Pests – The Tiny and Persistent

Ewwwww. I have a red insect problem. A big red icky insect problem. These little critters have made their th-93appearance at the same time every year, and as fascinating as they likely are under a magnifying glass (not that I’ve looked), I’m getting very tired of them. But they’re so small. What harm could they possibly do? One looks innocent enough, but together they do incredible damage and just about decimate my cheery orange blooms in the back yard.

Every year I hope they’ve picked up sticks and moved elsewhere. Every year they seem to catch me by surprise. One day I might be weeding the beds, trimming back overgrowth and admiring my black-eyed Susans; the next I see their shamrock-green stems crawling and swarmed with tiny crimson dots that spread out in scattered invasion formation on and under the leaves. That’s it. Enough. Innocent they are not. Treatment and persistence is required! Say hello to soap and water and oil little bugs!

Do you hear me little red insects? Your days are numbered!

I expect the Gardener says the same for the miniscule that trespasses bent on the carnage and ruin of all of us. The pest that becomes a plague. The minute that grows into a mastodon. The wee tiny dilemma that becomes the big headache. The thin edge of the unarmed wedge. 

Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. He said to Jacob, ‘Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!’ (That is why he was also called Edom) Jacob replied, ‘First sell me your birthright.’
‘Look, I am about to die,’ Esau said. ‘What good is the birthright to me?’
 But Jacob said, ‘Swear to me first.’ So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. 
Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left.
 So Esau despised his birthright.
(Genesis 25: 29-34, New International Version)

Tiny compromises disguised within reasoning and logic that despite all my love for God, have tempted and teased and have grown to become threats to consume! Little things that I’m too lazy to filter or that look to be a harmless bit of fun, but then infect, stain and dishonour my birthright, my identity as God’s own. Big things that began as little things that compromise faith and focus for the sake of desiring respect or being liked or popular to the world. Big things that are camouflaged in little things designed to erode or to give away our heritage as children of the King of all kings. Temptations that when I give in lead to a gnawing ache deep in my insides, and sloppily hurt others on the outside! Little things that become big things that shackle and subjugate.

“What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.”
(Romans 7: 15-16, The Message)

“Temptation promises freedom, but it makes us a slave. There is always a hook. Real freedom is not the external freedom to gratify every appetite; it is the internal freedom not to be enslaved by our appetites, to have a place to stand so that we are not mastered by them…”
(John Ortberg, The Me I Want to Be – Becoming God’s Best Version of You)

There is no infestation that is beyond our Gardener’s disinfecting and cleaning, and dressing anew! There is no authority over His as he presses His hand on wounds to stop their bleeding, and then protects with His Armor. There is no force greater than His that He will ever allow obscure our birthright. Everything subjugates to Him. Everything. If our God is for us and with us and watchfully tending us, then just who can ever win against us? Really? It is time to see from the Gardener’s perspective rather than my infested-to-sedation perspective, and cooperate with Him! The enemy may be relentless, but I am that much moreso, fiercely and fearlessly unyielding. The enemy may doggedly pursue to corrupt and attempt to rob you of the assurance of your salvation purchased with my very blood, to defeat principles and sterilize integrity that my Spirit grows within you, but he cowers and trembles and recoils in fear when you turn to me and my Presence. And I am present. Turn to me, your Abba.

armor

(designers-original-blogspot.com)

“Repenting of our sin is never despairing of our sin; it is always done in hope. Guilt may be an important stop on the journey, but it is never meant as the end of the line. We get our car checked by a mechanic, not so we can blame the car, but so it can be fixed. Repenting is a gift God gives us for our own sake, not his. Repenting does not increase God’s desire to be with us. It increases our capacity to be with him.”
(John Ortberg, The Me I Want to Be – Becoming God’s Best Version of You)

Repenting is a gift. A gift. Real gifts are free or else they wouldn’t be gifts. No strings attached. No need to correctly perform, or perform altogether. This is a real g.i.f.t, an free invitation to freedom.

Let’s take it! Let’s stop in the midst of the swarm, harness even the last twitch of remaining self-control and turn back toward our Abba, our Papa, to Him whose profound love aches for our healing and wholeness! Our Papa. Our Papa. Who is patient and kind. Who is here. Always. Who keeps no record of wrongs. Who always protects and perseveres.

Then a leper appeared and went to his knees before Jesus, praying, “Master, if you want to, you can heal my body.” Jesus reached out and touched him, saying, “I want to. Be clean.” Then and there, all signs of the leprosy were gone.
 (Matthew 8: 2-3, The Message)

Jesus, I want you to too! I want to be clean! I repent! I want you to open my eyes to the extent of my infestation, and to my need for your scrubbing. I need your Pest-Aside to soak deep into my every cavity, disinfecting and  coating the leaves of my mind, the stems of my soul and the roots of my heart and spirit. Renovate my interior so I am quick to listen to you, and slow to speak. Imbue my heart with your grace and compassion and patience for the faults of my brothers and sisters likewise beset. Dress me in your Tef-Love armor, your strength and truth and peace and wisdom. Help me to take your High Road rather than my circuitous and dark dirt road, to remain compassionate and cool-headed on the journey with you, to be your hands and feet moving toward and engaging in this world you love so very much.

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Fresh and Clean

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5: 22-23, New International Version – UK)

Erin
Soil and Seed