Black Alligators

     Wade Taylor tells of the time when, as a Bible College student, he had deep doubts as to his ability to make it as a pastor.  Before entering the college, he'd had a lucrative living as the owner of a TV repair business.  Feeling very insecure as to his calling, and believing he needed to provide a fallback plan for himself, he purchased an expensive piece of equipment that would help him get re-established in that business should he fail as a pastor.  The equipment was housed in a black alligator skin type case.  He put the case in his attic, and felt more secure, and more at peace because of it.  Some time went on until, one day, in a class, his professor gave the illustration of having little black alligators as pets.  He said that in the beginning they made wonderful pets, but that they had to be fed each day, and each day they grew bigger.  The great problem was that eventually they would become big enough to eat their owner.  This is the great snare of anything or anyone that we place our trust or security in that is not Him.  It is here we will always be most vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy, and like the alligators, we will need to feed them each day.  In time, these idols will consume us.  Taylor realized that the case in his attic, housed in the alligator like skin, was an "idol" of sort that he would need in some way feed each day, and each day its power over him would grow greater.  In our flesh, it seems reasonable to come up with "back-up plans," but with the Father, the journey has only one plan, His, and only by living in deep intimacy with Him can we know it.  We can be sure that His call will demand that we be willing to go with Him, like Abraham, with no idea where He might be leading, we only know that He is leading, and we can trust in the heart and love of the One who leads us.
     Such a life will contain huge and numerous challenges.  It will not be easy, and there will be times of fear, even doubt.  The Father knows this and understands.  What He desires and expects is that the fear and doubt will not hold us captive.  I've a friend who said that as we follow Christ, we may well be haunted by some of the old fears and doubts.  They may creep into our minds and heart, whispered by an enemy who desires above all else to get us to turn back from going with Him, to take the safer, "more secure" way.  We may never be completely free of that haunting, but in Christ, we need never be subject to it either.  This is victory in Christ.  That same friend thought that what it is to be "more than a conqueror" in Him was to fight the battle day by day, and each day, triumph.  This is victory.  This is conquering.  We may be haunted by our own self-doubt, or our own lack of trust in that moment, but by His grace, we walk on, we refuse to "feed our black alligator," and we go and grow higher, stronger, and deeper in Him.
     In Mark 10:32, as Jesus headed to Jerusalem, and ultimately, His death on the cross, we read that as the disciples followed Him, "they were afraid."  One translation says that they were filled with dread.  Beth Moore said that we need to recognize the power that dread has over us.  It will paralyze us.  Jesus did not promise that we would never be afraid, never tempted to put our trust in something other than Him.  He did promise that if we would look to Him, only Him, those fears, that dread, would evaporate in His Presence.  The black alligators would not be fed.  They would not consume us.
     Where our are black alligators today?  In what attic of our lives have we placed them?  How great is the power of fear and dread over us as we seek to follow Him?  What is consuming us, the fears of this life, many of them real, or the fire of His life and love, which is far more real than our greatest fear, and mightier as well?  Taylor rid himself of that equipment and case that he kept as a safety net in case of failure, both his and his Father's, and trusted that He in whom he believed and trusted, really was able to keep ALL that he'd committed to Him until that day, and beyond.  Can we, and will we?  We are entering into days, indeed are already there, where the words He has spoken will be put to the test as to our belief and trust in them, and Him.  Everyone of our black alligators will fail us.  He will not.  It is time to clean out our attic.

Pastor O

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   May 2019   
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