The Enemy Within
by Allen Scott 7/29/2007 / Christian Living
Mk 7:14-15 (GW) Then he called the crowd again and said to them, "Listen to me, all of you, and try to understand! Nothing that goes into a person from the outside can make him unclean. It's what comes out of a person that makes him unclean.
The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire, is an exotic beetle that was discovered in southeastern Michigan near Detroit in the summer of 2002. The adult beetles nibble on ash foliage but cause little damage. The larvae (the immature stage) feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree's ability to transport water and nutrients. Emerald ash borer probably arrived in the United States on solid wood packing material carried in cargo ships or airplanes originating in its native Asia. Emerald ash borer is also established in Windsor, Ontario, was found in Ohio in 2003, northern Indiana in 2004, northern Illinois in 2006 and eastern Pennsylvania in 2007. Since its discovery, EAB has:
* Killed more than 20 million ash trees in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. Most of the devastation is in southeastern Michigan.
* Caused regulatory agencies and the USDA to enforce quarantines (Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania) and fines to prevent potentially infested ash trees, logs or hardwood firewood from moving out of areas where EAB occurs.
* Cost municipalities, property owners, nursery operators and forest products industries tens of millions of dollars.
The fully developed adult Emerald Ash borer has little or no effect on a mature tree because it nibbles on the leaves of the tree it is however the tiny larvae of this creature that does the damage to the Ash tree family. It is this tiny pest that bores itself into the interior of the tree, under the bark, hidden from view where the damage is being done on a grand scale.
Not being native to this area this new menace has little or no known natural enemies. Therefore it is able to reproduce and destroy virtually unchecked and unhindered. Without an effective defense these tiny creatures will singlehandedly destroy all the Ash trees it comes in contact with.
As the army of ash borers continue to march on crossing into new territories seeking out sources of food it is leaving behind a path of destruction that has crossed six states with no end in sight. Areas where the Ash borer have been detected are quarantined in attempts to curb the rapid infestation of surrounding standing timber.
Local and national governments are devising plans to battle this import from Asia with new legislation that would curtail the transportation of cut lumber across state lines and county boundaries.
Just like the nasty Emerald Ash borer there too is a deadly infestation targeting the church house. This invisible force has been spreading its devastation since the beginning of time. Paths of destruction are left in its wake whenever it is allowed to fester and feast unhindered as it hides behind the mask of solid Christianity.
Like the EAB the results of infestation are usually not seen until the green leaves start to decay and die off. The outward decay happens after the inner destruction has been done. Like a cancer these pests bore into the hearts and souls of the church and gnaw away at its very core starving the branches from much needed nourishment provided by the roots and trunk.
Though often identified by different names they all behave in much the same manner as the EAB larvae.
Mk 7:20-23 (GW) He continued, "It's what comes out of a person that makes him unclean. Evil thoughts, sexual sins, stealing, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, cheating, shameless lust, envy, cursing, arrogance, and foolishness come from within a person. All these evils come from within and make a person unclean."
These evil soul stealing parasites attach themselves to otherwise upstanding citizens and gnaw away at their cores until one day they fall from its effects. It is not the outward sins that oft times beset us but these deadly inner thoughts and attitudes that will most defiantly fell us.
Cleansing one's spirit from these pests requires diligence and perseverance. Just like the pesticides need to be applied repeatedly year after year so too must we examine our hearts and lives for signs of soul infestation. Ignoring the threat is a disaster waiting to happen. Being pro active and alert to the spread of these soul bores is required. Guarding our hearts with due diligence is the only wise course of action.
If the infestation goes unchecked too long perhaps there is no recovery for those infested. The only course then left is to be cut down and tossed into the fire to prevent further infestations from occurring.
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27
God has sent His Holy Spirit into the world to rid the world of sin infestation. God's spirit is sin resistant and soul cleansing. It is the power of God to overcome the enemy within.
If we allow the Holy Spirit to monitor our hearts and lives then we too can be resistant to soul stealing sin bores.