How Trapping Japanese Beetles Parallels Dealing With Tempations

Japanese Beetles were out in hordes this summer covering our Japanese Maples, hibiscus, Crape Myrtles, really almost everything green around our house. I had noticed a few but didn’t think much about them until at a buddy’s house and he had a “bug bag” in the ground by his front door. So, I asked him what it was for and he explained how this last winter being so warm caused a huge problem with Japanese Beetles. I wondered if they were a problem in my yard?

A week or so later, when leaving Lowe’s, I saw the bags to trap these pesky creatures and bought two boxes. They were pretty cheap so I figured, “Why not?”

I put one up on a plant hook we weren’t using and went inside. I looked out the Bug bag used to trap Japanese Beetleswindow no more than 10 minutes later and, wow! There were literally 100, or more, beetles swarming this bag! I could tell there was already about an inch of beetles at the bottom of the bag with more falling down into it by the second!

There is a disc you place at the top of the bag, a “floral”, that has a sex attractant for both male and female beetles. It smells similar to citronella, only worse. Not a fan of citronella and this was more pungent, yuck! These beetles were gaga over it though, let me tell you!

Over the next few weeks I purchased 6 bags. They filled progressively slower but filled they did. And, when they were full (can you imagine the “beetle mainia/sex orgy” going on in these bags!?!) the smell was horrific! Yes, I am sensitive to bad smells and it doesn’t take much to make this man gag! These bags almost had me there. I carried them across the yard pinching my nose, holding my breath, basically running for the trash bin!

As the last two bags were filling I started to think, “when will this end?” My brother and I were visiting and he said he’d bought spray you used with your garden hose to kept them away. I quickly picked up a bottle and this ended the need for these “beetle orgy bags” hanging around in my yard, thank goodness! I was starting to become self conscience walking past them as I “knew” what was happening in there. I guess, for beetles, if you gotta die somehow this would be a good way? And, I’m sure there are others “creatures” who would agree [wink, wink]!

As these weeks pasted, I started thinking how it would be great in my Christian life to be able to hang bags that would catch the temptations that plague me, right? How could this work?

First there would need to be some kind of “floral” to attract the temptations. As I wondered what this would be I quickly surmised this “floral” is…me! I have a sin nature in me already, Ro 7:25, 8:3, 2 Pt 2:18. Col 3:5a, NLT, clearly lets us know that this “floral” is inside us, “So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you.”

Let’s be positive and accept this truth. We don’t have to find an “attractant” as it is already inside us. Listen to what I am saying though: this is truth; it is “how it is.” I’m expressing to be positive, not happy about it, as from the very beginning you can become defeated and take on a victim mentality. There will be no freedom found with this mindset. So, just stop it!

We have the “floral” inside us and we are constantly enduring “flybys” of these crappy Japanese Beetles. Some of these beetles are kamikazes determined WWII kamikaze planeto crash right into us. They want to kill us. How do we know this is true? Jn 10:10a, NLT, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.” And sadly, often we even have the lights flashing like on an aircraft carrier fully directing them where to hit us. At least I have done this much in my life. Still do. But I’m learning, transforming and He is doing so much to help me “stop the madness.” I share my life here to grow more myself and help you too.

Continuing with this analogy, what is the bag that will catch these potential killers? There are two possibilities:  our soul or Jesus on the cross. All too often it is our soul and there must be a transfer to Jesus. This does not have to be our normal! I don’t think I even need to explain how to be the bag, right? We have that down great!

We are going to learn in another way, and start living out, how to have these temptations not become sins that weight us down and require repentance and transfer to Jesus on the cross. I am not Roman Catholic, yet I know Jesus hung on the cross for my sins, your sins, and the price of them was paid for by Him over 2,000 years ago, on His cross. And, in some mysterious way He, in that 6 hours of being on His cross, He is still paying for the price of sins, yours and mine!

How can it be possible to overcome temptation? When we are born again we become “spiritual beings” with a “new nature.” 1 Cor 2:10-16 explains how we are spiritual beings and can understand these concepts. And, Col 3:10, NLT, adds to this explaining, “Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.” These truths are foundational! We must know we have a new nature, we can change/transform, and our spirit is alive now so we can understand God and His ways. If you don’t know this and believe it, you are destined to fail in overcoming the Japanese Beetles who are earnest and unwavering in their pursuit after your life! Yes, they want to destroy you physically but first they will try to steal your joy and kill your faith. Your faith is last, and eroded as they destroy and kill, because this is the essence of your salvation, Ep 2:8-9.

