I have a book. Shocker, I know. It’s titled, Howdunit Forensics: A Guide for Writers by D.P. Lyle, M.D.
In chapter 8, Dr. Lyle discusses Asphyxia: Depriving the Body of Oxygen. Trust me, people, I’m going somewhere, just hang on and breathe deep (pun intended).
There are several ways to deprive someone of oxygen, but as I read through it, the Spirit began to speak to me turning what I read into something spiritual. And I want to share that with you.
Today we’re talking about ways the enemy tries to suffocate you, spiritually.
Environmental Suffocation: “…if the oxygen content of the air is deficient, it is of little use to the body. Normal air is approximately 21 percent oxygen. When this percentage drops to 10 to 15 percent, judgment and coordination suffer…”
The enemy studies us. Creepy, I know. Our weaknesses become apparent to him. Think for a moment about some of yours. I personally have more than one.
Let me tell you one I don’t have. I’m not tempted to gamble (but I never say never and guard myself anyway). I live near casinos, but the thought of spending money, that I’ll probably lose, makes me nauseated because I’d rather spend the money on something I’ll have forever, like house décor or books!
|photo credit: Grant Cochrane/freedigitalphotos|
But there are people who fight the urge to take their paycheck to the casinos every day. Those who don’t fight it, don’t understand it. When my stomach is full, I fight the urge to go back for one more plate, because it just seems so good. And I usually lose that fight. Therefore, I may not have gambled away my money, but I have poured away my self-control and sinned. It’s called gluttony. It really is a sin and not a social faux pas. I’m guilty of it often. Those who don’t fight it say things like, “Just push back from the table. Just stop eating.” If you struggle with it, you understand the difficulty and people like that make it worse not better. An excellent bible study for this can be found here, by Dee Brestin. And here, the Lord’s Table.
And some women and men struggle with insecurity and their identity. They want to be noticed, loved, and wanted (which is good thing–God made us that way, so we would want Him). And this is the example I’m using today because we live in an adulterous generation.
What is spiritual Environmental Suffocation?
Molly is in her 30’s. She’s been married over ten years, has two children and loves her family, her church, and God. She teaches on Wednesday nights–the girls’ class on purity. She reads her Bible and truly loves Jesus. She wants to do something wonderful for the Kingdom, but she’s not sure what that is yet. She’s been asking God.
Molly goes to work Monday through Friday, just like her husband and on the weekends, they work around the house, shuffle kids to programs and sports and maybe catch a movie once a month as a date night.
One Sunday, Molly fits into a new dress and she’s proud of the few pounds she’s lost. She takes extra care with her make-up and even wears a shoe with a heel! When she steps out of her bedroom, her husband, who loves her very much says, “You look nice.”
Nice? Really? Her heart plummets, but she smiles and say, “Thanks. It’s new.”
After church she and her husband decide to go for a drive, like old times. They laugh, hold hands. He even kisses her knuckles a few times like when they were first dating.
On Monday, Molly wears the same dress to work. Getting her money’s worth. Chris, an attractive man–married– drops a few papers on her desk, makes small talk about little league and as he’s leaving he says, “That dress looks great on you.”
Not nice. Great. And Molly’s heart does something odd…it skips a beat. Someone looked at her and found her attractive.
The oxygen level just went down a few percents.
It was subtle. She didn’t even realize it. But on Tuesday, she takes extra care when she gets ready and lingers before her husband as he sips his coffee. “Have a good day, I’ll be home in time for dinner. Love you.” He kisses her cheek, knowing not to smudge her lipstick, and leaves.
At ten a.m. Chris blows through the office, a frown on his face. He didn’t notice her. But Molly liked the way that felt. So she follows him to the coffee pot. “You okay?”
She presses, and he tells her about the fight with his wife.
The oxygen level just went down another percent.
*You don’t share intimate details of your life with a person of the opposite sex. It bonds you emotionally.
After the conversation, and good, godly advice from Molly, Chris says, “Did you do something different with your hair?”
As the weeks progress, something happens. Molly feels guilty over her feelings for Chris. She’s looking forward to work just to see him. It’s nothing, she just likes the fact she’s being noticed as more than a decade old wife and mother. And she’s helping because some of her advice she’s given Chris has worked. He said so himself. Right? I mean, she’s a Christian who loves God and would never do something like that.
“Hey, you want to grab some lunch? We can take separate cars so it doesn’t look bad.”
The oxygen level has just plummeted to about 10% causing judgment to suffer.
And in a few more weeks of that a full-blown affair has taken place. It’s been going on emotionally for awhile, but one day instead of lunch, they end up at a hotel.
“…below 10 percent loss of consciousness occurs, and at around 8 percent death is all but assured.”
This is how the enemy suffocates us environmentally. He uses settings to trap us. It’s subtle.
He slowly takes away the oxygen level. Until we’re operating in the flesh. We like the way whatever he’s dangling at us feels. We stop praying because we don’t like the conviction. We stop reading the Bible for the same reasons. We don’t switch on praise music in the car.
The levels continue to drop. Until, we refuse to hear the wooing of God.
“… he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.” Proverbs 28:14
Had Chris come onto her in a huge flirtatious way, she probably would have seen the red flags and ran. Chris didn’t see her neediness, she was only helping him and yeah, she looked pretty and maybe he felt guilty for saying it, but she cared enough to help him. And his wife didn’t seem as interested.
Slow deprivation of air.
I don’t need to re-enact the aftermath of the affair, we all know they never turn out well. They destroy families, friendships, and ourselves.
Maybe this has been you. Maybe you’re in the aftermath. Maybe it’s not an affair, but something else you’re weak to–a setting the enemy has created to rob you of life-giving air.
God never quits. He can take the aftermath and bring healing and beauty. It may not be in the form of getting your family back, but it could be. Either way, He’ll forgive you. He can reshape your life and who you are.
|photo credit: freedigitalphotos(dot)net|
He can breathe new life back into you. Bring the oxygen level up to keep you going for days, months, years.
But it’s important to pay attention. Pray God will use His Spirit to nudge you when the levels drop. To guard you against falling into temptation and give you the strength to withstand the strikes of the enemy.
“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. ” 1 Corinthians 10:12-14
God always makes a way! Don’t let the enemy hide the door to get out, don’t let him fool you into thinking you can’t escape. You can. We can.
Next Wednesday, we’ll look at ways the enemy suffocates us through smothering.
I’m over at LivingBy Grace! Come over and let’s chat about environment.
Have you ever said, “I’ll never do that.” And found yourself in that exact sin? You don’t have to be specific, just share how God brought you out and what you learned.