Trips, Traps And Pitfalls: How To Avoid Them So Your Faith Survives.
How do you avoid the trips, traps and pitfalls of the hunter so your faith survives through every season of life? Don’t wallow in the mud!
Elks like to wallow in mud to cool off and keep away pesky flies. However, this is the first place where a hunter looks for an elk to blood trail. In the same way, to be free from any more wounding, we need to stop wallowing in our past hurts and let God heal our wounds. If we want to turn our wounds into scars and step into everything God has for us, we need to quit rolling around in the sludge and slush of gossip, slander and comparison and develop a maturity that shines out of us.
The Apostle Paul reminds us in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 what qualifies and disqualifies us for leadership service. He points out that we are not to become arrogant. Other words for arrogant are this, assuming, pretentious, smug, on an ego trip, uppity, superior, proud and puffed up. Why is this so important? Because it’s your character that will sustain you, not your giftings as a leader, and when we let arrogance dictate the way we lead others, then nobody wins, and we all sink into the mud.
A genuine faith lets people know that regardless of all the mud that the enemy has thrown at you, your faith has survived. This reminds people you’re using the strength that God gave you as a leader, for service and not for status, always looking for the good of those around you. (Romans 15:2) The blood trail the hunter, Satan has been following suddenly dries up when you have learned to lean on God to heal every wound that has been inflicted on you.
Paul reminds us to be honourable so we, ‘avoid the trips, traps and pitfalls of the devil.’ (1 Tim 3:7) Because there is nothing honourable when the mud of gossip, slander or comparison gets on you. There is no bravery or valour in speaking negatively behind closed doors or behind people’s backs, scratching those wounds until they bleed out again, ready for the hunter, Satan to lead us into the dense darkness of self-righteousness so he can shoot more poisonous arrows into us.
Trips, traps and pitfalls are designed to cause distrust among believers and are schemes from the enemy to keep your faith smeared and leave you discouraged as you wallow around in the thick mud of mistrust. Pitfalls are traps designed to dull your effectiveness as a believer and to muddy the waters on your relationship with God.
The hunter, Satan, knows that mud sticks, and he is happy to send the flies and the pesky pestilence to keep you immersed in the wallowing hole, bathing your wounds in all of your regret and past mistakes. Psalm 24:4 reminds us that ‘only those whose hands have been washed and hearts made pure, men and women who are not given to lies or deception.’ Lies and deception are what hunters use to trap elks, and throughout my faith journey, there have been many times where Satan has used trips, traps and pitfalls to give me every right and justification to wallow in the mud as I fell for his lies and deception, leaving wounds to bleed out. I’ve wondered sometimes why I had been on the receiving end of people’s mudslinging attacks over my integrity, faith and character, and I’ve certainly felt the bitter sting of rejection from the very people I have called ‘friend’ leaving me face down in the mud.
However, the wallowing hole is not where God wants me to be. I am not effective as a leader when I’m spending all my time covered in the mud of regret and despair. And God doesn’t want you getting stuck in that mud pit either, dear friend. When we bring our past hurts, pain and disappointment into the light of what Jesus did for us on that hill at Cavalry when He took the punishment for our suffering and pain while we were still lost, broken and wounded, we realize and understand that we could never become arrogant or assuming or pretentious or smug or proud or puffed up in our thinking, otherwise our faith would not survive through all the seasons of life.
So, take my advice, don’t become so stuck in the mud of your past so badly that you cannot move forward into all God has for you. Let Jesus wash your wounds clean and let His redeeming blood turn those wounds into scars. Wallowing isn’t for you, dear friend, and if anyone can understand and have the empathy of the pain from past hurts and learn to forgive people for what they’ve done, it’s me.
Forgive, move on and learn to look out for and avoid the trips, traps and pitfalls of the hunter of the wallowing hole, and stand on Philippians 1:6, ‘I am confident that God will be faithful to complete the good work that He began in me.’
Believe it, live it!