(the neighbor's cat)
There is a cat. She's a cat of our neighbor's, but she has decided that she needs to be as annoying as possible to us and our cats. She's a sweet petite thing I will admit, but she thinks that we're now part of her family. I think she'd live with us if she could. How did she get this way? Subtly, very subtly.
We knew she was our neighbor's cat, so when she came in our yard the other day, she was welcomed warmly. A mistake on our part, I will admit. We enjoyed petting her, and watching her roam our yard. And within a few short hours, we realized our mistake. She doesn't get along with our cats for one thing, and when we tried to get her out of our yard, she refused.
When her owner came, he tried to take her home a couple different times, yet she still returned. She sneaked herself into our yard and next thing you know, she'd be laying in the middle of the garden, or staring down one of our cats. Now trying to keep her out of the yard is proving to be a difficult task. We like the sweet kitty, but she needs to stay with her family. Today alone I've already had to shoo her home a few different occasions.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. ~ 1 Peter 5:8-9 (ESV)
Sin and temptations are the same way. They worm their way into our lives, and when we realize what's happening, they can be a pain to remove from our lives. Just like the cat, we need to be on guard for when the temptation returns. It's not a sin per-say, but something in my life that is like this is stubbornness. Oh, can I be stubborn!
Over the past several months it's something I've truly noticed, and with some prayer & work on God's part, I'm slowly trying to overcome it. Let me say it is so easy to be stubborn. In fact it's painful not to be stubborn. So then I have to make a choice, do I stay stubborn or do I yield & submit? It's hard to decide sometimes, but God's way is best.
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. ~ Ephesians 6:21 (NIV)
If you just leave the sin and temptations in your life, it's just like letting that pesky cat roam into your yard and doing nothing to remove it. But, if you pray, stand firm, and remove them, then bit by bit, you can overcome them. Some of them will be pesky and continue to test you. Stubbornness is still testing me, and quite possibly always will. Three verses come to mind.
Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 (ESV)
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. ~ John 16:33 (ESV)
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. ~ 1 John 5:4 (ESV)
So today I challenge you to take some time to think, pray, and ask God what in your life needs to be removed. What do you need to overcome? It is a hard, yes. But! It is worth it!