Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Home Invasion ........................... Parables 192

November 22, 1989

I have no idea how it got in. In fact, when the evidence was noticed, my first reaction was to deny the possibility. Years ago, when we lived on a farm, yes, but not here, not now. Before long, however, there was no doubt; somehow, a mouse was in our house.

While some might jump up on a chair and scream at even the thought, I immediately found an old-fashioned spring-loaded mousetrap, put some cheddar in it, and set it behind a cupboard just off the kitchen. No mouse was going to foul up my home. In my opinion, Mickey is the only cute mouse. The rest are disease carriers and destructive little pests. The mouse had to go -- as quickly as possible.

The next morning said mouse was a dead mouse and given burial without ceremony. Since we couldn’t find a possible entrance, we concluded that it came in while the lower level door was left open last week.

At the same time the mouse invaded, I was struggling with another pest. I had no idea how it got in either. In fact, at first sign of it, I denied the possibility. It couldn’t be my problem. It had to be this other person. After all, I’ve been a Christian too long to let a little thing like that bother me. Years ago, maybe, but not here, not now.

But before long the conviction from the Lord was too strong. There was no doubt; somehow a bad attitude about someone had settled down in my heart and taken up residence. Sinfully fed by mental reviewing their annoying habits, this pesky attitude was growing fatter by the week, ready to take over and rule my life.

Now sin ought to cause the same reaction as the mouse. Who wants a fouled up heart? It ought to be put out at the first sign... but not last week. Not that my sin was cute. It seldom is, at least for long. Like a mouse, it breeds more of its kind and eventually destroys everything.

Right off, it was ruining my fellowship with God. My prayers started bouncing off the ceiling. Even familiar truth from His Word became dry, without blessing.

I knew what the next symptom would be — ruined fellowship with other Christians. Oh, we would still be able to chitchat about superficial things, but hang on to that bad attitude and real spiritual intimacy would cease.

I could feel a loss of energy too. It takes effort thinking up ways to get even with someone, cutting words to say, what I should do and not do, and on and on. Just another consequence of turning away from God.

This attitude grew uglier by the minute. However, I wasn’t seeing it too clearly and took mercy on the thing. It wasn’t until we trapped the little mouse, that I realized this other pest had been freely scurrying about in my heart.

The Bible tells how to get rid of spiritual pests. First: “If we confess our sin, God is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). In other words, admit sin is there, rely on the Savior to remove it, and don’t let it come back.

Secondly, “Mortify (put to death) the deeds of the sinful nature.” Simply put, the outward words and behavior that resulted from that inner bad attitude must be slain — not thought of as “everyone else does it” or “that other person deserves it.” God’s solution is confess, forsake and put it to death. Show no mercy toward both inner and outer sin.

Ouch! I felt like I set a trap and caught myself in it. But thank God, He is faithful to save us from our sin. And thank God, there is more to His salvation than death to old ways. Within me is the life of Jesus Christ. When I willingly mortify the old, He supplies the new. That means love, peace, joy, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, meekness, kindness and self-control are available in Him, for me. I get a second chance to rightly handle this other person, and my reactions.

Better than I can say for the mouse. Cute or not, he won’t be back.

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