At first glance, it may seem fine – coffee maker with green lights showing that the coffee is brewing. I had checked to be sure I remembered the filter, the coffee, and the water, and then pushed the brew button and walked away, unaware something was missing! I had forgotten to replace the carafe after rinsing it out.
A minute later, I walked back into the kitchen to discover a countertop covered with coffee full of loose, soggy coffee grounds. Water and coffee grounds had filled the basket and overflowed all over the inside of the coffee maker, and then onto the counter. The mess took 20 minutes to clean up. It could have been worse, of course, if I hadn’t discovered it so soon. But how nice it would have been if I’d been more focused on what I was doing before pushing the button.
A few days ago I shared how transposing two digits in my ZIP Code sent two boxes of books to North Dakota instead of Arizona, inconveniencing many people and using valuable time to correct the error. In response to that post, someone mentioned the saying, “The devil is in the details,” and I have been contemplating this. We don’t want to give the devil credit he doesn’t deserve. It could have been my own mind, racing on to the next thing before I had finished the task at hand.
On the other hand, we do have an enemy who lurks in the background, seeking opportunities to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). By not focusing on the details, we give him an inroad. I’m convinced that both of my recent mistakes could have been avoided – did not need to happen – if I had been attentive to God’s voice. I’m sure he was trying to draw my attention to my mistake in both of those situations. He does it all the time, stopping me from doing dumb things. But in those two cases I wasn’t listening.
God wants our relationship with him to be so intimate that we are always aware of his still, small voice keeping us on the path and moving us forward. When we live this way, the devil will find it harder to weasel his way into those details. “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:7-8).