Checkers & Chess

A little while back, I was faced with some serious crises. One after the other, it seems as though those crises were God's way of getting my attention in a way that I wasn't really used to. God allowed those crises to break me down, strip my flesh to the bone until there was nothing left but exposure to the Light. In turn, I had a crisis of my own. A crisis of faith. The type of crisis that I'm sure none of you have ever gone through (cough)... but I'm just gonna write about myself.
I don't consider myself a fanatical Christian, nor am I what's considered "luke-warm". I'm a Christian realist. I believe in Jesus Christ as my savior, but I am neither a hypocrite nor delusional into thinking that my faith alone will subside me without any effort on my part. Example: I believe that God will supply healing for someone having diabetes, but if they're not taking their insulin and praying for God to give them a miracle, they've missed the point.
Getting back to my story, I was forced to internally re-evaluate the way I thought, the way I acted, the way I believed, and even the way I prayed. So many of my own personal insecurities manifested themselves outwardly in too many subconscious ways. I stopped myself a lot from doing what I know God wanted me to do, or even more so, what I wanted to through Him, because I was afraid that God wouldn't be cool with me. I'm not a fanatic by any means, and I felt as though my self-esteem and self-doubt was getting in the way of my calling.
It wasn't until my recent crises that I was forced to REPENT from that way of thinking and break myself down, asking God "OK, God. What do YOU want me to do"?
It was then, in my spirit, in the quietness of my frustration and internal struggles, that the Holy Spirit told me: "I want you to stop playing checkers and learn to play chess".
My initial reaction was: "I don't know how to play chess, have never played a minute in my life. I've heard the expression but never understood it so, God, you gotta really help me out".
The Spirit (not my spirit, mind you) told me: "In checkers, one usually plays with speed, never really thinking because it's all about getting that King. When one plays checkers, you rarely see anyone contemplating the board strategically because there is one goal: to get as many kings as possible and run your opponent into a corner making them lose all of their discs. It's a game of speed and a game of takeover. You must learn to play CHESS."
OK, God, what does that mean?
"In chess", He told me,"your objective is to use your head, protect your King from checkmate while organizing strategically how to checkmate your opponent's King. This, in turn, is not a game of speed. It is a game of patience and skill. You must first STUDY the board and STUDY the positions of the opponent, STUDY their moves, and think AHEAD about 2 moves, that way you can protect your King"
OK, so what now.
"Simply, son: shut up sit down and play chess. Don't do anything unless I tell you to. Don't say anything unless it's what I want you to say. Don't you dare make a move in the flesh because you will only set yourself up for checkmate."
And so I did. I was too worried playing checkers that my initial reaction was to fight back, jump all over the board and take the kings, without realizing that I was playing the wrong game.
Again, I'm just talking about me. None of you know what I'm talking about, right?
Too many of us are playing checkers with our lives, rushing God, hurrying Him for a manifestation, quick to pull the trigger when the heat is on. STOP!!!
When it was all said and done, playing chess saved my life. Saved my sanity, saved my family. Had I played checkers on a chessboard, I would have trigger-fingered the situation and the outcome of my crises would have been a lot different.
Playing checkers is akin to doing things "in the flesh". Immediate reactions, coupled with anger or frustration will backfire. Playing chess, on the other hand, is waiting on the Lord and watching your next movement before it happens, listening to the Spirit, praying, getting in His presence so that He can do His job and intercede. Stop trying to do His job! You want God to help you, but you want when you want it and how you want it. That's arrogance, it's a trick of the enemy to get you into the flesh so that when it blows up in your face, the enemy can say "I told you so". The devil is a liar!
You don't know if your opponent is just waiting for you to make your move...just so they can backfire. They may be just awaiting a reaction-any reaction. They may just be waiting to see if want a truce, purposely putting chess pieces in a way so that you can clearly see their objective and how you will react.
The flesh will tell you: "Oh, NOOOO!! This fool is NOT gonna come on my board and try to dominate me... I'm gonna have to fight back".
No!
PLAY CHESS, make your move calculating, decisive, with prayer and patience, awaiting the opponent's counter.
One thing to remember is that the enemy LOVES to see chaos and disorder. Satan LOVES to watch people fight, bicker, and everything else. He is not interested in reconciliation or restoration. He is not interested in whether or not your opponent is remorseful for capturing your chess piece. He is only interested in the battle, whatever the outcome, and the enemy will ALWAYS mock both the loser AND the winner, because Satan comes to divide, conquer and destroy (John 10:10).
Start playing chess, people. Checkers is a child's game (1 Corinth. 13:11.

Peace,

-J

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