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Undercover Agents

Stripes and Mabel snuggle contentedly on the ancient, over-stuffed sofa—Stripes being the redeemed alley cat and Mabel being the redeemed Mabel Watkins, night waitress at the deluxe Blue Moon Café. Mabel was mulling over the telephone call that had just interrupted her afternoon nap…

Why does the president of that bank want to have lunch with me? And at such an isolated, greasy spoon café? It smells like a set-up. No—that can’t be. I’ve been out of the business too long for someone to try to pull me in on a job. Oh well, Tuesday will tell.

Tuesday at Dee’s Diner:

"Thank you for lunch, Mr. Hudson. Now, I’m curious about why you wanted to see me."

"I can well imagine, Miss Watkins. I need your ‘professional’ help and your past record is—ahem—quite impressive. The bank isn’t doing well. We are—shall we say—just about out of red pencils. (He smiles at his clever quip. Mabel doesn’t. He frowns.) However, my partners and I have a plan that will get us out of this unfortunate position.

"Your part is simple and not especially dangerous. We’ve spent hours on our plans and are confident they are—ahem—’bulletproof’. (He smiles again, pleased with his little witticism. Mabel doesn’t. Another frown.) I know you need money. I know your—shall we say—less-than-perfect background? Oh, don’t worry, I’m not going to expose your past—unless you leave me no other alternative."

Mabel bolts to her feet and leans across the table, eye-to-eye and nose-to-nose with Mr. Hudson.

"What are you saying? You’re going to blackmail me to get me to do something shady. Is that it? Well, a lot of people already know my background and it won’t hurt for a few others to know, so you can look for someone else to do your dirty work, Mr. Hudson! I’m squeaky clean and I intend to stay that way. Thanks—but no thanks!"

Mabel flounces out of Dee’s Diner with dignity and integrity in tact. She walks down the street—shoulders back and head held high, eager to tunnel into the security of her lumpy couch with Stripes. The luncheon was an unpleasant experience but it was also an unprecedented victory. She passed the test!

Bravo, Mabel! Good job! So the skeletons will rattle and some timid souls may scratch you off their social calendar. All people have to do is be around you for just a little while to see that you’ve changed! You’re not the person you used to be! Well done, redeemed Mabel Watkins! (Applause appropriate.)

But let’s say it didn’t happen that way, Mabel. Yes, Mr. Hudson invites you to lunch and furtively drops a drug in your tea. Then, he and his henchmen (with their snap-brim hats and tightly belted trench coats) transport you to a rat-infested, basement room with a naked light bulb hanging from the ceiling. Using their devious ways and the amazing technology of the twentieth century, they insert a tiny electronic device into your brain. It is programmed with the kind of thoughts you used to have when you were still in the "shady end" of the banking business, with instructions from Mr. Hudson that will accomplish exactly what he wanted. And—wonder of wonders—they found a lady to record the thoughts whose voice sounds just like you, Mabel!

They have infiltrated your thinking processes, but they know you will be none the wiser. You’ll believe the thoughts are yours, especially since the lady will be using first-person singular pronouns in her communication with you. You used to have these thoughts all the time. They sound like you and because of your tarnished past you’ll probably succumb, doing things you had no intention of doing, controlled by a foreign power in your body. Pretty smart characters!

The face-to-face confrontation with Mr. Hudson wasn’t easy, but it was at least recognizable as an attempt to get you involved in an unscrupulous deal. But this other approach! What a perfect set-up to get someone to do something they don’t want to do. If the person didn’t know that those thoughts had been implanted—and those thoughts meshed perfectly with their past—and sounded just like them, complete with first person pronouns—it would be a pretty safe bet that they would sometimes naively go along with the deceptive thoughts. Right? Such a cunning scenario would be difficult to discern, wouldn’t it?

Guess what? That’s exactly the way Satan gets you to do the things you don’t want to do! God tells a very similar story in the 7th chapter of Romans about a man named Paul.

7: 15, 21-23: "For that which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members."

Paul has made an astounding discovery! He has an "electronic implant" in his body!

And so do you! There’s a foreign power in the members of your body that wages war against what you believe (mind), what you want to do (will), what you feel is right (emotions), and you hate it! "Why, why, do I do the very thing I don’t want to do and don’t do the thing I want to do? Oh, I am so sick of this war that goes on inside of me. I know what is right and I want to do what is right, but I wind up doing the wrong thing so many times." Isn’t this what Paul is saying? Isn’t this what you and I say? Yes.

I can’t explain to you how a microscopic electronic device could be planted in your brain any more than I can explain to you how the power of sin lives in your members. I, as the author of Mabel’s story, illustrated this power as a "tiny electronic device" and that’s my prerogative as the author. God is the author telling us about Paul and the indwelling power of sin. And when God says that the power of sin lives in our members and wages war against the law of our mind, that’s the way it is.

You might think my story is clever, smile and then trash it. There’s one major difference between Mabel’s story and Paul’s story: I’m not God. You don’t trash what God writes. You say, "I don’t understand how that could be, Lord, but You said it and I believe it. Show me how it works."

Mabel gave us some good pointers. She was wary. She was alert. She was committed to her new way of life. She gave an emphatic, resounding "NO!" to her adversary. She retreated to safety. You and I can learn from her experience. Isn’t that the way life works?

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.