We have a problem at our house...
A squirrel problem.
My dad has this nice bird feeder and instead of the birds eating all of the feed,
the squirrels eat it all.
That's just not working.
A bird feeder is for birds, not squirrels.
So my dad is bound and determined to feed the birds.
He's tried many different, creative strategies to keep the squirrels from jumping onto the tree and then the bird feeder.
A few weeks ago, my dad hung a large lid over the bird feeder so the squirrels couldn't jump down from the branch above and onto the feeder.
This strategy did work, but didn't prevent the squirrels from jumping from the other trees.
A week ago, he hung a glass pot lid from the tree adjacent to the bird feeder in hopes it would block the squirrels from jumping onto the feeder.
The day after, I'm doing the dishes and looking outside, when all of the sudden I see a squirrel on the adjacent tree, staring at the pot lid and feeder.
"Surely," I thought, "he isn't going to be able to get to the feeder."
Sure enough, the squirrel jumped over the big pot lid and onto the feeder.
The pot lid seemed like a good idea, but I guess squirrels are smarter than that.
Then a couple days ago, my dad put some chicken wire halfway over the feeder to keep the squirrels from getting to the food, but still allowing the birds to get it.
I thought, "Okay this should work."
Once again, I'm doing the dishes and a squirrel catches my eye.
I stop what I'm doing and put my attention on the hungry (or greedy) squirrel.
Like the last time, this squirrel definitely has to put some thought into what he's going to do next.
His legs lunge back and I watch him go airborne towards the bird feeder tree.
He passes the pot lid, lands under the big lid, and turns his body upside down (no joke) in order to get his head past the chicken wire so he could reach his afternoon snack.
"Are you kidding me?!" I said. "How in the world could he do that?! Wait until, I tell Dad."
My dad comes home that evening and I break the news to him.
"The squirrel hung from the feeder upside down so he could get past the chicken wire. Your plan didn't work. Maybe you should just give up."
But being the innovative and persistent man that he is, he replied, "Well, I have a few more ideas."
Clearly, my dad hasn't given up yet. That isn't a bad thing, though. He just wants the squirrels to stop stealing the birds food.
But it makes me think (of course).
It reminds me of when we're fighting for the sin in our lives.
We're in this struggle to keep the sin and justify it.
We may have part of our lives right, but the other, wrong.
We're fighting against it.
We don't want to give in and get rid of it.
In Ephesians 6:11-17, the apostle Paul tells us to "put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."
Sometimes it's hard to be all in and not give in to the repentance of our sins.
We'll get rid of these sins, but not the others.
Paul tells us to "put on the whole armor." He doesn't say, "Put on just a piece or two of the armor of God."
He is telling us that it is worth it, to be all in.
To put our whole being into an armor of truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation will help us to withstand the temptation of the evil around us, even our own sin.
I'm not sure if my dad will give up on the Mission Protect the Bird Feeder, and if he doesn't, that's okay. I'm not saying it's wrong, but a picture of how we can fight against ridding the sin in our lives.
Will we give up and give in to the life of repentance that Jesus has called us to?
Acts 3:19 says, "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord."
2 things to learn:
#1 never underestimate the intelligence of a squirrel.
#2 more importantly, never underestimate the power of the whole armor of God and the strength He gives us, so that we can repent from our old, sinful ways to a life full of truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation.