Monday, February 29, 2016

Playing With Fire...Ants







Today I did a really dumb thing...but I am going to write about it anyway.  I was enjoying the beautiful warm temperatures and sunshine with my family outside.  I was watching my husband and little boy fly a remote control helicopter.  As I was looking around at nature, I noticed some flat spots of dirt amid the dull brownish green grass.  
"Donnie, are these where the fire ant hills were?" I asked.
"Yes," he said.  "Be careful of those."
"Eli," I said, "Don't step on these brown patches of dirt.  There are fire ants in there."
"Okay," he nodded.
I kept looking at these flat places, thinking in my mind...Last summer they were mounds.  I wonder if these really are fire ant homes...hmmm.  Maybe they are not. 
I peered closer to see if I could see any ants.
A few tiny little ants were milling about...but not tons like last summer.
Hmmm...I thought.  I am just not sure if these are fire ants or not. 
"Are you sure these are fire ants?"  I asked my husband.
"Yes," he answered.
After a minute or two of observing the flat brown dirt, for some strange reason, I decided to see for myself if those were fire ant hills.  So I took my foot and stomped on top of the supposed fire ant hill. 
Immediately hundreds of ants were rolling about, HUNDREDS! 
I jerked my foot back quickly and ran, shouting, "It's fire ants!"
Donnie looked at me incredibly and said, "Why did you step in them?  Are they on you?  Eli, don't you do what your Mama just did.  Let me see...are they on you?"
Only because of God's grace for me being a normally sane individual who did a really dumb thing did I not have a single fire ant on me.
Eli came running, "Mommy!  WHY did you do that?  Daddy TOLD you they were fire ants!  You told me not to step on them!  WHY did you do that?"
I just shook my head, "I don't know...I guess I just wanted to see for myself.  It was a really dumb thing I did.  Don't you ever do that, okay?" 
Now Eli just shook his head, "Well, I would NOT want to do that."  

As they continued to play with the helicopter, I kept thinking why had I done such a ridiculous thing?  Romans 7 tells me Paul had struggled with this dilemma himself for he writes...""For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate." (Rom. 7:13)
I kept watching the ants mill out by the hundreds...it sure did not look like an ordinary fire ant mound.  It was just flat earth.  I had been deceived by my own desire to see for myself if it was really a "terrible fire ant hill" or just regular old earth (which was what it looked like...except for those few little ants I saw at the first).

Since I try not to do stupid things, I have not been able to really understand why I did it...therefore I am writing about it.  
First of all in 2 Timothy 4, verses 3-5, I read this:

"For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear something new.  They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths.  But as for you, be serious about everything, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."

Paul was writing this to Timothy and probably because Timothy had experienced this in his sharing the Truth with people.

Take my example above.  I had the sound doctrine of truth in what Donnie was telling me.  I even shared it with others.  But there came a moment when I had an "itch" to see for myself.  So I turned away from that truth I heard from Donnie about the fire ant hill and took my chances.  It could have turned out much worse than it did...I am surprised it did NOT turn out worse than what it did!

We can be like this when it comes to hearing the Truth of salvation.  We hear about Jesus but we don't want to accept the truth because it isn't a "bed of roses" or an easy journey.  So we find people who are "preaching" what we want to hear...like "Just think positive and your life will be positive!"  or "God wants everyone to be prosperous and healed and have no storms or trouble in life!  So just send in 9.99 for your prayed over olive branch and you will be wealthy, healthy and wise!"
We want it to be like that... instead of "In this world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome this world".  

We can also be like this when it comes to sin in our lives.  We think "Well, that doesn't LOOK like sin...Sin is much bigger than THAT.  So one little foot in the water won't hurt me."  And maybe...like me...you are lucky the first time...you don't pay the costs associated with sin.  But it won't go on.  Eventually all the "ants" will come out and surround you and then you are in big trouble.

So good advice is listen to my husband when I ask him about fire ants and listen to the Word of God when it reads:

Hold on to the pattern of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.  Guard, through the Holy Spirit who lives in us, that good thing entrusted to you."  2 Timothy 1: 13, 14