When we hit Scranton, PA, our fairly new GPS made an unfamiliar sound and we noticed that a header had appeared on our screen. It read, “Alternate route ahead. Will save 30 minutes travel time.” Pat and I looked at each other in wonder and became excited when we realized we must have a new feature on this GPS, one not found on our previous one, and it must know something that we didn’t. In the few minutes we had to make a decision, we discussed back and forth, should we follow it, or go the route that we know is right? Stay on our tried and true path, or follow the path unknown? Maybe there is an accident ahead, or possibly a traffic jam. Obviously, the GPS knew something we didn’t and so we finally decided that we would follow the GPS’ recommendation and go off our original course. After all, the GPS must know best, right? We were certainly hoping so.
Imagine our surprise when we began to notice that rather than subtracting time from our ETA, time was being added! Then, as we traveled on, we noticed not once, not twice, but many times our ETA would be extended. We were teased relentlessly with many “alternate routes” or options that would “save us time.” We drove through many towns and on many highways to get to our destination. What once had been a 7pm ETA became an 8:45pm arrival, and rather than pull in calm and excited for the weekend, we pulled in completely frustrated, annoyed, weary and hungry.
As I lay in bed that night, I began to reflect on our drive and it occurred to me how similar our GPS offering us the “alternate route” was to Satan. He likes to interrupt our travel down the path the Lord has us on by flashing before us the quicker, easier, least inconvenient way. Rather than follow God’s path, he will show us how we can get what we want without the hardship of denying ourselves. He dangles the temptation before us that seems so appealing it is just too good to refuse. We look at the alternate route he is offering and wonder what harm there could be in taking the shortcut he has offered, especially if it leads to the desired destination. He makes us believe the route he is proposing we take will be less complicated and much easier. That’s exactly what we believed when we followed that silly GPS. You know what? It cost us in more ways than one.
Following the detour cost us time, almost two extra hours of time. It cost us money. For years we have traveled a route and never paid one toll. This time, we spent extra hours on many different toll roads. It also cost us physically. We were worn out by the time we arrived at Bob and Sandy’s. (Thankfully, we didn’t get into a fight along the way or it might have cost us our pride because we would have had to apologize!) Don’t you see? Taking the route we weren’t sure of, caused us to leave the path known to us and it cost us. And allowing ourselves to be lead astray by Satan, onto a path that is out of God’s will for us, will cost us too.
- He is leading spouses out of the door of their homes, into the arms of another lover.
- He is leading parents to work jobs that help them provide their children with every gadget and gizmo created, while stealing family time away from them.
- He is leading a parade of sexual sin right now that takes us far off God’s intended desire for intimacy between a husband and wife.
- He is corrupting men and women everywhere, enticing them with money and power.
- He is tempting us with alcohol, drugs and pornography addictions.
- He is pulling us onto a path of dissatisfaction, always needing more, bigger and better.
- He is leading people to follow dreams that put them at the mercy of Human Traffickers.
And all the while, he simply stands by and laughs because he has done what he loves to do. Jesus said; “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10). Whose route are you following? Which one can you trust to take you to your final destination?
In Genesis 4 God asked Cain why he was angry and then He warned him with this statement. “You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master” (Genesis 4:7). Be careful of the alternate routes.