Chess With The Devil

That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

John 3:6

The unseen always weights the greater portion. Always.

I had spent another sleepless night trying to figure out how I would explain what my kids saw of me last week. A week of “ma” dazed and staring out of windows; a week of sleepless nights and my abundant need for restful afternoons — well, a week of a mentally preoccupied mom mostly.

Thinking back to my own reflections of my mother in my youth, I know how easily these actions can be misinterpreted: Is mom sad? Is mom mad at us? Is mom sick? What is wrong with mom? And that makes my heart sad…

While I haven’t had the chance to say these words to the children yet, I realized that my best gift has always been for them — that is, my fanciful imagination. Ha. Might as well get some practice in here…

So, do you want to know the truth about last week?

Not what mom did outside of her body.

Not what mom appeared to be doing.

But what really happened.

Move over, Twilight Zone; I’m about to really weird you out…

Game Pieces

She was mostly minding her own business…

When along came the devil and sat down beside her and offered to play a game of chess…

Now, she never agreed to play chess with the devil: She knew that was a fool’s game. It was only after-the-fact that things became so clearly seen — accepting a chair, a slight-of-hand, a shrug and a fatal nonchalance, and, suddenly, your bleeding heart flayed open on the dining room table.

It was only after he’d made a playing board of her own heart — only after he began throwing the daggers down into it — the game pieces — that she realized what was going on… By then, it was far too late.

The old bait and switch.

I don’t know if you know the force with which he can throw down a dagger, but you need to know that his aim is impeccable and, the names of his pieces, precise. The daggers are legion:

DISAPPOINTMENT

HOPELESSNESS

LOST DREAMS

CONFUSION

CHAOS

DESIRE

REGRET

SHAME

TIME LOST

LIFE FAILURES

Well, the list could probably number in the thousands if nuanced to tailor-fit every soul, but you get the gist.

By the time the devil got the game pieces in place, her heart was already bleeding out all over everything… from her ears, from her nose, from her mouth, down her sleeves, everywhere.

Imagine. It’s your heart on the table stuck through with 32 daggers of despair, gushing and writhing between you and devil. You’re locked in now. You don’t just have ‘skin in the game’; your lifeblood is in it now!

What’s your first move?

She snatched a dagger and threw it to the ground, but for every dagger she tried to snatch away in horror, he gleefully replaced it twice as fast with a new one. Failing move.

She tried to play the game. If she could just see five moves ahead, she might make it out alive… By halfway through, however, it was painfully obvious that this was not a game she could win by playing. Not a chance. The devil was getting giddier and she was getting bloodier.

Have you ever been dropkicked to the seventh circle of hell for a chess game with the devil?

So, now what?

You can’t snatch the daggers: They are painfully full of half-truths.

You can’t play the game: You will lose everything.

Well, thankfully, this was not her first chess game with the devil; it’s just that we are all such forgetful beings…

Two things she knew to be certain:

First, to put the devil in check one first had to call his lies by name. Destroy the false seed planted within. Take all of those dagger labels and replace them with truth.

But that only puts him in check… and, sadly, that’s where too many stop the process altogether.

Second, she knew that to put the devil in check and to reach checkmate were two very, VERY different things…

So, she picked her beating, bleeding heart up by the daggers — careful not to stop and admire her own pain for too long, for that had long been her losing move in the past — and threw it away behind her. CHECKMATE.

The only way to win a game of chess with the devil is not to play.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

2 Corinthians 5:17

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

Ezekiel 36:26

And the only way to receive the new heart of Christ is to toss the old one in the rubbish bin…

The Fight’s Not Over

Okay, twinkle-toes, don’t sit down yet; the fight’s not over.

When we receive a new heart in Christ, having tossed the old behind us (yes, yes, painfully so; it is not without pain), ONLY THEN will we find our desires changed —

To hunger and thirst for righteousness rather than our own way.

The Bible says to submit to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you, but it’s downright scary how many times we try to resist the devil without engaging that first and most important instruction: SUBMISSION TO GOD.

“Thy will be done…”

You can run from the devil all day long, but if your heart is not submitted to Christ, then your Achilles’ heel is still fair game…

Trying to live a better life with your reformed old heart will only end in pain, dear one.

And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wine will burst the wineskins, and the wine will be destroyed–and the wineskins. Instead, new wine is poured into new wineskins.

Mark 2:22

The devil didn’t stop the assault. He still kept throwing that old heart full of holes at the back of her head, knocking her off-balance, catching her by surprise here and there; still, she stood…

Now, she was covered in Jesus’ blood and righteousness. The belt of truth was fastened. The helmet of salvation was secure. She had nothing to fear from his games any more…

And she lacked nothing.

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

Psalm 23:1

Whether money or chess, keep flipping tables like the Master… especially if the devil has pulled up a chair.

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