In one of my favorite haiku, Koboyashi Issa writes: “In this world, we walk on the roof of hell, gazing at flowers.” As I sat in the auditorium learning about the dragon in Revelation, this poem flooded my thoughts. This “dragon” will deceive millions, promising peace and fulfillment only to unveil his true identity when it is too late. And while the prospect of that deception weighs heavily on my heart, what strikes me most is that it is already happening.
Every day, we spend our time gazing at the very “flowers” that Issa spoke of. We need no outward showing of demonic presence in America; we only need our “stuff.” We need to keep up, to portray perfect lives full of materialistic prosperity and fabricated happiness. We can’t simply enjoy a moment; we must document it for our “viewers” on social media. We can’t have a dinner conversation because that would mean checking out of our digital relationships, and we simply can’t miss something on our news feeds. We have baby-faced teenage girls feeling the need to contour their makeup and an average credit card debt that would match a millionaire’s pocket book. We are obsessed with perfection. Don’t believe me? We even photoshop babies. BABIES!
But are we happy?
We run toward these things and miss the God who offers us the peace and fulfillment that we seek. Rather than investing our time in the eternal, we swipe our biological debit cards for momentary satisfaction that leaves us empty and craving more.
So how can we overcome the busyness, the desires, the worry, the wrong choices, and virtually everything that distracts us from the true purpose of our existence?
In Psalm 119:133, David prays this prayer: “Establish my footsteps in Your Word, and do not let any iniquity have dominion over me.” Here, I believe, is the answer and my prayer focus for 2017.
When I think of footsteps that are “established,” I imagine hanging from a rock wall with no foothold versus the surety of steps. Established footsteps mean that someone has gone before me, that the steps were designed with purpose and lead somewhere. Established footsteps mean that I can walk confidently, free of worry and sure of my destination. But let’s go a step further in this…
“Establish my footsteps in Your Word” takes on an even more important meaning. It means that I can go deep; I can know God fully and intimately, and that I can be sure of every part of my life because my understanding is not based on the world or even my own emotion; it is based on the ultimate and unalterable Truth of the Living God. How incredible to know that His Spirit allows me to know the deepest truths of the universe, allows me to fellowship with the One who spoke words and created the world, and allows me to know how fully and deeply He loves me. There is no greater assurance than this.
Finally, David prays that no “iniquity have dominion over me.” There are so many things vying for our attention in this world. Some of them are inherently evil while others can be used by satan for evil. We must continually ask the Lord to search our hearts and reveal these things that threaten to dethrone Jesus in our lives. So often we focus more on repentance and praying for forgiveness, but David is proactive here. The Spirit gives us everything we need to live holy lives, but we MUST be in communion with Him. How can we be? Through prayer and reading the Word. Only through this can we overcome the fleshly things that war against our spirits and distract us from Christ.
So I urge you, brothers and sisters in Christ, to connect to the source of your power, your comfort, your peace, and your fulfillment. Spend time in the Word and in prayer, communing with the Lord every day. He has designed you for this, and you must not lose focus.
The shiny things of this world were never meant to bring you peace or happiness; they are but enticements into the dragon’s lair.