“A huge oak tree in Colorado fell with a resounding crash after standing majestically on a hill for more than four hundred years. It was a mere sapling when Columbus landed in San Salvador. Over the centuries, it was struck by lightning fourteen times, braved great windstorms, and even defied an earthquake. In the end, however, it was killed by some little beetles! Boring under the bark, they chewed away its mighty fibers until one day, the lordly king of the forest came thundering down.” (H.G. Bosch)
Did you notice it was not the storms, the earthquake, or even the lightning that brought the oak's destruction? It was little beetles, not more than ¼ of an inch long, that slowly, and consistently eating into the heart of the tree that caused its downfall. People passing by did not see the danger; it was out of sight. No one saw what was going on inside the tree nor could they have anticipated the disaster in the making.
It is astounding how something as small as a beetle could have such a tremendous, destructive effect. This scenario holds a lesson for us. The beetles are like sins in our life. They may be small and unnoticed by others, but they can topple even the most outstanding Christian.
The size and longevity of that great oak tree did not protect it from destructive beetles. Regardless of how long we have known the Lord or the position others may have elevated us to, sin can destroy our testimonies and even our life. Over the last twenty years, I have known highly respected Christians who lost their families, ministries, and testimonies because they ignored the little sins in their life.
It is easy to let a beetle of discontentment enter our mind causing dissatisfaction with our marriage, our job, our circumstances, our church, or even with the Lord. We begin to dwell on all the little things we don't like or that go against our plans and desires. We focus on what our husbands are not doing, how we are not appreciated, or maybe feelings of being taken for granted. Each time we re-run painful experiences, unfair treatment, or disappointments, the little beetles chew away at our spiritual power consuming our peace and joy.
We may entertain ungodly thoughts or desires and rationalize they are harmless because they are hidden. Our flesh indulges in just a little worldliness. We begin chatting online with a sympathetic listener of the opposite sex or try our luck at online gambling.
None of us plan on yielding to temptation or becoming spiritual casualties, but that alone will not prevent it. We still have our old nature and it is capable of every sin. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9 KJV).
We don't plan on becoming a casualty, on falling in our walk, but that is precisely the goal of our enemy Satan. Our enemy knows that our thoughts dictate our emotions and behavior. He injects and promotes negative, self-centered thinking. This danger is why we are told above all things to guard our heart or mind. (Proverbs 4:23)
Jesus gave us clear guidelines for our thoughts. "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things" (Philippians 4:8 KJV).
One of the most destructive beetles is pride, and it is a danger for all of us. Human pride is a natural part of our sinful nature. If we allow it to begin to do its work in our thinking and attitude Scripture tells us it will lead to strife, disgrace, and destruction. When we allow pride to rule, we cannot please the Lord and we will be deceived and blinded to the truth. This beetle can destroy even the strongest of us. "Wherefore, let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" (1 Corinthians 10:12 KJV).
Wood beetles are small, and not visible on the surface. However, the knowledgeable person knows immediately that these insects are detrimental regardless of their size. In the same way, any sin is destructive. We are arrogant and foolish when we rationalize or ignore any sin...especially the ones we think are hidden.
God wants us to be strong, steadfast, and spiritually healthy. He desires us to have a genuine godly testimony as long as we live, and He will give us the power we need to do this. However, it is our job to maintain pest control. Our responsibility is to stay alert, discipline our thoughts, meditate on God's Word, and keep our hearts right. “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1 KJV).
The days are evil. The storms are darkening the sky, and the ungodly are mounting their forces against God's children. If there were ever a time for us to be on guard and stand firm in the Lord, it is now. Be strong and have courage. Don't be overcome with fear and guard against the deadly beetles. Our God Almighty is with us.
"Therefore, take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand" (Ephesians 6:13 KJV).