I hope that the title of the message intrigues you enough to follow me through with the message! Sometimes I read devotions and it is so predictable I have a hard time getting through it. Hopefully, I can make things as interesting as possible for you. We are going to look at buttons today.
There are two types of buttons. In clothing you might use them to finish getting dressed. Angie makes my broad-fall pants with buttons and doesn’t have to buy zippers. Some Amish communities don’t allow buttons but use straight pins instead (ouch). The other definition for buttons would be for something that you push. When you press these buttons something happens. This is the type button that we will look at today. Just visualize this process before we begin. There is a button or switch. Someone activates it and begins a process or event that alters the present situation.
These keys that I press to type the message are a type of button. There are enough to include the letters of the alphabet and numbers one through nine. Also, there are punctuations to give me the characters that make the message easier to read. Another type button is the button that can be pressed to launch a missile. Both buttons press in exactly the same way and yet produce completely different results. These are physical buttons but there are also spiritual, emotional and mental buttons. These buttons are the ones I want to focus on.
Have you ever felt someone press your button? Maybe you didn’t realize it until it was over. If I walk into a room and the light is on I know at least two facts. First, someone has been in the room and second, I can tell that the power is on. Some one has pushed a button! I wasn’t there when it happened but even if I never see the light on I will know something happened when I get the power bill. We use the expression of “getting your button pressed” for the fact that some things move us in a way that the ordinary doesn’t. It is these events that we must be cautious in. First, let us look at some negative effects of people whose button was pressed.
In Genesis chapter twenty-five is the story of twin brothers named Esau and Jacob. Esau was the first born and therefore the heir to the estate of their father Isaac. He had been hunting and had not eaten. I don’t know how long his trip was but he must have been out for a while because he sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of soup. Now, I like soup as well as anyone. I can say that Miss Angie makes the best I’ve ever eaten. But what would make a man give up a kingdom for a bowl of soup? There was obviously something happening in Esau that made him think in a manner that he would not normally have done. Esau had an unfortunate lapse of judgment that made his thoughts unclear for the moment. Have you ever been so hungry that it made you irrational? Perhaps Esau took his birthright for granted, thinking he would always have it.
Look with me at another example of someone getting their button pushed by the enemy. In Numbers chapter twenty is the account of Moses as he dealt with the Israelites and their grumbling. They are without water and instead of humbly asking for it they murmur and complain. Moses had always put up with their griping and complaining to the point that he plead for their defense before God. God had always shown that He was angry and many times He was going to destroy them. This time when they grumbled Moses had something different going on in him. It was as if he had given up patience with his flock. God gave instructions to speak to a rock and that He would give the people water. Instead of speaking to the rock Moses, struck it twice and in doing so lost the ability to enter into the Promised Land. God judged him for disobedience.
What made these two men sin before God? What made them suffer judgment and lose out on the blessings that He had for them? As I mentioned above, we all seem to have a button that can get pushed that makes us act irrational or not think as clearly. It is a weak-point that the enemy (the devil) learns about us. We all have something that varies from our brothers. It can be a physical weakness or mental weakness that he learns about us. He then carefully manipulates us so that we slip up on it. Satan tempted Jesus in three areas so we might say that there are three different types of buttons. Look at Matthew chapter four.
Jesus had been in the wilderness and fasted for forty days. He was alone, physically and mentally exhausted and at His most vulnerable point. The enemy always knows when to press our buttons, doesn’t he? In verse three he tempted Him to make bread from the stones. Bread must have sounded pretty good to someone who hadn’t eaten in forty days. I’m sure that Esau had not gone without food for that long. Jesus recognized that this was not in God’s will and in doing so kept the enemy’s hand off of that button.
Satan then tempted Jesus to prove that He was the Son of God by throwing Himself off of the temple. Again, Jesus recognized this as wrong and stopped the button from being pressed. If we recognize that the first temptation of food was because He hadn’t eaten what do you think this temptation was about? That’s right-Jesus had been given full understanding of His ministry of dying for our sins during this forty days. The enemy was offering Him an alternative to show the world that He was God. Somehow, falling off the temple and having Angels protect you one time just doesn’t compare to coming back from the dead after three days, does it?
