Summary: Victory through Adversity

Proclaiming His Majesty A Little Bit of Hangin’

Series 2006 Revelation 3:14-22

Abraham Lincoln once listened to the pleas of the mother of a soldier who’d been sentenced to hang for treason. She begged the president to grand pardon. Lincoln agreed. Yet, he is reported to have left the lady with the following words: "Still, I wish we could teach him a lesson. I wish we could give him a little bit of hangin’."

Have you ever wondered how someone’s life might change if they experienced this very thing? "A little bit of Hangin’?" Have you ever had an experience where you came away with a better, clearer understanding of the reason why we are here?

One beautiful day in Gatlinburg, my whole family experienced "a little bit of hangin’"

One lonely evening in Clifton, twelve young girls were forced to experience "a little bit of hangin’"

We’ve all had them, those moments where the stool is kicked out from under your feet and the rope jerks around your neck just long enough to remind you of what really matters. Call it a divine slap, a gracious knock to the head, severe mercy, call it what you will but if you haven’t experienced it you soon will.

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).

Because of these moments, you are forced to come face to face with one of the devil’s slyest agents – the agent of familiarity. Satan’s mission from his black throne room is clear, as well as fatal: "Take nothing from your victim; cause him only to take everything for granted."

Satan has been on our trail for years and yet many of us never even realize it. We must come to recognize his tactics and detect his presence. His aim is deadly. His goal is nothing more than to take what is most precious to us and make it appear most common.

To say that this agent of familiarity breeds contempt is to let him off easy. Contempt is just one of his offspring. He also brings broken hearts, wasted hours, and an insatiable desire for more. He’s an expert in robbing the sparkle and replacing it with the drab. His strategy is deceptive.

The devil won’t steal your salvation, he can’t! (Hebrews 6:4—6; Hebrews 10:26) He’ll just make you forget what it was like to be lost. You’ll grow so accustomed to prayer that you won’t pray. Worship will become commonplace and study optional. First, we are late for bible study, then we skip it altogether. With the passing of time, Satan will infiltrate your heart with boredom and cover the cross with dust. (Revelation 2:2—5)

He won’t steal your home from you; he’ll do something much worse. He’ll just paint it with a familiar coat of drabness.

He’ll replace evening dresses with bathrobes, nights on the town with evenings in the recliner, and romance with routine. He is the one who scatters the dust of yesterday over the wedding pictures in the hallway until they become only a memory of another couple in another time.

He won’t take your children, he’ll just make you too busy to notice them. How seductively packages procrastination. There is always next year to coach the team, tomorrow night to read that book, and next week I promise to teach you to pray. He makes you forget that the faces around your table will soon be at tables of their own.

Therefore, books go unread, games go unplayed, hearts go unnurtrued, and opportunities will go ignored. All because the poison of the ordinary has deadened your senses to the magic of the moment.

Before you know it that little face that brought tears to your eyes in the delivery room has become common. Unless something changes, unless something wakes you up, that common kid will become a common stranger.

A little bit of hangin’ might do us all a bit of good.

Mitchell Skelton, Minister

Midway church of Christ

(Material from Max Lucado)

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