We all know the party game where a piñata is hit with a stick to try to get candy out. Surrounded by family and friends, they cheer you on and try to guide you toward the colorfully decorated object, knowing that if you hit your target, everyone wins. It would be weird, and honestly counterproductive, if your friends kept leading you farther and farther away from the piñata.
Life is a little like that party game.
When we are surrounded by people who truly love us and want what is best for us, they guide us toward that which will truly satisfy our hearts, root ourselves in reality, and direct us toward a fulfilling future. We often find out who the toxic relationships are in our lives when people aren't looking out for our good, but only their own.
When you look at your own life, do you find yourself surrounded by people that truly want what is best for you or for themselves? When we look at this question from a much broader perspective, we can find the same cosmic battle for our hearts taking place between God and the devil.
God is all-good, all-knowing, all-powerful, and has revealed himself through his son Jesus to be a good Father who wants nothing more than to be close to you. God wants you to know who you are, he wants you to know that you are lovable, and he wants you to know that the closer you come to his heart, the more meaning you will find in your life.
The devil hates God and everything God has brought into creation… so this means that the devil hates you. Just as God wants to be your Father, the devil also wants to have this paternal role in your life. But where God wants to be a good Father who brings you life, the devil only wants you to hate yourself.
In life, you can either listen to God or the devil. And if you were to play the piñata game with them, the devil would try anything in his power to get you far away from the piñata. Why? Because in this situation, the piñata represents a life of truth in relationship with Jesus, filled with true peace and joy. The devil would blindfold and tell you false information about where the piñata is. He would keep you swinging in the wrong places by whispering the wrong directions. The more you listen to his directions and swing in the wrong spots, the farther away you end up, and the harder it is to find the piñata since you've gone so far away. His goal would be to confuse and keep you spinning around, so listening to his deceitful directions will never lead you to the piñata.
The devil's directions will never lead to happiness, for his ultimate goal is to turn you away from God and to deceive about where true joy and peace lie. By telling you the wrong location of the piñata, he'll lead you astray into an endless cycle of false promises and empty searching. Being far away from that piñata leaves a place of isolating despair, convincing you there's no one to help. He wants to see you swinging around for happiness in the wrong places, for he isn't on your side. The bible says, "The way of the wicked is like darkness, they do not know on what they stumble" (Proverbs 4:19 NAB). When you don't know what you stumble on, you'll try to fix all the wrong problems because you become confused as to what your problems really are. Even when offered solutions that may seem helpful, you end up being led away from God. They're solutions that seem like they'll finally fill that void within us. But solutions that don't come from God will keep us searching in circles for more. They'll keep us swinging for the piñata. And when you've been given the wrong directions, it becomes impossible to hit. You'll end up farther away from it or deeper into sin. The deeper into sin you become, the harder it gets to find your way back to the piñata, or to see the truth of Jesus.
God doesn't delight in seeing you lost and desperately swinging, trying to fill voids up with fleeting pleasures. God wants to take your blindfold off and walk you in a straight path to the piñata. He would simply take it down and freely hand you the candy. The Bible says, "On the way of wisdom I direct you, I lead you on straight paths" (Proverbs 4:11). Deciding to call out to God and trusting him results in not having to stumble around in darkness anymore. God has the best solutions in life, for he knows them before you even have the problems. He hands you the candy from the piñata, which is ultimate satisfaction instead of the fleeting pleasures the devil wants you to chase after.
We need to guard our hearts to not let tricks seep in that lead us to believe anything other than I am worth being loved, I am made for happiness, and I have the ability to choose that happiness in my life. The Lord is simple. He hands out his love freely, not making you jump through any hoops. All you must do is trust and follow him because he wants you to have eternal life. You don't have to change before coming to him, for changes come through a relationship with him.
So, when you find yourself being misdirected by the devil, come to the source of all life. It's cool because even though God and the devil oppose each other, they aren't in competition, for the devil being a creation of God holds no fighting chance. God has already won the battle. So don't be led around in circles, but come to the source that will make your ways straight. Let him hand you that piñata.