I originally published this post back in November of 2009. Things in our lives have evolved since then…as has our annual fall invasion of ants. We’ve been battling them intensely once again this week, so I thought this was an appropriate repost.
Recently, my house has been under attack by ants. They have been appearing in random places for days now; try as we may, we cannot get rid of them. The other night I opened the cabinet that held my baking supplies and found the largest gathering of ants we had seen yet; I cleaned the cabinet thoroughly and assumed I had gotten rid of the culprits. However, the ants keep coming. They are in the kitchen, the bathrooms, my daughter’s room, our family room…no room is safe.
Few things make me as outwardly angry as an invasion of ants. If you have ever had this problem in your own home, you know that regardless of your every attempt to get things clean enough to lose the ants’ interest, it is next to impossible to get rid of the tiny invaders once they have broken in. I am more likely to mutter foul-mouthed language when ants take over than I am at any other time. It infuriates me and I become obsessed.
I realize that ants are relatively harmless. They are more annoying, probably, than anything, but when they come into my home I break out the big guns. I clean everything with bleach. I spray things down with bug spray until they are dripping. I buy every kind of trap I can find. (Incidentally, the Terro liquid baits are the best, in case you need to know.) I squash random ants with my thumbs. I take no prisoners. It is an all-out war on those who dared invade my space.
However, other invaders break into my home and my life on a regular basis and are not met with much resistance at all. As angry as I get at ants when they intrude on my life, I do not get nearly as angry when other things barge in and threaten my peaceful existence.
And other things do invade. Every time I turn on the television, I am bombarded with images that attack my self-esteem and my contentment.
- Each night when I watch the news, my feelings of safety and security are challenged.
- A laid-back evening of movie-watching brings thoughts to mind that cannot and should not be tolerated.
- Books and magazines tell me how my life and I, personally, are falling short.
- The internet captures my attention and steals my time away from my family and more worthwhile endeavors.
All of these things, and more, come into my life on a daily basis, disrupting everything and challenging my claims to a “Christlike” life. Once they are in, too, they are not easy to evict. They systematically seep into my words and my thoughts and my actions.
I have to consider, though… What if I got as angry when those invaders threaten my life as I do when a few ants appear on my kitchen counters? What if I fought back with every weapon in my arsenal when I felt my mind and my life being seized, just as I do when my baking supplies are covered with ants? What if I recognized threats to my attempts at following Christ as easily as I recognize even minor threats to my home? What if those invasions were not tolerated, but instead were met with war? What if, as a real follower of Jesus, I whipped out every weapon in my arsenal to fight back?
It’s something I strive for, and something that I imagine will be an ongoing battle for the rest of my life. The danger, I think, is when I forget that the battle is raging. I must be on guard. You must, too.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:10-12)