I recently had to deal with an infestation of mice in my home. I would see the signs that they were there: Food eaten out of the trash, dish towels chewed through and the droppings.
I put out those simple wooden traps with the metal bar that snapped on intruders when they tried to eat the bit of peanut butter I had placed there.
Then it was time to scour the kitchen with soap and water and wash all the dishes and silverware and get rid of any food that I saw the mice had gotten into. An exhausting and irritating job.
After awhile the traps stayed empty, the mice have seemed to stay away and I felt a great sense of accomplishment.
My experience led me to think about another infestation that can take over our lives: the infestation of sin. If we see evidence of it wrecking havoc on our lives, and do nothing about it, the infestation can only grow deeper and get into more of the cracks and crevices of our lives.
We have to attack the sins that eat away at us head on. We need to set traps for them and stop them from taking up residence in our souls. This can be difficult. I snapped my own fingers a few times before I got more adept at setting the mouse traps. But the more I worked at setting the traps, the better I got at it and the more natural it became. The same is true of developing skills to stop the spread of sin in our lives. The more we work on preventing its intrusion, the better we get at stopping it before it ruins us.
And once we have successfully squashed the power of sin by God’s grace through the death and resurrection of Christ, we do well to “clean house,” and get free ourselves of all vestiges of the sin that clung to us so that we may live lives that are pure and pleasing to God.
It is a daily challenge, of course, and not something that happens instantly, but when I am having trouble keeping sin out, I let the following verse keep me focused and determined in my resolve:
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7
So simple, so practical, so effective!