So, here is what you’ve been waiting for in this post:  a three step process guaranteed to give you freedom over every woe of your life and it will be your “magic ticket” to never be entangled in sin again! AWESOME!!!

Sorry, don’t have the three steps. Why not? There aren’t any “magic tickets” in life! That’s why. Instead, there is something much greater, Jesus, Holy Spirit and your Heavenly Father who love you so dearly they will do all they can to bring you into freedom and see you through life ushering you into an eternity that will be temptation free! What is the cost? Everything you have! Remember this blog’s name is, “Consider The Cost.”

So, here is a list of some of what God has asked me to do to grow in Freedom:

  1. Prayer. This cannot be neglected. When you slack off be ready for not only Japanese Beetles but also locusts, wasps, and any other insects that are creepy, hurtful and deadly. If you are not familiar with inner-healing prayer (or some call healing memories) then you need to learn what this is and find someone who can pray with you with this powerful way of healing. I cannot say enough in how important this prayer is! See books by Leanne Payne as a great place to start.
  2. Worship. What is worship? It is the life of a believer. In essence, it is everything we do, except sin. It is so much more than singing songs in church on Sunday morning. I cannot go into great detail here on all that is worship. If you truly don’t know what worship is then the first book I will recommend is Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life. This will only be a start. Yet, it will be a great start!
  3. Fellowship with believers. Yes, you cannot be a lone wolf or an island and be a Christian thriving in life and growing in Freedom.
  4. Feast on God’s Word. You must study the Bible, read it for devotion, memorize verses, discuss it with fellow believers, read what others have learned in how God’s Word is true and has changed them as this will inspire you.
  5. For some of us, we need Christian counseling.
  6. Spend your time and money on Christian conferences that will help you learn, grow, and walk in Freedom. The first I recommend is Ministries of Pastoral Care (https://ministriesofpastoralcare.com/). Next, Gateway Church has a Freedom Conference that I highly recommend and there is a KAIROS that I have been told is awesome (http://gatewaypeople.com/ministries/freedom/training).
  7. Attend a 12-step group. I am so blessed to be part of a group called Redemption Recovery through my fellowship, Christ’s Church of Oronogo (ccochurch.com). For me, this is the essence of the first church and the most pure form of church there is today. Broken people loving, accepting, and holding other broken people accountable and everyone is journeying together learning and growing in Freedom. I absolutely love Tuesday evenings!
  8. Know your learning style (visual, logical, aural, physical, verbal, social, solitary–most of us are a combination of more than one) and use this to learn about your addiction and how it controls you, how it can be broken, so that you grow in understanding that you can be Free.
  9. Develop and attitude of, “Whatever it takes.” This is absolutely mandatory! If you refuse to pay for and go to counseling because people would think you are crazy, or tell anyone your “secret”, or allow people to pray for you and love you or, or, or…then you will not find freedom or grow in it.
  10. Lastly (and trust me I’m stopping at ten even though I could easily give you another ten or one hundred items as there is no limit to God’s power and ways to heal us) you must know what Freedom is. If you have no clue where you are headed then you will arrive somewhere but I’m sure it will not be the place you really desire. You have a huge role in your transformation. Know what Freedom is and how you can enjoy it’s path as you journey through life.

    “Although goals are important, having a plan of action is vital to the success of those goals. Having a goal with no plan of action is like wanting to travel to a new destination without having a map.” Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth and Being Free

What Is Freedom?

First, I am going to start by explaining what Freedom is not. Yes, I know this seems bogus. But, let’s establish some ground rules. A great way to accomplish this is by a story. I do love stories! This is a short one, I promise.

In life we climb ladders of success. This demands a lot of time, money, energy, sacrifices. When you get to the top of your ladder you feel elated! Wow, I have “arrived.” After a short time you start to look around as this view is much better than when you were climbing. That was a “pain in the neck.” Right?

