It was the same red light area, the same bars, the same music, some of the same faces I see night after night after night, so why did the streets seem so sinister as I walked home on Sunday evening? It wasn’t fear, but I experienced a definite dis-ease as I walked my normal route, and I wondered why. What was different?
Annie has said that you cannot fight an enemy that you find attractive. Because of Jesus’ covering, I’m not attracted to the darkness on the streets of Bangkok. The few times here when the enemy has tried to get me with off-the-wall temptations, by the kindness of Jesus, I recognized them as weak attempts to snare me by an enemy my Savior already defeated. Just a quick loving glance on Jesus, and the temptations go as quickly as they came. When I’m walking in the power of the Spirit, sin no longer has power over me (1). But, perhaps as I walk in this environment day by day, I can begin to operate as if the shadows are benign. They are not. Sin is a devastating cancer, and it’s dragging people into hell all around me (2).
As I walked the streets the other night, it was as if my eyes had been opened to see how bad the situation is. I looked into people’s eyes and, even if they were laughing, I saw through the temporary pleasure. It’s a sham. Counterfeit pleasure that doubles as a trap. People are living as slaves to their god of the moment – money and pleasure (3). All of the illicit sex, drugs, alcohol, fast cars, and high society in the world deliver only short-lived delight. When the buzz wears off, they encounter a hollow emptiness. Those who love the world are being ensnared by the god of this age (4). And, make no mistake – the god of this age does not love us. He’s an enemy to the human race wanting only to deceive and destroy us (5).
If he promises us freedom, he cages us in his lies. When he says we can be our own leaders, he ties puppet strings to us – just so he can call the shots. No matter what delight or power he offers, in the end, he can only deliver death (6). He’s the father of lies and he’s doomed to destruction, so his followers are bound up in lies and doomed with him.
I’m glad for the fresh perspective on the streets the other night. It was kind of the true Lord Jesus to remind me that every day, I walk through a war zone. The people I engage with my eyes, smiles, and conversation risk becoming casualties of that war. Our world, and my neighborhood in particular, has become a den of debauchery. But, the good news is that where the god of this world works overtime to tie people to lies and destruction, Jesus can and does bring complete freedom, replacing the tyrannical control of satan with the leadership of a loving, relational Lord who selflessly gives of Himself to work all things together for the good of His followers (7).
There’s only one Lord worth following. His name is Jesus. Let us be diligent to offer Him to those around us who need to know Him!
What about you, friends, are you still flirting with the world? Lusting after its glitz and glitter? Or, are you inviting Jesus to be your only Lord? You can’t have it both ways (8, 9), but if you really know Him, you’ll never regret making Jesus your Lord.
“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life…” –Deuteronomy 30:19-20