El Diablo


“Those kids were playing their hearts out, but it was just so natural to try and cheat their way to heaven!”

You have to love what kids can teach you!  It was the third day of Kid’s Camp on the lake.  The theme this year was focus on goals.  Sarah was teaching a great lesson on heaven as a goal.  The kids were attentive and asking questions well beyond their years.  We’re all impressed with how well the lesson went; and now on to our favorite camp game, “El Diablo.”  It’s kind of like sharks and minnows, only with a spiritual twist.  The goal is to make it to the far line (heaven) without getting tagged by “El Diablo.”

The kids line up, the call goes out, and it’s a race to heaven!  …Guess how long before our “little saints” start bending the rules; perhaps five or six steps.  Each year, it takes several minutes to remind the kids what the rules of the game are; but no one has to refresh them on how to bend those rules.  I had to laugh to myself, what a microcosm of humanity, even “religious” people!  Those kids were playing their hearts out, but it was just so natural to try and cheat their way to heaven.  More than anything, it was sadly humorous because to cheat in any game is to not really win at all.  “Heaven” was never really reached, and when the cheater was caught, the other kids became very verbal about this fact.


These were great kids.  They had a good understanding of the spiritual basics.  So in a way, that makes it even more disturbing.     Even the best of us, even the most innocent have an inherent nature to do wrong.  In Biblical language, that’s called “the sin nature.”


The thing about this “sin nature” is that it is like dropping red dye into a washing machine filled with fine clothing.  No matter how high the quality of the clothes, the horrible stain is now part of the fabric.  It will be there no matter how you arrange or re-wash your clothing.


That is why the core of Christianity isn’t about how agreeable you are to the idea of God, or how noble you try to be in your own efforts; the dye is still in the fabric.  The fabric needs to be replaced.   If one sees Christianity as personal reformation, it is absolutely useless, it must be transformation.


Ephesians 4:24 says, “Put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”  The new nature is not the idea of Christ, but the presence of Christ within.  Anything else is just trying to “cheat your way” to heaven.


Oh yeah, and those kids were a pretty good self-governing lot!  When they caught one of their peers cheating their way to “heaven”, they were forced to leave the line and join ol’ El Diablo.  Hmm, there’s a spiritual lesson in that.  You got to love what kids can teach you, even in the most profound and eternal sense.  ~Anyway, it is certainly food for thought!


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