by Brenda Kuseski
In his book, The Presence, Alec Rowlands tells of a sermon he preached:
To prepare, I went to a nearby amusement arcade and rented one of those pop-up gopher-and-mallet machines…except this particular machine didn’t feature gophers; it actually had little horned cartoon demons with red capes and forked tongues. Just like more traditional gopher machines, the demons popped up randomly, and the idea was to knock them back down by bashing them on the head with the mallet.
You can imagine the eyes of the congregation on Sunday morning when the ushers rolled this machine out on the platform at the start of the sermon and plugged it in with a long extension cord. I started feeding in quarters while talking about the futility of trying to deal with sin by suppressing evil desires whenever they pop up.
At first, I was marginally successful at beating the demons down. But after a while, as the game is programmed to do, they started popping up faster than I could bash them. After a while, all I could do was concentrate on just one or two. I pounded and pounded, but whenever I managed to strike one, others would pop up somewhere else.
Finally, the lights flashed and the machine’s siren sounded. I had lost the game. I threw the hammer down and said, “This is exactly how many of us try to live the Christian life, fighting a losing battle to keep sin under control. We can manage to knock down a few illicit desires for a short while. But inevitably others pop up to take their place. Eventually, they pop up faster than we can bash them. It’s a losing proposition. There must be a better way to live than by simply using our own willpower. There is: it is the victorious life that flows out of a heart transformed by close proximity to God.
We don‘t need more information or more good works or even better accountability. We need an experience of the love of God—one that warms our hearts and convinces us at the core of our being that God is love. When we seek His presence—waiting, resting, soaking—we are dissolved and dismantled by His love for us. –Adapted
Ps. 27:8 “When you said, ‘Seek my face,’ my heart said to you, ‘your face, Lord , I will seek.’”