something to this effect:

Netflix gives you 20 seconds in between episodes to talk yourself into losing another hour of sleep.
That's precisely my problem. I talk myself into that all too often!! However, one positive has come out of this recently, an episode of Lost actually reminded me of a truth that I shouldn't but so often forget.  Just like I talk myself into "just one more episode", we talk ourselves into a lot of things.  It was an "a-ha" moment that I wanted to write down and share.  I'll try to explain how this came about from a TV show without it seeming like a segment from TV Guide. Here goes:

So, if you've never seen the show Lost, there was a plane crash and many survived but were stranded on an island. The show has both scientific and spiritual elements. There's electromagnetic fields, experiments, etc., and then there are visions and afterlife scenarios. Good vs. evil, etc.  In every episode there are also flashbacks that give you the history of each person so that you understand them better.  Can you see where one might get addicted? In fact, I'm not sure how folks who watched it on regular TV, complete with commercials, could wait a week in between episodes....much less a couple of months in between seasons!

One of the characters has a long running history of being a conman. A really, really good one. He made a statement somewhere to this effect:

The biggest con is called the long con. It's when you trick people into coming up with an idea so they think it is something they want for themselves...... that they came up with ALL on their own.

I immediately thought, "Wow....that sounds like the father of lies himself." (John 8:44)

Because I mean, really....we don't like being told what to do.....so Satan can't just come strolling up to most of us and tell us to destroy someone else or to self destruct. We have to believe it's what we want. A few examples of us talking ourselves into some things that we know either aren't good for us, or are blatantly out of God's will for us:

  • We believe we want that extra piece of cake (or for some of us...more chips and salsa) and we ignore the health impact.  
  • We want that big house.....even though our money will be super tight. The bank wouldn't lend it to us if we couldn't afford it, right? So we deny the reality of our situation and our "but I want it now" desires take control.  
  • We want that guy that makes us feel so special.  He's not perfect, but who is?  We ignore the still, small voice telling us to just wait...maybe he's not for us.
  • Maybe it's a real addiction....and I don't mean my Netflix issues. Maybe it's us telling ourselves that we have it under control....or maybe that we can't live without it and see no need to give it up, regardless of what it costs us.  
  • Maybe it's a society that values the perfect life more than human life. When a tiny human life threatens the perfect life in our minds, we deceive ourselves into thinking that this growing being with a beating heart, arms, legs, fingers and toes is not really human....it's just a blob of tissue that we can easily rid ourselves of.

Let's hone in on a bigger issue with that last one.  Just think about all that's going on in the news right now...or often being ignored in the news...with aborted babies' body parts being illegally sold for profit by a government funded entity to scientists who "humanize mice" for research. I mean REALLY??  This sounds like it could be an episode of Criminal Minds or Lost. If it were, we would watch it and be horrified. (Just google, "Planned Parenthood selling fetal body parts for profit".) Yet, it's a reality and we ignore it or worse....try to justify it by saying the research could save lives or improve our frail bodies. But what about the lives and bodies of the millions of children that have been snuffed out.....and brutally dismembered? No...that...that we ignore.  The epitome of deceiving and being deceived (2 Timothy 3:13) and a prime example of the spiritual forces of evil (Ephesians 6:12) that we forget are working around us...and against us. 

Still, we'll go on telling ourselves that we're in charge and that these are decisions we're making for ourselves.  But, it's such a con.   Becoming obsessed with what we don't/can't have and forgetting that we've been given so much and are promised so much more.....it's the oldest con known to man.  Just look at Eve in the garden of Eden who was so easily deceived into thinking she wanted something more than what she already had from that tree. She and Adam lived in PARADISE where God walked and talked with them. Yet, she was suddenly no longer satisfied with life in paradise, with Adam....or God.  It's the ultimate con and we allow it to go off our radar so much of the time. When will we learn?!

The bottom line is this...while it's true that we should be wise and on guard in our daily relationships....who we really need to keep in check is ourselves. We deceive ourselves when we come up with plans outside of God's will for our lives and then we protect that plan at any and all cost. "This is what I want, no one can tell me what I can and can not do!"  And Satan is saying, "Tell 'em girl!!"

He's our cheerleader in self deception and our biggest fan in self destruction. He is the ultimate con artist.  Encouraging us to willingly place our desires ahead of what God desires for us is his ultimate con.  When are we going to quit falling for it?

Ephesians 6:10-13  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

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