Monday, May 16, 2011
Sometimes after a bunch of good days in row, days of Spirit-filled love and effectiveness around people, it can seem like someone pulled the plug on them and drained the life all away…slowly. The fun begins to slip, and the mundane, life-as-it-has-to-be takes its place. Pretty soon the days are all about going through the motions, while adding the proper amounts of postured zeal. But on those days you know you really don’t have it anymore. 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 Dracula, 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 to know. 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 Count 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 nice. Only after he had punctured the neck and drained the life out of almost every vivacious and gorgeous girl would anyone figure it out. And when he was finally dragged, hissing and growling, into the sunlight, his life of taking life came to a fiery end.
I’ve got lots of hidden Dracula’s in my days, sneaky ways by which the life I’ve been given in Christ seems to drain 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 talk about something that caught my attention today concerning a lie of the devil that 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.
Next time you have to do the laundry, or clear the table, or when you feel fatigued after a full day of work, resist the familiar impulse to plop down in front of the TV, or pick up a newspaper, or surf the web, and go for life—real life. 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 those Dracula Days 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.