Do you ever wake up in the morning with a song in your head that you haven’t heard in…well, decades?
“And if the devil doesn’t like it he can sit on a tack.” These words have been running on loop since o’dark. Annoying…and yet, not so much.
You see, this is a line from the song “I Have the Joy, Joy, Joy, Down in My Heart.” I learned it as a young child growing up in the church. I clearly remember actually sitting on a tack once to see how it felt for the devil. It wasn’t so bad. Just a little pinch and then it wasn’t much.
This wasn’t very comforting to me as a little girl, who had been fully educated in the whiles of the devil. I heard all the missionary stories…I knew what kind of mischief the devil stirred up.
He needed more than a tack.
A tack is what you use to defend yourself against an annoying seventh grade boy. (Not that I had any experience with that…) It is no match for the devil. Often I would try to think of other more appropriate weapons. When Star Wars came out—and everyone started to make the allegorical leaps to the biblical story of redemption—I thought a Light Saber to be a more comforting defense than the common household tack. At the very least, it gave you a thirty-six inch distance from the prowling predator who likes to pounce…which I knew was an incredible advantage from the three centimeter point of a tack that must be sat down on just precisely right and that’s IF you can get the Darth Sidious of our faith to sit down. How do you do that? Do you offer him tea on a booby-trapped chair? And anyway, where do the Scriptures talk about the devil sitting? Nowhere.
He still needs more than a tack.
Songs like these can wreak havoc on good theology. Here I am some thirty years (give or take a few, but that’s none of your business) often finding myself using nothing more than a tack to protect the love, joy, peace, and every other good things the Father of Light has given me. It makes feel silly. But more dangerously, it makes me vulnerable…unnecessarily so.
We need to get the childhood songs out of our heads and start living by a greater truth.
Why do we use tacks when we’re given the Sword of the Spirit?
“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” Ephesians 6:17.
Could it be that we fall back to practicing silly childhood lyrics because we don’t really want to enter the battlefield? If all you need is a tack, then you’re not going to need much energy, or training, or zeal. It’s going to be like agreeing to a game of tic-tac-toe. A few x’s and few o’s and both parties go off pretty unscathed. Maybe even chuckle and agree to get a drink together after.
We have been given more than a tack.
Instead, we have been given a sword. Are you using it? Is it ready for battle? Do you even know where you it is? Dust it off! Shine it up!
I have had numerous conversations this week that at the heart of each of them is an obvious spiritual battle…a battle for truth, a battle for righteousness, a battle for justice. Where is the battle field, you ask? Wherever it is you are struggling to obey. When you take up the sword of truth and wield it with your obedience, you confront the powers of darkness. Your obedience powerfully assaults them. Every. single. act. of obedience is a blow to our enemy–a daily reminder of the victory of the cross!
There is a place for each of us where the struggle to obey is pressing in on us—it might be self-control, or greed and discontentment, maybe truthfulness, or possibly pride. That thing you know you are supposed to do, but have been putting off because you think it doesn’t matter that much. It does. You know what is your obedience thing…that place where you are tempted and seem to succumb to failure. As long you take a tack as your defense, your victory will be hit or miss. Will you choose a different weapon today? Will you enter the battle? Love like an ocean, peace like a river, and joy, joy, joy will be your victory spoils.
Lay down your tack and fight valiantly today, my friends!