By George Bowers
As the temperatures cool down and the days shorten up, several outdoor critters are beginning to look for winter lodging. Mice, crickets, snakes and other vermin seem to be shopping for vacancy in any home with heat and a hiding place. For which reason, we need to be vigilant in watching for and discouraging such unwelcome squatters by closing up all possible entry points.
When infestations do become particularly severe, it's often necessary to enlist the services of an experienced exterminator to remove them. Although the cost can be substantial, failing to do so can lead to unacceptable living conditions and greater possibilities of disease, illness, and costly repair.
In a similar fashion, many sinful habits also seek to work their way into our lives, but unlike the critters, these do not favor a particular time of year, so we must constantly be on guard. Just as an infestation of spiders or insects can begin with a single individual, so too, what may look like a harmless little lie can lead to major problems for us. One little pill can lead to addiction and one little drink can lead to alcoholism. We always have good "reasons" (aka excuses) for doing such things, but the foothold these habits establish in our lives can ultimately lead to severe infestations and major difficulties.
As we review our lives, let us examine them for indicators that may point toward larger problems. Let's be sure to seal up any openings around the edges of our lives that might allow such sin to crawl inside us and take up residence. Television and computer screens, magazine pages and other media are prime potential entry points, so guard them closely.
And let's call the Sin Exterminator to get rid of what's already come in. He told us in I John 1:9 that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. That sounds to me like he will kill whatever's there and rid us of damaging swarms. But only at our invitation. O Holy Spirit, reveal to us those parts of our lives that are infested with sin and completely remove it from us, we pray. Blessings, George
George Bowers is the pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock and the author of "Blessings," "Valley Verses," and "Valley Verses, Volume 2." He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.