In today’s world, immediacy is the name of the game. And it’s everywhere around us: blazing fast internet speeds, overnight FedEx delivery, laser hair removal, Hot Pockets, and the like. If you can’t get it quick, it pretty much isn’t worth getting at all.
I guess this is why the things that move slowly in this world stand in such graphic contrast to the pace of the surrounding environment. Things like a hand-written letter are a rarity when someone opens up their mailbox nowadays and I’m personally taken by surprise when I’m blessed enough to get one.
And since time-occupying things like this are so uncommon in the modern world we live in, they often have an effect on us that we are unable to ignore. Case in point: Thanksgiving dinner is always worth talking about because it usually takes all day to prepare. Or gloating about finishing a 1000-page novel becomes unavoidably commonplace because it probably takes triple the time to read in comparison to a normal book. In short, the more time, the more noteworthy and influential.
A friend of a friend of mine started up a restaurant in Orlando, Florida (the chain-restaurant capital of the world), specializing in slow-cooked pork barbeque. He goes to pain-staking lengths to make sure that the food he serves is quality meat, cooked slowly over an absurd amount of time. Why? Because when it’s cooked slower, it tastes better. And his deliberate actions in barbeque preparation have paid off in spades. Every day, there is a line out the door from when they open to when they close. People are willing to wait in line for that slow-cooked pork barbeque in 98 degree weather with 100% humidity because they know they are getting a quality-made tasty product.
Unfortunately, our enemy, the Evil One, has also adopted this slow-moving strategy when it comes to influencing humanity to walk toward the direction that leads to destruction. Let me explain what I mean…
Somebody once told me if I were confronted with the opportunity to commit an egregious sin right now, I probably wouldn’t. However, if the idea of that sin were steadily fed to me over a long period of time, bit-by-bit, I’d be more likely to give in and succumb to the temptation of that sin because of the nature by which it was presented—the slow creep. He was right when he said this because it happens to people all the time.
Sadly, our culture is full of examples of individuals who have claimed loyalty to Christ, yet over time, have taken the all-too-familiar face-plant from grace in the public eye. I could probably go on and on about who did what over a certain period of time, but I won’t. The truth is it’s extremely easy to point fingers at the countless number of people who have royally screwed up and should have been a better example for Jesus, but quite frankly, we’re all in the same boat.
At the end of every episode of the 1980’s cartoon series, G.I. Joe, there was a kind of “public service announcement” for the kids watching. It could be anything from eating right to refraining from swimming in a pond when a lightning storm is coming. The cool thing was at the end of each quick lesson, one of the characters from the show would always end the program by saying, “Knowing is half the battle.” This statement is particularly true when it comes to the slow creep.
If you are completely unaware of the fact that you are slowly being attacked by an Enemy who is looking to utterly destroy you, the odds of a continued thriving walk with God are not at all in your favor. However, if you are cognizant of the Evil One and the tools he uses to slowly chip away at your passion for godly living, you will know how to appropriately defend yourself from his persistent assaults. Everyone has “chinks in their armor,” so to speak. We all have weaknesses. But if we’re aware that our Enemy knows the nature and location of those weaknesses, we can set ourselves up for growth by shielding ourselves from Satan’s attacks on our soft spots.
If at one point, you trusted in Christ to pay the penalty for your sins and began following Him, you became a serious threat to the Evil One. You essentially painted a big red spiritual target on your chest. I’m not going to lie—Satan has a lot of ammunition to fire at that target in order to take you out of the game and try to put you on display as just another example of someone who let the slow creep gradually devour them. I shudder when I think about the possibility of that happening to me, but all I can do is choose to walk by faith today and pray for the continued grace of God to direct and empower me as I travel the route that leads me on into the future. The same goes for you.
So now you know. And knowing is half the battle.