Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "This Is My Father's World"1 (Lyrics)
Last summer, I repaired the broken glass on the fence side of the greenhouse. This required taking down the neighbouring fence to gain access to the panes. In so doing, I closed the entrance for the mice that set up home in the cold weather. Now, instead, the mice have moved into the adjoining work shed.
The first one that I caught a few weeks ago I released in the local park. It went off jigging left and then right as it sprinted into the bushes. Job done, I thought. Over the next few days, I found out that he was not alone. I caught another six mice of different shapes and sizes, but I sensed that the first one had returned. So, after searching online, I found out that they can find their way back from quite a distance. Oh dear!
I transported the subsequent mice by car further up the road on the edge of the town. Hopefully this was far enough away from home for them not to return.
Finally, after several visits, I managed to outsmart the initial interloper. This involved getting a new trap and modifying it to prevent his means of escape, as he had gnawed his way out of the first one. Now, I have taken him up to the fields for him to leap out and join his co-conspirators, thus far with no further signs of a return.
Like the mice in the shed, there are seasons in my life when unhelpful stuff sneaks in.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 – For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. (ESV)
As fast as I close one door to sneaky thoughts and wrong attitudes, they seem to wheedle their way back in through another, until they are taken captive. If I am diligent, they may have to try harder to enter my heart the second, third, or fourth time around, but they use anything that I watch on the television, robbing me of my peace, clarity, and restraint as I become sucked into the world. Even if we became hermits, our fallen nature would allow for unhelpful stuff to come right on in and take residence in our souls.
Without Jesus to take out the unhelpful stuff from our beings, we are surely lost to the world's influence about us, nibbling away at our beings and making its home there. Praise God that in Jesus, we can declare His sovereignty over our pride, failures, and weakness! Humbly, we can choose to seek Him, who has taken captivity captive, to reign over us, because Jesus has the authority to take our sins, which hold us captive, as far away as the east is from the west.
We have only to humble ourselves and ask.
Prayer: Lord, when we become vulnerable to temptations, from ourselves and from the world, which rob us of Your peace and presence within, grant us Your gift of forgiveness. When there seems to be no hope, take away the thoughts that hold and bind us captive. May we know Your Holy Spirit's deliverance, light, and love that come from trusting Jesus as we walk with You. Amen.