Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. –Psalm 51:10-12
I noticed the hole in my flowerbed one summer afternoon. I passed by without giving it much thought. The next week I noticed two holes. I decided whatever was digging the holes must just be passing through. A month later, there were more holes. But with the winter cold and stormy weather approaching, I was certain the diggers would move along.
Winter came and after a January snowstorm, when the snow had melted, I noticed large lengths of my front lawn next to the flowerbed had been torn up. Finally, I had reached my limit.
I called a local pest control company. A worker came to my home and promptly declared, “You’ve got rats.”
I’ve got to say that I was angry. I’m not a huge fan of rats. But, I really wasn’t mad at the rodents. It’s not likely that I could have prevented them from attempting to migrate from the greenbelt behind my home. I was mad at myself! Back in the lazy days of summer, when I first noticed the signs that something was amiss, I did nothing. I purposely did nothing.
This is also a good reminder about our spiritual lives. It’s easy in the busyness of life to become complacent in nurturing our spiritual health. Perhaps we notice that we’re drifting a bit spiritually. Perhaps we notice subtle changes in our character, desires, or behaviors. But too often, we ignore the warning signs, and purposely do nothing. Then, one day, we look up and notice that rats have taken up residence in our hearts.
It’s fortunate that there are preventative measures for rat infestation, both of the rodent and spiritual varieties. And in both cases, they involve proactive awareness and action on our parts.
With the help of pest control I was able to eradicate the rodents that were in my yard and garage. But I knew they still lived just down the hill. So I moved into rat-prevention-mode. Bait stations were placed around the property along with traps in the garage. Each week I routinely surveyed the landscape to check for new holes. Once a quarter, my pest control guy inspected the surroundings for any evidence of rodents. Becoming proactive about prevention solved the problem.
In the realm of spiritual pest control, preventative measures are also plentiful. We can be on the lookout for spiritual drifting. We can regularly survey our hearts, read the Bible, repent, and pray. We can worship and fellowship with other believers and ask trusted friends to be accountability partners with us. When we know something isn’t right, we can cry out to the Lord seeking His strength, forgiveness, wisdom, and healing.
Let me encourage you today to enter spiritual-rat-prevention-mode. When it comes to guarding your spiritual health, the old adage still rings true, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
1. What do you feel is the most likely threat to your spiritual health? What preventative measures can you take?
2. Find a Bible verse (or verses) to memorize that can serve as a “preventative measure” in your life.
Hebrews 12:1-3; Romans 6:10-14; 2 Corinthians 7:1