The apartments we lived in in China all had one thing in common… they were full of cockroaches! Some apartments were worse than others. I remember going out to the kitchen in the evenings after the kids were in bed and turning on the kitchen light to go and make a cup of tea… as soon as I turned on the light, I saw a seething mess of little black things with legs scuttling away into the nooks and crannies! They loved the darkness, and thankfully hid away in the daytime. But when it was night, they all came crawling out. I remember being woken up by a very big one biting my face in bed! And to top it off, we had to fight mould in everything as well! When we felt God leading us to move back to New Zealand, I remember thinking “well, at least we won’t have to face cockroaches there!”
When we moved back to New Zealand, we lived in a farmhouse. It wasn’t long before we found out it was time to face a new pest: mice! I had never dealt with mice before, and they were pooping all over our bed and our baby’s cot! Something had to be done… Thankfully we knew some people who knew what to do. We got good recommendations for some mouse poison that could be out of reach of the kids, and we set traps. We then realised that there were also possums on the farm eating the fruit in the orchards! My uncle helped set up traps and taught us how to check them. The pest situation got under control. Eventually it was also discovered that the mice had been eating away at the wiring in the house! Suddenly, power-sockets stopped working! Half the house had to be re-wired.
We have since moved house, and are now fighting ants! Why did I think there would be a dream home where I wouldn’t have to fight some kind of pest? Some pests erode the safety of our home. Some pose a threat to the health of the inhabitants. Some eat away at the food supply… and some quietly eat away at the interior, unseen, subtle, until one day things start falling apart and stop working. Each pest is different in the way they affect us, and also in the way we must fight them! As far as I know, a mouse trap is useless for keeping ants away!
What are the pests that are trying to infest your life at the moment? Your relationships? Your church? Do you know how to fight them? Are they noticeable, or are they hidden and slowly creeping into your heart?
Here are a few common spiritual “pests” which can become infestations that destroy:
Idolatry (worshipping anything or anyone other than God), pride, selfishness, materialism, disobedience, deception, unforgiveness, unbelief, complacency, destructive thought-patterns, self-sufficiency, jealousy, unhealthy anger.
We will never be free of things trying to invade our life, our mind, our heart, our relationships… they may be different each time, but we need to know how to deal with them. Paul told us in Ephesians that we are not fighting a physical battle as Christians, but a spiritual one. How do we fight that kind of battle? It took me a long time to learn this lesson. It all seemed too abstract to me. But when I started losing control over areas of my life, I started to realise how important it was to fight the battle. Here are some of the weapons that we can use to fight “infestation”:
Prayer, fasting, praise and worship, love and grace, obedience to the truth of Scripture, the gospel, humility, thankfulness, the blood of Christ, our testimony, encouragement, the armour of God (found in Eph. 6:13-17), church discipline, spiritual gifts.
Sometimes, invading pests can turn into “infestations”, and we need others to intervene and help. We don’t have to fight on our own!
Recently I saw a post on social media about natural “pest control”… spiders! Honestly, I hate spiders! Perhaps it’s my years of growing up in Australia, but those things sure creep me out. However, when I was living in rural Korea (which also had a lot of the same spiders that Australia had, funnily enough!), I decided to face my fear, literally. I would go for a walk through the farm-roads, and when I saw a big Orbweb spider in its web, I would walk up close to it, and just look at it. Stare it down! I realised there really was nothing to be afraid of, it was just how they looked! They probably don’t even bite…
Spiders sure are great natural pest controllers! Fear has been a “pest” that has infested my life before, but now I know better… therefore, I’ve (almost) overcome my fear of spiders, and am trying to allow them to just do their pest-controlling job! Perhaps we need to overcome some fears in our lives in order to get the pests out too…
Are you afraid of being obedient to some areas of scripture? Are you afraid of confessing some things to someone? You might just find that these are the very things that will get some pests out of your life!