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December-January 2014

Roots: Growing
Deeper in Faith


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First Glimpse





I slam the stuffed mallet down with full strength, only to see my chubby-cheeked target sink safely into his burrow. He reappears a moment later from another hole in the game board.


Missed again…but when the next feisty gopher pops to the surface, I’m ready.

Whomp! Whomp!

Owwwww! The protesting wail quickly turns to chortles of glee when another blow fails to connect.

Whomp! Wee-hee-hee-hee!

Two breathless minutes later, I confess to myself that 41-year-old reflexes are no match for robotic gophers, moles, or groundhogs…whatever the goofy things are.

I can’t help but smile as I watch a kid at least 35 years younger than me step up to the game with confidence, pummel the ornery critters into submission, and set the high score in the process. No problem. Obviously, when animatronics prodigy Aaron Fechter invented Whac-A-Mole in 1976, he had a much younger player in mind.

Throughout the day, my thoughts return to my frantic efforts to whack those elusive moles. The silly game brings to mind the lifelong battle for holiness and against insidious habits that stand in the way. Perhaps you are all too familiar with “spiritual” Whac-A-Mole.


I control my temper, only to have a judgmental spirit raise its head.


I achieve self-control in diet and exercise and suddenly develop an addiction to caffeine.


The goal of reading through the Bible twice in a year collides with the start of football season.

Whomp, whomp, whomp! It never ends.

In Romans 7, the Apostle Paul revealed his own constant struggle with sin and the law. “I am of the flesh, sold under sin” (verse 14).


“I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” (verse 15).


“For I know that nothing good dwells in me” (verse 18).


Thankfully, Paul did not stop there. In chapter 8, he went on to encourage believers that God created us for more; He wants us to win! “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (verse 1).

So, how do we win this battle for holiness? Paul told the Corinthians to stay in the game. “I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection” (1 Corinthians 9:26-27).


Game over.


Eric K. Thomsen is managing editor of ONE Magazine. Contact him at




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