Yesterday we celebrated our first Easter together as a fellowship. It was a momentous event, and God used it to do great things. We covered the service in prayer for weeks in advance, and especially in the week immediately preceding Easter. We knew the enemy would try to thwart our efforts. And he did try, but he was unsuccessful.
What I didn’t realize until a couple hours after the service is that the enemy didn’t stop his attempts when the service was over. For him, the point wasn’t the service. The point was that seeds of spiritual life — eternal life — were planted at the service that he doesn’t want to grow. He will do all he can to ensure those seeds don’t grow — whether it’s before, during, or after the service.
It reminds me of one of Button’s favorite tv shows – Dora the Explorer. In that show, Dora and her friend Boots frequently encounter Swiper, a sneaky little fox that tries to swipe something Dora and Boots have (pastries, a fishing pole, a star, etc.) Most of the time, Swiper is unsuccessful. Dora and Boots confront him by commanding, “Swiper, No Swiping!” and Swiper goes away defeated. But every now and then, Swiper distracts or misleads Dora and Boots, and he successfully swipes the item.
In the same way, the enemy wants those precious little things that came from our Easter service — like new believers, hope, love, friendships, and seeds of truth. In no time at all, I saw evidence of him trying to distract us or mislead us so he could swipe those things — like discouraging, tempting, deceiving, depressing, afflicting, or condemning us.
Jesus shared a story that illustrates this:
“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
With respect to the seeds planted at our Easter service, the enemy wants them to be destroyed by birds, heat, or thorns. He’s not particular — he’ll use any means possible to destroy them. In contrast, it is our duty to do all we can to ensure those seeds are on fertile soil.
We must tend to the seeds we’ve planted with diligence and care — to pray and fast for people, praise the Lord for what He’s done, and show people love. It is also incumbent on us to recognize the attacks of the enemy, see them for what they are, and deal with them accordingly — like not buying into his lies. In this way, we are like Dora and Boots, confidently commanding the enemy, “Swiper, No Swiping!” And I have no doubt — like Swiper, the enemy will flee defeated.