Once at the top of your ladder, wouldn’t it be really sad to look around at the view and realize, “I’m against the wrong wall!” This is where many people find their self and it is almost impossible to go down that ladder. Put it against the correct wall, look up and…start climbing. All. Over. Again.

Now, thinking about this story we want to establish what Freedom is not because working toward a goal of what you “think” Freedom is and then when you believe you have “arrived” and the view is all wrong will cause you major stress and distress. I guarantee it!

So, Freedom is NOT: When I don’t have to deal with “fill in the blank” anymore. We all have different strongholds. Mine is SSA/homosexual desires. And, this is not the only issue in my life…by any means! If my Freedom is based solely upon not seeing any man again and having attractions then I most likely will never have Freedom.

Wait, you are telling me I will have to deal with “fill in the blank” for a long, long time. Maybe even the rest of my life?

Yes. Most likely.

I don’t know how you are feeling at this very moment. Not happy? But wait, wouldn’t you be appreciative if when you very first started climbing your ladder of “success” someone would have told you, “Hey, your ladder is against the wrong wall!” You could have backed up, looked up at the wall and saw it said, “Lawyer” when you really desire to be Veterinarian as you absolutely love animals! Your parents are the ones who want you to be a lawyer. So, instead of climbing this ladder you take off backpacking through Europe and meet a married couple who are retired and are having the time of their life! You share a meal together and learn tons from them. They have children and grandchildren. Crazy fun hobbies. Tons of family and friends. You think, “This is the kind of life I want to have when I retire in thirty or forty years” so you ask them, “What did you do for your jobs?” And they say, “We met in college and had a business together doing what we loved!” Wow, you think that is exactly what I’d like to do. You ask another question, “What business did you have together?” They reply, “We had a veterinary hospital.” You almost fall off your chair! You’re hearing that voice saying, “Are you sure your ladder is against the right wall?” again. And, you go home and start college knowing exactly what you are going to do in life.

Keeping this in mind, we’re going to learn (with a Biblical based worldview as there is no other for a Christian to have!) what Freedom is now.

1. Freedom is Holy Spirit living in you.

II Cor 3:17 tells us, “For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

If you are a believer, disciple of Jesus, Christian, then Holy Spirit lives in you. You have Freedom. Where He is there is Freedom. Boom!

But wait, maybe you are thinking, “I have Holy Spirit in me but I still struggle and I’m tempted with “fill in the blank.” So how do I have Freedom?” You have Him helping you choose not to sin. If you don’t have Holy Spirit in you then you may decide some times not to sin. But, eventually, I know you will sin and go deep into sinning. In my life, it is impossible to stay away from the temptation without God’s help! And even then I will sin from time to time.

Freedom is Holy Spirit helping you, you listen and make the right choice. You won’t do this every time by any means. But, if you do your part–you collaborate with Him–you will find yourself making the right choice/not sinning, more and more.

2. Freedom is the Truth.

John 8:32 tells us, “And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

Jesus is Truth. How? He tells us in John 14:6a, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

To know the Truth you must know Jesus. You must know His ways. For me to know Him, first and foremost, I spent years reading and studying the Gospels, the “red letter” words. Here is the best way, I believe, to learn Jesus and learn Truth.

Another powerful verse that I believe supports my understanding of Freedom is James 1:12, “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” This clearly tells us that we are going to be tempted all through life. I know in my journey the temptation with SSA is almost nothing most days. But, there are days when it rears its ugly head and mounts an attack that often drives me to my knees praying, “Jesus, save me from this!”

I put these two verses, II Cor 3:17 and John 8:32 as the two main pillars holding up for me what Freedom is.

Why is this important? Because knowing you have your ladder against the right wall is going to make the climb simpler, not easier. And, when you get to the top you will be able to help others around you who are still climbing their ladder through encouragement and by example, “Hey, I made it to the top so can you!”

Other verses to help you understand Freedom are: Jn 8:36 and Ro 6:7. And, verses explaining what Freedom is not include: Acts 8:23, 1 Cor 10:23, Ro 8:2, Ro 6:16. These are not exhaustive. If you have verses that help you in understanding and living out Freedom please leave a comment as I’d love to expand upon my understanding of Freedom.

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