The old story about the frog and the kettle (while oddly creepy) is a good analogy for how the enemy tends to move in both our world and our lives. No big announcements. No quick movements. Just a slow, crafty, gradual descent. As Lewis wrote, "the surest road to hell is the gradual one - the gentle slope, soft underfoot…" It was that strategy by which the religious leaders plotted to kill Jesus. Mark 14:1 says, "They were looking for a sly way…" And why? Power. Authority. The religious leaders could not keep their power without getting rid of Jesus, and neither can we. We live in an age of individualism and personal freedom, a culture that cannot abide by any authority larger than its own. We have been told we must be free to form our own truth which means there is no higher authority than my own. It is the road descending with a gentle slope, and we are witnessing the grim fruit being born as a result. It's hard to admit, but like the religious leaders, I am also trying to take the life of Jesus in my own heart. I still want to do what I want to do. I plot. I plan. I rationalize. Though God has prescribed a certain order to life, we sometimes disagree with it, and because we think our own way perfectly acceptable, we do what we want. We essentially believe God cannot be any wiser than we are. How foolish and arrogant. We are children who cannot fathom why it is not acceptable to eat candy for dinner. We simply don't know what our Father knows. The path of life is found in yielding our power to the only One worthy to hold it. So, where have the cunning, sly ways of the enemy encroached into your life? As you still struggle to have YOUR way, where might you be plotting to overthrow the life of Jesus in you?
Typically in Florida, the weatherman announces a hurricane is coming and the response is a collective, "Yawn." We just don't do much to get ready, but with few exceptions, that seems to be our approach in life. We live in such a hurry that thoughtful preparation is not high on our list, and that's certainly true spiritually. In Mark 13, before Jesus even leaves the first time, He tells the disciples that there are things they need to prepare for before he comes the SECOND time. He tells us that certain things are on the way well before He comes, so "Get ready. Be on guard. Watch out!" Yet, we live as if we have all the time in the world. The truth is, we don't! Lives are at stake and Kingdom business is at hand. If we don't know when He's coming, then our task is to live with greater spiritual urgency. Such living is not a burden, but a blessing as we live with Kingdom purpose in every dimension of our lives. Further, when things get a little hairy, and they WILL, He says, "Don't be afraid or anxious. The Master is coming." We know the Master is both righteous and good, so when He comes, He will bring all things under HIs rule. Yes, we will have to wait, but we can live now with security and confidence, serving others as we seek to be a foretaste of His coming Kingdom.