2 Corinthians 13:5 "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!"
When you come home you expect that you can let your guard down and feel at peace. When you come home you anticipate that there will be no one and nothing that should not be there. Neither of these scenarios were the case the other night when my family and I came home from prayer meeting. After having talked with everyone and enjoyed a great evening at prayer meeting we came home with the anticipation of being able to relax and get ready to bed down for the evening. Little did we know what was waiting for us when we arrived.
I stopped in my study to check my e-mail quickly before tucking the kids in for bed. I had barely sat down when the shrill wail of my daughter began to echo through the house. I began to hear her say, “Daddy, there is a huge bug in the house!” Her cries of terror were quickly followed by those of my wife demanding that I come to the dining room and get the “bug”. Instantly, I began to ask myself, “What sort of bug is so horrid that it demands all this fuss and screaming?” My question was answered as I rounded the corner out of the kitchen into the dining room and saw that the “bug” that had my family in such a tailspin was actually a winged rat. Yes, there was a bat in our house. We have a dresser in our dining room and about half way up on the corner closest to the wall hung a furry black bat sound asleep. Bats are apparently deaf as all the screaming from my family would have awakened anything with the remotest ability to hear.
Now I was faced with the task of getting it outside without being bitten or scratched or whatever bats do when they attack you. I decided that if I could knock it off the dresser into a small trashcan I got from the bathroom, I could cap a plate down over the top and take it outside to release it. After we closed all the doors leading to other parts of the house and opened the front door I softly made my way to the bat. It was too close to the wall for me to get the trash can close enough to catch it when I knocked it loose so I had to ever so gently slide the dresser away from the wall a bit. As I moved it the first time the bat flinched just a little bit. My mind was suddenly filled with the thought that if I woke it up and it decided to fly around I had not protection to swat it away. I could feel my heart begin to race a bit faster and a slight clamminess seemed to crawl over my skin. I was blessed that it stayed asleep until I got the dresser away from the wall.
With trash can in hand I crept toward the winged terror. Just at the right moment I took the plate and tried to shove the thing into the trashcan. My heart sank as the bats wings came out and it fell to the floor spread eagle with its head facing directly toward me. As it hit the floor it began to let out a high pitched squeal and squeak that almost hurt my ears. I just knew it was calling more of its demon, bat friends. Before I could think what to do next it began to crawl under the dresser so I had to get my wife to man the trashcan as I moved the dresser out further. Ginger bravely plopped the trashcan over the bat and trapped it underneath. I then proceeded to slide the trashcan about 15 feet across the floor until I made it over the threshold and out onto the front porch where I lifted the can and ran back inside to the relative safety of my home. The bat scurried across the porch and fell off the side. I do not know nor do I care where it went from there. I was just glad it was gone.
Sometimes in our lives we too have things there that should not be there. Sometimes we have unwelcome guests that erode our spirituality. These guests come in various forms and shapes. They may come in the form of habits that we have cultivated. They may come in the form of friends or family members that do not enhance our spiritual growth. These unwelcome guests may come in the form of poor entertainment choices either on television, radio, or the internet. Whatever the case may be for each of us we need to follow the admonition given us by the apostle Paul. We need to regularly test ourselves to see if we are living out our faith. Just as our key text says we must “examine ourselves”. It is easy to walk the walk of the Christian life when others are watching, but what about when we are alone. What about when no one is observing our behavior? That is when it becomes a real test; when we have to walk uprightly when the eyes of our fellow Christians are not upon us.
I challenge each of you to look around your spiritual house and to see if there are any guests that should not be there. I challenge you to examine your walk with the Lord and to get rid of those things in your life that serve only to separate you from your Lord Jesus. To allow “guests” to remain in our lives that separate us from God will ultimately and eventually cause us to lose our salvation. Paul asks the question in Romans 8:35, “Who will separate us from the Love of Christ?” The implied answer is that only we can separate ourselves from Christ? And our choices are the avenue by which we do that. I pray that each of us will choose to make Jesus first in our lives from this moment forward and that an unwelcome spiritual guests will be flushed from our lives.
Dear Father God,
As we come to You just now there are no doubt some of us that need to rid our lives of the things that erode our spirituality. We need to experience a true relationship with You. One that motivates us to Love You as You have first loved us. Give us the courage to let go of the things of this world and cling only to the hand of Jesus. Please forgive us where we have failed You Lord and may Jesus come very soon to take us home to be with Him. We pray these things in Jesus’ name, Amen.