Chicago skylineSo watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times! Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants. [Ephesians 5:15-17 (MSG)]

We were at my son’s home in the city. The smoker and grill were fired up and the family had gathered up on his rooftop deck for a barbecue. Being just six weeks after my foot surgery, I was rather proud of myself for having navigated the four flights up to the deck while carrying a large tray of appetizers. In this case, however, pride came before the fall. Walking onto the deck, I looked out at the magnificent view of the city’s famed skyline and, the next thing I knew, I was flat on my face, surrounded by cucumber sandwiches and broken glass. Feeling too sure of myself and distracted by the surroundings, I hadn’t realized there was one more step to navigate.

A similar event occurred after my other foot surgery four years ago. Thrilled to finally get back on my bike after six weeks of inactivity, I was happily cruising along and “in the zone.” Thinking I was reaching for my bell to warn a walker of my approach, I ended up braking—hard. I flew over the handlebars and my bike and I landed in the muddy gutter. On both occasions, my brain simply went on vacation. Failing to look where I was going or to think about what I was doing, I ended up bloody and bruised. Sprawled on my son’s deck, I pictured God shaking his head and saying, “Will you never learn? Use the brains I gave you; be cautious and watch your step!”

When we stop paying attention to our actions and surroundings, we can plunge into more than gutters or tumble onto more than a floor; we can land in a spiritual sewer or a den of iniquity. In spite of being warned to stay alert for the enemy and his snares, we often just barrel along, oblivious to his hidden hazards. When we’re not watching our step, the enemy’s traps can trip us up and we can fall into a heap of trouble. When we live heedlessly, it’s easy to stumble and end up bashed and battered.

Looking back on Saturday’s misadventure, I’m thankful that I escaped with just few cuts, abrasions, bruises, and sore muscles. On the plus side, no bones were broken, there was plenty to eat without my tray of food, and my swollen knee and stiff neck have kept me from thinking about my aching foot. We rarely get off that easily when we sin.

Oh Lord, teach us to be alert to both the physical and spiritual pitfalls of life. Give us sure footing as we navigate the unpredictable world in which we live. And, (as I asked four years ago), could the inspiration for my next devotion not involve blood and bruises?

Satan is the master distracter. He is always working to keep us off track in our walk with God. [Joyce Meyer]

God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. When I got my act together, he gave me a fresh start. Now I’m alert to God’s ways; I don’t take God for granted. Every day I review the ways he works; I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together, and I’m watching my step. God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eye. [Psalm 18:20-24 (MSG)]

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