This week in many communities, you will hear the phrase, “trick or treat.” People of all ages ask each other, “what are you dressing up as?” One wonders if the chosen costume is a subtle expression of what they wish they could become.
Candy and wrapped goodies. Caramel apples. Cider, hot or cold. Chilly air. Colored leaves. Bare tree branches. The neighborhood owl hooting. Some folks prefer the Harvest Party. Games. Prizes. Fun activities. Stories. Pumpkins. Candy corn.
This is all in fun for most people. Yet, the trick in real life is to figure out where the treat is. How do you answer this without becoming exceedingly self-absorbed or negative?
Life often feels like many terrible tricks have been played. It’s one thing to get a consequence when you’ve messed up. But many times, life seems filled up with bad things. It’s easy to feel you’ve been tricked. Seeing yourself and others dressed up in facades that cover what is real is disheartening. A game. It’s hard to be real. You may have tried super hard to make progress in life and relational issues, but ended up even more discouraged. Where are all the treats? Who is handing them out?
There is no instant answer to the terrible happenings of life. But there are 3 things you can focus on that will prepare your bag for a few more treats and help you avoid additional tricks.
Your perspective affects how you get through things and even sometimes affects the outcome. It also determines what you see and how you interpret things that happen.
A hurt, angry, discouraged, negative disposition tends to see the tricks first and longest. A courageous, open, positive, optimistic disposition tends to see rays of hope streaming through the dark night and unexpected treats tucked here and there in the hard times.
Understand Your Enemy
Speaking of perspective, remember the truth about your enemy. His most common name in Scripture is The Father of Lies. His role from the beginning has been to trick God’s children. He is the one who–
- hates you completely,
- constantly tries to deceive you,
- will stop at nothing to trick you,
- takes advantage of you when you are down,
- bugs and irritates you without end (especially with shame and guilt),
- deliberately weaves hurt into your life.
Understand Your Friend
Perspective opens the treat bag of your life to your dearest, truest, and most loyal Friend, Jesus Christ. He has given up every comfort, right, and His reputation to secure your safety from the tricks of the enemy. For anyone who will believe Him, He has treats that will bless your life. He is the One who–
- loves you perfectly,
- always tells you the truth,
- will stop at nothing to bless you with more treats – His good gifts,
- compassionately lifts you up when you are down,
- enables and encourages your spirit,
- deliberately weaves love and intervention into your life!
Are you trick or treating? Who are you dressed up to be? Who do you want to be? What is your chosen perspective? Stay away from the Father of Lies and come close to the God who loves you deeply. (Ja. 4:8)