But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign Lord, in you I take refuge–do not give me over to death. Keep me safe from the traps set by evildoers, from the snares they have laid for me. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by in safety. (Psalm 141:8-10 NIV)

“Safe” calls the umpire as the crowd roars–some with joy and others moan in defeat–the runner is safe and the game is won.

I’ve actually played softball and know how those guarding the bases attempt to “trap” a runner who is trying to get home. For instance, when the runner hesitates between trying to make it between second and third base, the runner is caught between two people who are moving in for the kill, trying to keep them trapped within the boundaries to tag them out. The crafty runner–one who knows how to trick one of the players into actually throwing the ball, dodges in and out once the ball is thrown, they run to the next base and if the unfortunate player misses the ball on the return throw, the runner runs home, just in the nick of time and is deemed, “safe” from any further attempt to get them out.

When I picture the snares and traps that Satan sets for all those who are Believers, I smile. I can see the bear trap hidden under the leaves with its mighty jaws ready to spring shut, once the trap is touched. Then I see a squirrel, scurry across the trap and hear the spring snap, attempting to catch its prey, but the squirrel is long gone and the bear sniffs at the trap and moves on.

How many times has Satan spread a net of deceit, lies, and temptable goodies in front of us, hoping to snare us and force us to give up the race we are running so well? Though many of us have fallen for the goodies, many more are wise enough to see beyond the goodies to know why they’re placed in front of us. We know a lie when we hear one and will not be deceived, but the foolish–ah! They are not so wise and when they see a feast that entices them–they jump at it and when the net–with its goodies is dangling from a tree, the rest of us walk by–safely, shaking our heads at the misfortune of the trapped.

On many levels, Believers are tempted to do all those things they once did, but when they know The Lord, and are willing to obey, The Lord alerts them to dangers, the snares and traps Satan sets to distract and get them off course. We’re tempted to lie to save on taxes, but don’t. We’re tempted to take that which is not ours when opportunity presents itself, but we don’t. We’re tempted to cheat on spouses when tempters and temptresses come on the scene, but most of us don’t. I wish I could say that none of us–who are true Believers–never fall, but that would be a lie and I will not give in to that temptation. The truth is, we fall short, but when we are honest with ourselves and God, we repent and get back up, ready to run the obstacle course once more. And until we die, we’ll be running the obstacle course that Satan has devised for us, but when we call upon The Lord, He will save us and when that day, that glorious day comes when we enter into heaven, we’ll hear, “You’re safe!”

That’s what Believers will hear, but what will the unbelieving and doubters hear when they finish their course? “You’re out!” And entry into heaven is lost to them, forever.