“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” 2 Cor. 10:5
My kid brother, despite years of rebellion and unruliness as a child, despite making it appear like he’d never move past an obsession with sports, girls, and brews, is today a phenomenally successful physician’s assistant at a nationally renowned orthopedic and spinal care clinic where he performs surgeries. Yes, I’m proud! He’s also had his fair share of entrepreneurial successes – going all the way back. From selling fire extinguishers door to door to shoveling driveways as a kid, he knew how to make a buck. As an adult, he’s patented an amazing medical device and invested in a ski resort area parking space entrepreneurship. He also has a gorgeous wife and an incredibly athletic, creative, and joyful trio of boys. When it comes to financial endeavors and successes, however, nothing stands out in my mind more than when he discovered he could get my Dad to pay him a nickel for every fly he swatted when we took our annual beach trips. Wonders never cease. Lots of flies’ lives did, however.
I couldn’t help but recall the fly swatting enterprise one day when I realized the devil was coming at me once again with one of his greatest tactics in trying to pull me away from God and get me to be unfruitful in my ministry work. He was throwing thoughts at me from every which way, like annoying, irritating, distracting, filthy flies. For years, his ploy was to convince me every single thing I needed to do for the rest of my life needed to be done NOW. I would start in one direction, then another thought would come. Boom, off I went. Then another thought. Something else I should do NOW. Off I’d go again. I’d go chasing after everything NOW. Until I was rushing all over the place, unfocused, distraught, overwhelmed, discouraged, confused, panicked, overwrought, and convinced I was such a failure I should quit. I would totally forget about God in the midst of it all. That day was different. Though I wouldn’t make a single nickel in my new endeavor, I started swatting at the thoughts like they were flies! Rather than becoming an anxious and unfocused mess, I shut the enemy down by swatting the flies and choosing to trust, seek, and follow the Lord instead. Such peace instead of chaos.
I didn’t end up a single nickel richer, but I couldn’t help but smile knowing the devil got lots of swats that day. And would get plenty more in the future. The devil wanted me distracted. Instead, I ended up peaceful and focused on God. By swatting flies. Who would have known my brother’s nickel-for-a-fly-swatting enterprise would be such an inspiration decades later! Maybe I owe my kid brother a nickel or two, huh?