Two or three times a day, caller ID gives me a heads-up that the person calling is probably nefarious. “Scam Likely,” it warns me. What a great time saver. When I see this warning, I don’t even bother picking up the phone. This could also lead to the warning being a money saver too if I was ever caught with my guard down and fell prey to those scammers.
Oh man, I really wish life came with a “scam likely” warning. You know, when things that aren’t going to be beneficial for you or me had a warning sign. It would be great if a siren sounded the moment we used work to give us our identity or started a relationship that probably isn’t healthy for us. Maybe red and blue lights could start flashing when we turn to food or alcohol to reduce our stress. What if the store’s mannequin held a sign telling us that another pair of shoes or a cute purse wouldn’t fill the emptiness we feel?
To be fair, God does tell us to be careful about scams—especially from Satan. The problem is that our enemy actually “masquerades as an angel of light.” Well, that’s bad news because “angel of light” sounds like the complete opposite of “scam likely.” The things that hurt us and our lives; relationships; mental wellness; and physical, financial, and spiritual health don’t always come with a warning. Instead, Satan’s scams look like they are totally normal, fine, and acceptable, so we let our guard down.
But it’s not all Satan’s fault. I scam myself too when I put off one, two, or eight mornings of Bible reading and start my day with Twitter and Facebook instead. Sometimes I act like controlling all the situations is a sure way to guarantee that nothing bad will ever happen to my family. Lately I catch myself skimping on prayers (or skipping them altogether) and then wondering why I don’t feel quite as close to my God.
This is why I loved—and needed!—Pastor Mike’s message this week. (God is so good at giving us the right message at the right time, isn’t he?) He reminds us that God is not a scam but instead is the true light, the only one source for peace and fulfillment, the only one who keeps every promise.
P.S. You can watch the whole message, but here’s my favorite part: “Because he’s God, he does what he says. And because he is all-knowing, when he makes you a promise, he knows exactly the situation when he will fulfill it. And because he is all-powerful, there’s nothing that gets in the way and makes him run out of energy or his ability to keep his promise. And because he’s eternal and he stands outside of time, when he says something to you today, he already sees the fulfilment of it in the future. And because God is holy, which means sinless and flawless, he can’t break a promise.”
Linda Buxa is a writer and editor who doesn’t love scams but has been working on knowing that God’s got this under control too: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20).