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Here is a definition of “rat race”: “an endless, self-defeating, or pointless pursuit. It conjures up the image of the futile efforts of a lab rat trying to escape while running around a maze or in a wheel.” Well, the original “rat race” was invented by Satan. I explain: Satan has convinced a goodly number of people to spend their entire lives engaged in a race. Actually, multiple races. There is the race for possessions, the race for power, and the race for pleasure. A veritable R.A.T. Race (“I’m Rich, Arrogant, and Tempting”).

Most people in this universe are caught up in one or more of these races. Possessions define us. Trust me. I have, by mistake, tried to enter one of those lounges for first class passengers at airports. I didn’t pass beyond the smiling ladies at the desk. Power corrupts many. There is a reason the U.N. often sends observers to judge how fair some elections are in some countries. Pleasure drives passions and unrestrained passions lead to disasters of the highest orders. I would speculate that together this unholy triad has vanquished more people than all wars combined.

Interestingly enough, in his most famous sermon, Jesus warned us against the dangers of each one of these races. For those wanting stuff, He said, “Do not store up treasures on earth.” For power grabbers, He said, “Blessed are the meek.”  For pleasure seekers, “Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction.”

The mind is the main battleground for Satan and his demons. Unfortunately, many Christians either are not aware of this or have never been taught how to fight back. Memorizing Scriptures and reciting verses are very powerful tools, but the Bible is not a magic wand to be waved at the first sign of trouble. Even Satan made a feeble attempt to quote Scriptures when he tempted our Lord. The Scriptures have to be lived out in order to have effect against our enemy.   

I am reminded of the seven sons of Sceva in Acts 19. It is one of the funniest accounts of the Bible. These clowns saw Paul expelling demons out of people and decided to go on an exorcism tour of their own. They got the right lingo. “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.”  The spirit wasn’t buying.  “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” In the next scene you see the man with the evil spirit jumping on the seven would be exorcists and beating them so severely that they were left naked and bleeding (Acts 19:13-16).

So it is not enough to be familiar with the Bible narrative or repeat formulas you have heard from others. You must let the Word change you. The key to winning the race against the R.A.T. race is to saturate ourselves with the living Word of God, seeking to live it out with every fiber of our being, and giving God complete control over the main battleground where most of our fights are fought and won, namely the mind.

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).  

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade