Tripwires are those very strategically placed strings of wire that are connected to some kind of deterrent. Sometimes they are connected to a bunch of noise makers so it will warn someone of an intruder, and sometimes they are connected to a trap to capture, maim, or kill an intruder. Satan uses tripwires a lot in our lives. The problem is Satan has had eons to perfect his camouflage. He knows exactly what will trip us up the best, but he also knows how to distract us from seeing the wire in the first place. How often are we going through life with everything going so well, and all of a sudden we’re in a net hanging above the jungle floor? Do you know what Satan uses to distract you from your purpose and God’s path?
Remember in The Wizard of Oz all of the times Dorothy, Scarecrow, and the Tin Man were distracted from the yellow brick road? The poppies seemed the most harmless detour, and they almost didn’t make it. So many books use this same analogy. Just stay on the path. It seems so easy, but then something shiny catches our eye, and we veer left instead of continuing on, or something that looks like a shortcut ends up turning us in the opposite direction.
Maybe the first question we have to ask ourselves is, “Do I care?” Do we want to be living lives that are fully given over to God? Do we want people to see Jesus in us because we are radiating love and grace? My prayer as you read this is that your desire is to live out your faith in ways that shine Christ’s love to the people around you. That you realize that just going to church is not enough. That living your life the way God wants you to be living is the very best even when it’s difficult.
Identifying our weak spots can help us stay alert. Knowing the things Satan uses over and over to distract us can help us turn back around more quickly when we notice we’re wandering off. I know exactly what kind of movie I cannot watch if I want to fall asleep at night. I know going to the grocery store on an empty stomach is a bad idea. Do you know your weak spots? Do you know the things Satan uses time and time again to distract you from the things God would have you do? How often do we ignore those tripwires? 1 Peter 5:8 reminds us to “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” We have to stay alert.
As we grow in our faith and allow the Holy Spirit to work in us, those tripwires start glowing, and we can avoid them. We can also see the detours for the worthless things they are, and we won’t even bother giving them a second glance. Peter’s change from denying Jesus in John 18 to preaching boldly in Acts 2 came from the Holy Spirit. The eloquence and boldness were not from Peter but from God. We cannot follow Christ without His help, and Peter is a great example of this. The change is extraordinary and inspiring.
But you know what? While knowing our weak spots can help us keep from tripping in the first place, another important thing to remember is that there is always, always grace. When we’re stuck in the net, God wants us to see the way out. He doesn’t count the times we have tripped, lost our way, or gotten trapped. He wants us to remember He is always there to help pick us back up again and point us in the right direction. Peter knew this well. He fell flat on his face in a very big way, and Jesus still welcomed him back. Don’t stay on the ground. Don’t stay in the net.