I was the lead actor in a play once, and I had dialogue in most of my scenes that was quite integral to the plot line. There was another guy with whom I shared a lot of scenes who was meant to be my sidekick. We were friendly in rehearsals, and everything seemed to be going fine.
But when we got to the performances, I started noticing him suddenly “acting out” more. At first, it was just him making a face while I was speaking, or a minor “tick” he’d affect to illicit a cheap laugh from the audience.
Then, it really started getting out of hand. Someone would say a funny line, and suddenly there he was literally slapping his thighs in mock laughter. He would make some silly face or double-take in response to most everything that was being said on stage. He would even over-emphasize lines of his own dialogue, putting some weird inflection on an odd syllable to make the line stick out.
It was like a caricature of a bad vaudeville performer, delivering every sentence like a huge punch line. I’m surprised he didn’t just yell out “Wacka wacka wacka!!!” at the end of each scene – Fozzie Bear would have been so proud!
What he was doing is a bad theatrical trick called “pulling focus”. It is done by only the most desperate performers so needy for attention they must make every scene about them. Unwilling to be part of a team telling the play’s story, they insist on being the center of attention all the time.
I’m sure my fellow actor thought he was making the show funnier. But in reality, he just made it harder to understand, and made himself look foolish in the process.
Satan is a lot like that hammy actor. He’s always prancing around on the stage of my life, trying to “draw my focus” onto something other than what really matters. Usually, it’s to distract me with something negative while God is busy pointing me toward His “storyline”.
Throughout each day, from stage left to right, a million different players walk across my line of sight. People’s statements and stories, pictures on TV, some thought that reminds me what I should be worried about – lots of insignificant “ticks” trying to draw my focus. What are they trying to distract me from? Usually, from all the overwhelmingly good things God is doing.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not one of these motivational “positive thinking gurus”. Just being positive will not solve all your problems. Some things in life just stink, there’s no two ways about it.
However, while focusing on the positive will never solve EVERY problem in my way, focusing on the negative will never solve ANY of them.
Like my fellow actor, allowing the negatives to pull our focus causes us to ignore all the truly wonderful ways God is at work around us and through us. A conflict with one individual makes me forget about all the many individuals who truly love and support me. A delay interrupts my schedule of events and I think my day is ruined. Such minor characters to receive such major focus
Satan cavorts around on the stage of our lives every day, tap dancing hard in a flop sweat to steal our focus. By himself, he truly cannot destroy anyone’s day. It’s only when you cooperate with him can he ever be successful.
When the play is finally done, Satan will be revealed as nothing but a two bit performer – really just the comic relief – with only a cheap bag of stage tricks in his hands. All his mugging to the audience will finally be washed out in the the bright footlights of God’s glory. In that day, the curtain will come down on the story the playwright meant us to perform all along.
So just remember today, as you live out His story… all’s well that ends well.
And it will end very, very well.