Finally, in verse eight Satan took Jesus to a high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world. He offered them to Him if He would just worship him. Jesus again recognized the fault in this action and stopped the button from being pressed. You will recognize these three attacks 1st John 2:16. John explained that the things of this world are not of the Father. He categorized them as the Lust of the Flesh, the Lust of the Eyes, and the Pride of Life. Satan tempted Jesus in these three areas and Jesus always had a counter to the button. Look again at the method Jesus used. It should be our method as well. It is the only manner in which we may diffuse the missile that launches when the enemy presses our button. Jesus countered the attack with Scripture.
Did you ever notice that when someone is sensitive about something they are teased about it? Children often pick up on this when they want to belittle another. If they tease a young girl because she has red hair and the young lady gets upset she has just revealed her weakness to her enemy. We should realize that the devil does the same thing. He picks up on our weakness so easily! Jesus came back and countered every time the devil tempted Him with God’s Word. We must do the same if we are to win these battles.
These are the things that cause us to stumble in sin, get sidetracked with meaningless activity or just lose hope. Of the twelve spies that Moses sent into Canaan ten spies looked at their opponent instead of their God and what spoils He offered them (Numbers 13). They let fear grip their hearts and steal everything that God had for them.
On the contrary, the two spies that believed God looked at the milk and honey of the land and believed that they could overcome the giants. What made the difference? We sure need to know. I want to be someone who doesn’t lose my cool when the enemy attacks or situation looks bad.
I believe that we must overcome these known “buttons” ahead of time. We must be established before we enter enemy territory. Jesus went into the wilderness armed knowing what God said. The two spies, Joshua and Caleb, went intoCanaanknowing what God said. God had already told both that they would be victorious. We absolutely must know God’s Word, the Bible. It is our only hope for victory.
Part of the battle is recognizing our vulnerability. If you have had someone tease you of something about your appearance and you revealed that it hurt you, they will do it again whenever they want to hurt you. Unfortunately, this happens with spouses. Husbands and wives sometimes get cornered in a battle and instead of being civil they pull out some ammunition. Perhaps they get weak in the flesh and say hurtful things that make their spouse hurt. It becomes a ping-pong battle of words and causes a wall to be built.
The devil is carefully waiting on the time that he can attack. If I have an alcoholic habit that I have battled and it is my weakness then he will surely see to it that I get an opportunity to drink. If I have a problem with pride he will plant someone to applaud me. If my weakness is lust he will make an opportunity for me to fall there. If I battle fear he will give me false reports. He is a master of button pushing.
Up until now I have only talked about the bad buttons that can get pressed in life. I believe that there are good buttons that can get pressed, too. As an example, I would like to go to Matthew chapter twenty-one. In verse twelve we read where Jesus went into the temple and found out that there were those who had turned it into a business. He became so angry that He drove them out and turned over their tables. Can you imagine the scene! Obviously, in Jesus there was something that He was passionate about and it made Him angry when He saw this. My point is this: we can have zeal and passion for something and it causes us to react in a way that may seem out of character to others. This, too, is a button that gets pressed.
About a year ago I had some people visiting our church. During the afternoon there was a discussion about the validity of the Bible. These visiting folk began to explain to others in the room that the Bible we had (KJV) wasn’t exact and that only if we read the original Greek would we understand what God was saying. They began to mock the old English language saying they couldn’t understand it. These people had studied Greek, mind you but they couldn’t understand the King James Bible! It upset me and I asked them to change the subject. Some in the room felt that I was rude and should have been more kind to the visitors. They didn’t know the story and I didn’t feel the need to explain myself. It was an incident that, no doubt caused a riff in our group. My point is that I am very serious about the way the enemy would discredit the Word of God. You can talk ugly about my car, you can criticize the way I dress but don’t talk down about my Bible!
I hope in these few examples that you see we have things that motivate us, good and bad. We must protect against the bad “buttons” and be aware of the good ones. It’s great to have zeal about righteous things but even then we must make sure we keep control.
What kinds of buttons do you have? What is your weakness/passion? How can you defend against the devil’s attacks? Think about it before the button gets pressed.
Prayer-Father, I thank You today for knowing us. Just as the enemy knows us You know us even closer. You see our weaknesses and our strengths. Help us today with the things that set us off. May we recognize the things before they happen so that we will be in control. Help us to hide Your Word in our hearts that we might not sin against You.
In Jesus’ Name-Amen
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