am not a big fan of insects inside my house. My feelings do not
seem to hinder the unwanted intruders, however. For each of the
four homes I've lived in since my marriage, I can identify at least
one persistent pest that plagued me during my stay there.
In Okinawa, Japan, it was roaches--some
regular sized, some huge, flying creatures the size of a small pet.
I remember one Sunday morning, when I was freshly showered, standing
before my open closet while deciding which dress to wear. Suddenly,
out of the corner of my eye, I glimpsed a bird-like shadow gliding
across the room.
Imagine my horror when the bird turned
out to be a roach which landed on my shoulder--my bare shoulder!
My husband, Brad, is still a tad deaf from my screams that day!!!
In Hampton, VA, the pests were fleas.
Coco brought them in from the back yard, and, because we were preoccupied
with our newborn daughter, Holly, we did not realize what was causing
the poor dog to act so strangely until she had actually spread the
fleas throughout the entire house.
We had fleas in our sofa, our beds,
and worst of all, in the baby's crib. When I spotted a flea on little
Holly in her crib, I said, "That's it--we're out of here!" and I
packed up the children and went to my parents' house. That's the
only time in our marriage that I've walked out on my husband!
Admitting the total inadequacy of
his arsenal of bug bombs, my defeated Brad called in the professional
exterminators, and it took even them several attempts to kill off
these tiny pests.
In Frederick, MD, it was ants, as
each spring the determined creatures would find access through cracks
around windows and doors, forming parade lines directly to my kitchen.
They didn't find much to get into, but that didn't stop them from
constantly patrolling my floor and countertops.
In our new home in PA, our unwanted
friends are flies. Even now in the winter, we have flies inside
our house! They seem to be drawn to two rooms in particular--my
son Joel's room and the master bath.
I understand why they like the master
bathroom--with four switches controlling four different sets of
lights, it's the brightest room in the house. First thing in the
morning, I am typically at the sink when I am alerted to their presence
by the loud buzzing of wings as they celebrate the day's first illumination
of the vanity lights.
One day, I actually stopped what I
was doing to observe the strange behavior of these winged creatures
as they buzzed around and around the bright lights. Closer and closer
they would circle, until finally they would actually dive inside
the glass globe.
Their buzzing would become more intense
as, I assume, their wings were singed by the bulb's intense heat.
Struggling to find a way out of their close quarters, the flies
clumsily bumped first against the bulb and then the glass, creating
a little musical number that sounded something like this, "Buzzz,
ping, buzzz, ping, buzzz, buzzzzz, ping."
Finally, they would emerge, circle
the glass a few more times, and then dive in once more. No wonder
I am constantly finding the little pests belly up in my tub or floor!
As stupid as the flies' behavior may
seem, it struck me that often we people may be guilty of similar
behavior. No, I'm sure you're not irresistibly drawn to light bulbs,
but perhaps there is something else you find irresistible that God
withholds from you, knowing it is not for your best.
As purity girls, our goal should be
to learn contentment: trusting God to supply our needs. (Phil.
Is this the natural response to our
desires? No way! That's because selfishness is hard wired into our
sinful, human nature. Ever notice that one of the first words we
learn to say is, "MINE"?
Unfortunately, many people never mature
the level of toddlers who always seem to be wrestling toys
from one another. Have you heard the expression, "Trying to keep up with the Joneses"?
It describes people who are eternally discontent--unless their stuff
is as good or better than everyone else's. What a pathetic (and
What God desires for us is far better.
He wants us to be happy with whatever He's given us. He wants us
to trust Him to give us just what we can handle.
The apostle Paul, who had been an
ambitious and well-known religious figure, gave up his position,
wealth, and worldly acclaim for the cause of Christ. He summed up
his experiences like this (my paraphrase): "I've experienced being
a privileged, wealthy person, and I've experienced being the lowest
of the low. I have been full, I've been hungry, I've had lots of
possessions, and I've had barely enough just to survive."
Through all his life experiences,
Paul had learned a very valuable lesson. To the Philippian church,
he wrote, "I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith
to be content" (Philippians 4:11b).
In another place Paul writes, "And
having food and raiment (clothing) let us be therewith content"
(I Timothy 6:8). You can imagine that Paul was not thinking of the
best food or the newest, designer clothes--he meant that we should
be content to have any food to eat or clothing to wear! Talk about
the bare necessities!
Personally, I've adopted the prayer
of contentment found in Proverbs 30, verses 8b-9, which reads, "Give
me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for
me: lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or
lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain."
These verses basically say, "Lord,
don't ever let me get so rich that I forget that I depend on You
for my food, my clothing, my health, and even my life. On the other
hand, please protect me from becoming so poor that I'm begin to
doubt Your ability to supply my needs and allow my desperation to
drive me to sin."
According to these verses, there is
danger in becoming too rich--in getting everything we want without
prayer or even much effort on our part. That's why God's Word tells
us not to labor to obtain earthly riches but instead to focus our
desires on heavenly things. (Proverbs 23:4-5, Matthew 6:19-21, Colossians
Does this mean that God wants all
Christians to be poor? No: God rewards our labor, and He wants to
give us earthly blessings--as long as they will be good for us to
have. Because only God can see the future, only He knows which possessions
we will use for His glory and which ones will corrupt us and cause
us to forget our dependence on Him.
Matthew 6:8 tells us that God knows
what our needs are, even before we ask Him for them, and Psalm 84:11
says that "no good thing will He withhold from them that
God desires to bless us, and He wants
to give us good things. So let's trust Him to give us what we need
and protect us from things that would detract from our true purpose--to
live for His glory. Our best goal is to be wise managers of our
resources while prioritizing God's will over our personal ambitions
and desires, trusting Him to arrange the outcome.
Purity girls, can you see the need
for godly contentment in your lives? I hope so, because contentment
is central to a life of purity, and it yields the fruit of joy wherever
it is allowed to blossom. Don't worry--God won't let you miss out
on the good stuff when you stop greedily striving for more, more,
more. The result will be that you stay cool instead of repeatedly
pinging against the barriers that keep you from what you think you
really want. An inner peace will replace your deleted discontent,
and you'll discover that by not pushing for more you're actually
opening yourself up for something better: because "godliness with
contentment is great gain"! (I Timothy 6:6)