Sunday, January 04, 2009
Do you ever run out of gas in your inner tank and wonder why?
I think #3 on our list of Top 5 Under-Appreciated LifeNotes of 2008 will help you understand what might be going on--and to end it. "Dracula Days" was published in August, and maybe that's a busy enough time of year that this went comparatively unnoticed. And maybe it's because it was first published in May of 2007. Do-overs don't do well.
Anyway, here's a chance to see if it's something that you're glad to see again.
I hope you're helped.
What does a good day look like to you? How does it feel? I love it when in my day I am filled with the Spirit, who sort of activates me when I'm around people. His zeal and love and hope for people become obvious to me, and it's a delight to see how He will get that across to them through me. I love days like that.
But sometimes after a bunch of good days in row it can seem like someone snuck behind me, pulled my plug and drained the life all away. The zeal, fun and anticipation slip out of the day, and are replaced by those rousing visitors, dreariness, tedium and dread. That's a lousy day, a day of going through the motions while adding the proper amounts of pretended zeal. I don't like those days.
I call them Dracula Days.
If you’re under thirty years old, you may not be real familiar with him, but you’ve probably heard of the famous bloodsucker. In the films of many years ago, Count Dracula would seem to be a fine, up-standing citizen, someone you’d like knowing. Coming from the fictitious Transylvania, he had a magnificent accent, and I nearly always think well of those who do, even if it isn’t warranted. “Vonderful to meet choo—I am Coun Drah-koo-lah.”
Unfortunately, he could turn into a nasty, hairy bat, and swoop in through the always-open window of the unsuspecting beautiful woman. And then he’d suck the life out of her.
For the longest time, Dracula would escape suspicion because he was so, well, nice. Only after he had punctured and drained almost every vivacious and gorgeous girl would anyone finally figure it out. And when he was dragged, hissing and growling, into the sunlight, his life of taking life came to an end.
I’ve got lots of hidden Dracula’s in my days, sneaky ways by which the life I’ve been given in Christ is drained away. Do you? They’re not always easy to identify, either, because I may have grown used to them. Maybe I’ve even accepted them.
I like to watch movies at home with my daughters. But while we enjoy watching, what actually happens between us? What heart value is exchanged? We may laugh or make comments together, but what did it actually draw out of us? What did I really give my girls from me? How did we share in the hope and love and grace of God, or in the things that build us up in Christ, or how did we grow in life by the Spirit? I’m not saying that movie watching together as a family is bad or to be avoided if you’re really a Christian. I am saying that it isn’t life giving or life stimulating. Not really. In fact, it sometimes becomes a default way of entertainment, which distracts me from what really satisfies.
Or maybe it’s reading the newspaper, or going through the mail while someone is with me, or watching the news while one of my daughters sits in the chair next to me. Why not drag her onto my lap and talk or pray with her? That’s sure to stimulate life. Or maybe it’s letting Sarah do the kitchen stuff while I’m parked in front of the computer screen. Why not go out there and empty the dishwasher together? Why not ask a life-provoking question (“What does God think of you, Sarah?”), or offer something that caught my attention today about a lie of the devil I’ve been deceived into believing?
Any of these things (and simpler ones, too) are about sewing to the Spirit with other people. And what happens when you sew to the Spirit, giving Him your attention?
“For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:8 NASB)
Sowing to the flesh essentially means living through your days without the life of God—the life Jesus gave you and which the Holy Spirit now produces. I think it’s the familiar things that drain the life out of us, the mundane stuff we have to do, so we do it without thinking through it. We don’t recognize that those are puncture points.
The next time you realize you're in a Dracula Day, resist the familiar impulse to plop down in front of the T.V., or pick up a newspaper or surf the web, and go for life--real life. And there are lots of ways to do that. Turn your thoughts toward the Spirit (and nearly any kind of thought will do), bring to mind something you love about the New Covenant, or think about some incredible truth in the Bible and watch what happens. You will reap what God is all about for you--life.
"For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,. . ." (Rom 8:6, italics mine.)
It may feel awkward at first, but you'll soon notice you've got more vitality, you're more alert and with it. Not only will that Dracula Day be at an end, but you'll also be dragging his sorry carcass into the light, there to sizzle and fry.
And that's nice.