Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Recognize and Repel Spiritual Rodents

Bolting straight for the barn door, aiming to return to his former home, the rat ran toward me and my push broom. He was determined, but so was I. I gripped the handle tightly, preparing to prevent his entry. My muscles tensed, and at the last possible second — whoosh! My broom sent him flipping through the air.

After tumbling onto the grass, he shook his head and then raced back toward the open door. I let out a war cry as I heaved the broom a second time. Once again, he somersaulted through the air. When he landed, he looked at the barn then at me. I'm not sure if it was my shouts, my husband's roaring laughter, or the sight of the yellow bristles of the broom, but the rodent finally bolted away.

The year the rats invaded my house and my barn, I was sickened by their destruction and droppings. That same year brought even more devastating spiritual rats, which infested my thoughts and emotions.

My layoff caught us by surprise. Then we experienced an unexpected financial trial. Six months later, my husband lost his job in vocational ministry. Financial pressures squeezed us, but we reeled most from the devastating loss of our church family. Struggling to find our new normal, we both succumbed to unhealthy emotions. Anger, anxiety, and fear created holes in our hearts during this mid-life crisis. Rats of depression and despair began to find entry points. But even though the rats hid behind forced smiles and daily routines, they left droppings that poisoned our relationships and our happiness.

Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." (John 10:10 ESV)

Our enemy wants to steal our joy, kill our hopes, and destroy our relationships. Jesus came to give us lives overflowing with joy, hope, and love.

Godly truths are like giant push brooms that can repel negative feelings. Spiritual enemies constantly turn our attention toward loss and regret. In contrast, the Spirit reminds us of bountiful blessings and a fabulous future.

Ephesians 4:27 recommends we "give no opportunity to the devil." (ESV)

Why would I be willing to protect a barn door with gritty tenacity but then allow the devil's lies to enter my heart and mind with no fight?

What can I do when I begin to despair because I feel insignificant? Grab hold of the Word and push away the lies.

I am precious, honored, and loved. (Isaiah 43:4)

The rat of despair tumbles, but he recovers and races toward me a second time, focusing on my insufficiencies.

I am wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

This knocks the wind out of him, but he comes again, reminding me of mounting financial pressures.

My God will supply all my needs. (Philippians 4:19)

He tucks his tail and runs away.

Spiritual enemies may sneak into our hearts, but we can chase them away, too. When we recognize the collateral damage like loss of joy and strained relationships, let's pull out the Word of God and yield it like a sword or maybe a big yellow push broom. And then watch those rats tumble head over heels in defeat.

Copyright © 2021 Barb Fox, used with permission.

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