7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:7, 8 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”
Do you have a hard time getting to church on Sunday? I never cease to be amazed at how many disasters can happen in the early morning hours of the Lord’s Day. On weekdays, Susan and I get to work by 7:30 each morning—and we both live a half-hour’s drive away from our jobs. But, on Sunday it’s a struggle for us to get to church (next door to our house) at 10 a.m.
Know what the difference is? I believe with all my heart that the devil fights us “tooth and nail” on Sunday. He really doesn’t mind if we go to work each day—after all, we might pick up some bad habits there or help spread some mean gossip around the water cooler. Or maybe we’ll love our work so much that we will make it our idol, and put the love of our vocation ahead of our love for the Saviour. But Satan does not want us to go to church under any circumstances. He especially does not want us to take our children to Sunday School. So, the Enemy will drag up any stumbling block that he can to keep us from arriving at the Lord’s House on the Lord’s Day.
I think Susan and I first recognized this principle on a Sunday morning over 20 years ago. We overslept and were scrambling around trying to get dressed so that we could get to Sunday school. In the course of getting dressed, I could not find a belt anywhere. We searched high and low, and in every closet and drawer. Exasperated, Susan told me to wear a pair of suspenders instead. Well, we couldn’t find a pair of suspenders either. Finally, at her wits’ end, she said, “John, just button your coat and keep it buttoned up. And don’t move around too much when you’re preaching.” So that’s what I did.
Now here’s the most remarkable thing. When we got home from worship and started to hang up our dress clothes, everywhere we looked we found a belt for me. And in my top dresser drawer, there were two pairs of suspenders. I don’t mean to suggest that there is a man with horns in a red suit with a pitchfork and a tail who comes in our house to hide things while we’re asleep. But I do believe that the devil is real, and he works against us in any way he can to blind us to what we should see. He’s trying to upset as much as he can on Sunday morning, to keep us away from the Lord’s house.
As a pastor, people often come to talk to me about how the Devil is tormenting them with various trials and temptations. And they often tell me they didn’t have all the problems before they became Christians and started to serve the Lord. My answer to them is always the same: “If the Devil is working overtime on you, it doesn’t mean that you’re on the wrong track. On the contrary, it probably means you’re striving to do things that are right. Before you became a Christian, the Enemy didn’t need to work against you because he already had you. But now that you’re serving Jesus, you’re a threat and he’s working against you in every way he can.”
Today’s Scripture lesson (at the top) teaches us how to prevail when we’re attacked by Satan. St. James says that if we resist the Devil, he will flee from us. If we draw near to our Heavenly Father, He will draw near to us. That means that when everything goes wrong on Sunday morning, we need to ask the Lord to help us and then continue steadfastly on our course.
On every Sunday morning, the world, the flesh, and the devil are working against Christians to try to keep them away from church. On this Lord’s Day, let’s make sure the Lord wins.
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 25 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days he works at a public school.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 19) and Seth (age 16) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the Cash family once drove 30-miles-round-trip to take showers on a Sunday morning when the water went off.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to email@example.com.