Flies annoy me to no end. Ants are detestable. Spiders just disgust me. Mice are filthy varmints-let the cats eat them! Snakes make me want to leave this planet and never return.
They all have one thing in common-none of these critters are allowed in my home! That is my rule.
Unfortunately, these little critters don’t read my rule book.
They come in my home anyway. (The nerve of them!) Which is why tomorrow the exterminator is coming to spray to remove the latest assault from our neighborhood ant community.
While googling several kid friendly options to keep the ants at bay, I couldn’t help but compare this scenario to a spiritual one.
The big sins are NOT allowed in my home and life. Obviously, my husband and I work to affair-proof our marriage. (And we waited to live together or have sex until after marriage-two things that our culture definitely consider extreme anymore.) There are not any golden calf statues in my house that we worship. And I’m definitely not planning on murdering anyone any time soon (if you try to steal my bacon, I might stab you slightly though!) 🙂
However there are lots of sins that often go unchecked in our home.
There is the sin of hope-you-fall-flat-on-your-face bitterness against people who have wronged us in the past. Often we eat too much or eat unhealthy thereby letting the sin of gluttony run rampant. The sin of apathy. We often just don’t care about what God calls important. Also, our mouths run amok with gossip and unfair criticism of others.
It is easy for us to justify these sins. We are stressed out and eating a whole package of Oreos seems to make it better in the moment. Frankly, it is easier to not get to know my Mormon neighbor better because then I don’t feel so guilty about not reaching out to her with the Gospel.
In the Garden of Gethsemane before His Crucifixion, Jesus prayed,
“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:17-21 ESV)
The word sanctify in this passage is simply a fancy way of saying “set apart” or “set aside.” Jesus prayed that we would be set apart from the world. This means living differently. And we don’t live differently from the world on our own strength. It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that we can do this.
Galatians 5:19-21 shows what a life without the Holy Spirit in charge looks like, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
When we are set apart from the world, these pollutants (and this is a shortened list-Paul list others in different letters that he wrote in the New Testament) should not be allowed a foothold in our lives and homes. In spite of this, we treat ants as a far bigger threat to our home than jealousy or impurity or fits of anger.
It’s all well and good to know we shouldn’t want these spiritual pollutants in our home but how do you go about protecting your home and life against them?
Set A Solid Foundation
First, and I know I say this a lot, but it is the foundation that everything builds on-Prayer and Bible study. Prayer is your avenue of communication with God. Prayer and Bible reading are where you have to start. God cannot show you pollutants (aka sins that are infesting your home) unless you are in a position to hear what He has to say through His Word and quiet times spent with Him.
open your eyes
Second, taking an honest look at your life. Years ago, I read a powerful poem that asked what you would change if Jesus came to visit your home that day. Would you hide gossipy Hollywood magazines? Wipe the dust off your under-read Bible? Change the TV channel or just turn it off all together? Would your iTunes playlist change significantly? How would your conversations with your family differ if Jesus joined you at the dinner table tonight? Maybe your checking account would show different expenditures?
If there are areas that you know you would not be comfortable with Jesus witnessing in person within your home then perhaps it is time to reconsider what you are allowing within your home.
accept God’s power over sin
Third, change through the power given you by the Holy Spirit. Don’t try to do this in your own sheer willpower. It won’t work in the long run nor will your heart attitude about the changes be right. The very next sentences in the Galatians passage show what a life controlled by the Spirit will look like. Perhaps you have even heard this passage or have it hanging in a pretty frame on your wall but take a few minutes and read it slowly and let it sink in. Here it is,
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
Doesn’t that sound like a qualities you want your home to have for yourself and your family? I know I could use a lot more peacefulness and patience and self-control…okay, all of them, in my own home.
This is not meant to be a legalistic list of do and don’t let such and such into your home. Search the Scripture. Pray for God to show you what should be removed. Perhaps it will something obvious. Perhaps it will surprise what God convicts you about removing. Guaranteed it will be painful at times because our humanness makes us love what we shouldn’t love. It is likely we will look crazy or radical to others.
It is easy to justify the “smaller” sins. Don’t. They come with the same price tag that the big sins come with-death.
I know that my home is so much more enjoyable to be in when there are not ants (or any other creepy crawlers for that matter) roaming my home. The same goes for unaddressed sins. My home is not a place of spiritual refreshment when sin is allowed free reign. My home is vulnerable to Satan’s attacks when I allow weakness to appear in our spiritual home life.
Let’s take time to seek and remove the pollutants that seek to destroy the Holy Spirit’s presence in our homes.
It’s Your Turn!
Do you think you have areas of spiritual weakness in your home? What might those areas be? Will you commit to a time of seeking out what God would desire your home to look like and what you should ruthlessly pluck from the midst of your family life?
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Thanks for stopping by!