Last year and the year before that, I was a homeschooling mom. I have three boys, so this was a difficult task when I first started out. My older two were in fourth and first grade and then I had a toddler who was two. Sounds like a recipe for stress, doesn’t it? Well, I certainly had days where I was earning future gray hairs. But as time went on, we hit our stride. I had to learn when and how to distract my sweet
nightmare toddler so that the other two could get some work done. I sometimes took the easy route and turned on Elmo’s World or (God help me) Dora, the Explorer. But I also tried to distract him with little crafts, stickers, or coloring pages. It’s so precious, I know. But this morning I was reading a book by Steve Sampson titled “You Can’t Use Me Today, Lord…I Don’t Feel Spiritual” and in the book there’s a short chapter about how the devil likes to try to hand Christians coloring books. When I first saw the section called Satan’s Coloring Books, I giggled because of the mental picture I immediately got of Satan in a diaper and onesie with a binkie in his mouth sitting at a miniature table doodling in a coloring book. But I sobered up really quickly when I reached the author’s point. His point was that DISTRACTIONS are the devil’s number one strategy against the Christian. It’s like he’s going around looking for people to give his “coloring books” to.
With my toddler, I needed to distract and pacify him in order to get on with the plans for the other kids who really needed to learn something. My two year old was temporarily distracted and satisfied even though he really wasn’t doing anything productive. His energy was expended for a useless purpose. As Christians, there are lots of ways to get distracted in our spiritual walk with God. And I’m really not talking about tv, video games, or other hobbies (that would be the wrong audience in this case!) What I’m getting at is when we as Christians, get on the latest bandwagon with debates or hot topics and expend silly amounts of energy getting worked up or energized arguing about them. When we are busy boycotting the latest company because of a rumor we heard that they are secretly worshiping Satan, that’s a “coloring book”. Arguing about whether or not Christians should read Harry Potter books because it’s witchcraft or buy Ben and Jerry’s ice cream because they give a portion of their funds to the gay community are “coloring books”. Getting caught up in senseless debates is us feeling useful for the Kingdom, but it’s really not being useful at all. It’s a distraction keeping us from the real work that could be getting done for the Lord.
Don’t misunderstand. There are times when it’s appropriate to take a stand on the Word or present your opinion about Godly principles. But when we spend all our time in vain arguments about what a fellow Christian should or should not be doing, the devil really likes that. Because then we are just expending precious energy fighting nothing instead of channeling that energy into prayer and efforts to increase the Kingdom. Arguing or grand-standing doesn’t typically achieve results. We may feel we’re being productive, but in reality, it’s just the devil getting us out of the way for awhile.
You’ve heard of the story of Chicken Little, right? He’s the cute little chick that gets hit on the noggin with a nut from a tree and thinks the sky is falling. And in turn, he runs around yelling to all who will hear him about how the world is ending. Let’s not have the Chicken Little mentality! We don’t have to run around in a frenzy and jump on every rumor or bandwagon in order to accomplish God’s will. It only brings more attention to what we think we’re fighting against instead of bringing people’s attention to Jesus. Ephesians 6:12 “For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in heavenly realms.” And further on in verse 18, “Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere.” It doesn’t say, “Be persistent in your arguments.” Nope. And even more in 2 Timothy 2:23-24, “Don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. The Lord’s servants must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone. They must be able to teach effectively and be patient with difficult people.”
So I’ll just speak for myself here…I do NOT want to be coloring in Satan’s coloring books. I don’t want to be busy all the while thinking that I’m doing something purposeful for God when I’m really just being distracted. The devil isn’t threatened by busyness, only activity that is directed by the Holy Spirit. Before I get angry or busy arguing about the latest “issue” in society, I want to ask myself if it’s truly worth the Lord’s time. Am I defending the faith and pressing into the Kingdom with prayer? Or am I simply coloring away and becoming distracted from what’s truly important?