I’ve been a husband for three and a half years, a dad to our oldest son for two and a half years, and a dad to our youngest son for seven months. Getting married, the arrival of our first son, and bringing our youngest son home after a week in the NICU, where I felt much like a yo-yo at times, are some of the happiest, most joy-filled moments of my life. Looking back, I think Satan was pretty happy about those moments, too.
Being in church and having anything close to resembling a walk with God since we got married, and especially since we had our first son, has been beyond a challenge. Some of this is because of a real need for grace, like when my wife was breastfeeding throughout the night and around the clock during the day.
But some of the challenge of maintaining our spiritual walk was that not going to church just became habit. I’ve been thinking a lot this week about what happened over the past few years to get my wife and me to this point, when before we got married we were both heavily involved in church and loved studying the Bible and talking about Theology. Then today it hit me, like something out of the Screwtape Letters: Satan will rejoice with you for the good things in your life if he thinks he can use those good gifts from God to help distract you from being on mission and derail your pursuit of Christ.
I first heard the words “Christian Hedonism” in John Piper’s book “Don’t Waste Your Life” in my early twenties. While secular Hedonism is all about doing what makes you happy, Christian Hedonism is the belief that ultimate joy is found only in pursuing Christ and the glory of God, both in a universal and in a personal sense.
This is why Satan so desperately wants to derail us, because if he can stop us from focusing on Christ for long enough then we will stop having the joy that comes from that pursuit. Satan is all too happy to not stand in the way of good things coming to us if it means he can twist those gifts into something that takes our focus off Christ, thereby robbing us of our joy. And when that happens we become susceptible to all manner of sin because we have lost sight of the big picture and long to feel that joy again, if only for a moment.
So, single people. Married people. Fight! Fight like your life depends on it!
Don’t take for granted the time you have. Pour yourself out for others, yes. Pore over Scripture as often and for as long as you can, even if it seems a trivial amount of time. God is faithful. Develop a robust prayer life. Wage war for your family and friends and the lost you have yet to meet. Surround yourself with people who will challenge you to grow personally, spiritually, pastorally, and Theologically.
Fight for your walk with God as if your life and the lives of your future spouse, spouse, and children depend on it!
Because, believe me, it does.
Soli Deo Gloria