We live in a very old house. It has lots of cracks, crevices and holes that have opened over the 150 years it has stood on its fieldstone foundation. I think people call it character, but to the critters that live in the neighborhood these imperfections are super highways from their homes into our pantry. We regularly get mice, snakes, squirrels, spiders and in this case ants. They like to come into the house and invade our cabinets. There is nothing like a bowl of Raisin Bran that starts moving on you. The wife just loves this aspect of old house living…..you can guess that I am being facetious about that, right?
With a toddler in the house the problem has worsened. Particularly since baby girl number 4 decided that hiding her food in the radiator was a great new game with which to pass dinner time. Nothing is more fun to find a radiator filled with macaroni and meatballs. It amazes me that God makes little minds that think – Hey, there is a crack in the baseboard, I would love to stick my scrambled eggs in there!
We should not have been surprised then when we found her high chair covered with ants cashing in on the bounty of food in the area. Hearing my beautiful bride’s high-pitched scream followed by her running from the room is like Batman seeing the Batsignal in the sky over Gotham.
I know that I am being summoned. I am desperately needed and I know that it involves something “yucky”. In this case it was the biggest ant invasion I have ever seen outside of shows about Australia. The high chair and the floor were dark there were so many ants coming in and lining up to eat. It was just gross.
“Tom to the rescue!” Seeing as they declared war on my little girl and my home, I declared war on the ants. Initially, it did not go very well – picture a man trying to squish a million ants and only managing to get 800,000 crawling all over him as a result …..and then running out of the room crying and screeching. That totally wasn’t me, it was more like a manly ant threatening sobbing.
But thanks to internet research, we came upon a solution that worked. It involved a placing a mixture of Borax, sugar and water on a plate in the area where the ants were coming in. We then left it for the ants to find. No need to stomp or do the hard work, we just had to leave it out for them where it was available. The ants are immediately drawn to the sugar water and they eat it like me eating jelly beans. It seems like sweet wonderful food.
They don’t realize that they are also ingesting and being covered by the Borax. After they have eaten and come in contact with the borax, when they go back to the colony, there bodies are filled with and covered in Borax. This then wipes on other ants and gets fed to the other ants in the colony. Borax becomes part of their every day diet. They also tell the other ants about the find and direct each other back to the plate to continue to the process.
Borax is poison to ants. It kills ants both from ingestion and from being on their bodies.
Perhaps I am strange, but I found the process fascinating in itself and was constantly checking the progress. At one point the ants were so intent on getting to the sweetness of the sugar-water that they pushed each other into the water without regard to what happens to the ones that get pushed in.
As I was watching though it hit me that God really teaches through everything. I was seeing ants act out before me the very clear effect and ultimately the consequences of sin in our lives.
Sin seems awesome for a time. It is shiny, tasty, attractive and sweet like the sugar-water. It tastes good initially to get us hooked and to get us to ignore the Spirit prompting us to flee.
Yet, no matter how good it tastes, how sweet it is and no matter how much we like it though, it is filled with poison. Just like the dish, it is set out as a trap meant to kill us. That is not a mistake. Sin is placed in our path not for our good, but to destroy us by the one who wants us dead and out of the way. We have a choice whether we want to keep on going past it or dive headlong into it. Once we taste of the sin, it is hard to turn away….it is just so sweet. It is filled with poison, but it tastes so good.
Once we are in sin, completely hooked, it is like the Borax and the ants – we also get it on us and become so covered by it so that it effects everyone around us. We take it into our homes, our jobs and add it to every part of our lives. We may think we can sit at work in sin and just leave it there partitioned off but that is not how sin works. The truth is the poison that we allow in us coats our very being and becomes what we feed to our spouses and our children. We lead the ones we love into the very same trap that is killing us, even pushing them in if they get in the way of getting to our great and powerful idol – whatever sin we have chosen to serve.
Despite the piles of death around the pool of sin that we are feeding off of, we keep going back and drinking in until it has destroyed us and everyone around us. In case you think I am exaggerating, take a gander at the local bars late in the evening or the local methadone clinic – people are acting ludicrous and literally being killed by their sin and yet they will knock you down and trample you to get to their poison. The wages of sin is death.
Sin is enticing, Sin can taste good initially, Sin can be intoxicating but always remember,
Sin kills. Sin kills families. Sin kills communities. Just look at the ants.
The good news is that we are not ants, we can turn away at any time. Jesus died to give us that freedom. We just need to agree that the poison is in fact poison and turn to Him as Savior….and be Saved.