Happy first week of February! We’ve got a fairly full month ahead of us. Our senior daughter finishes up her high school cheerleading career and prepares for her last fine arts competition (which is virtual this year).
We’re also trying to plan ahead for a summer vacation, but covid restrictions are making that quite interesting. We’d initially looked at traveling internationally, but that changed last month. Now we’re checking out locations that offer a good mix of options for our one activity-loving and our other leisure-loving daughters 🙂
I briefly mentioned here on the blog our exciting (ahem) VRBO we stayed at last summer. Our younger daughter found a snake on the stairs leading from the lower level to the main floor. (Yes, there was screaming involved.) Then all four of us spotted a mouse (or more likely several different mice) on all three floors of the house.
The owner of the house did send an exterminator who put out a few of those sticky traps to catch the mice. (We, as in my husband and our older daughter’s boyfriend, took care of the snake ourselves.) As to the mouse traps…first of all, there was nothing in those traps to attrace the mice – certainly nothing as good as what was on the kitchen counters. And secondly, I’m not even sure the mouse I saw could have fit into one of those little traps! Needless to say, no mice were caught while we finished our stay at the house.
In that instance, the traps were totally ineffective. But real traps – those made to trick and deceive – can be very effective. The kind of traps I’m thinking of are those temptations that slip into our lives and homes and lead us into sin. And if we’re not careful, we can fall prey to them.
In the second chapter of Judges, the angel of the Lord rebukes the children of Israel for making leagues (alliances) with the heathen inhabitants of Canaan. In the third verse, he says that because of their failure to remove these people, he will allow them to “be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.”
There’s a real application here for our homes. You see, the Israelites failed to recongize the consequences of not ridding their environment of things that would cause them and their children to be tempted to sin.
I began to wonder if there were any areas in which I have unknowingly allowed worldly ideas or philosophies into my home. Could anything here be a snare to my family and perhaps entice them to sin?
Let’s be clear that each one of us is responsible for our own actions. We should know ourselves well enough to set boundaries in areas where we’re weak and prone to sin. But I also feel, in a way, that I can be a gatekeeper. I can ask God for discernment to allow only the best things into our home.
So what kind of snares should we be watching out for in our homes? Here are a few ideas.
This area came to mind first. Are the books, music, movies, or television programs that come into our homes drawing us away from our relationship with God? It could be because of the content – bad language, inappropriate situations, or anti-Christian viewpoints. Or it could just be the amount of time we spend on those things that could be used in better ways.
I suppose we could lump our smartphones into this category as well. The purpose of this post is not to specifically discuss boundaries on social media, games, or other information we access on our phones. However, it’s certainly an area in which we can be easily tempted.
One reason to monitor our media choices is that they affect our thoughts. Our ideology can come from what we see or hear repeatedly, so we have to be careful that we’re basing our beliefs on God’s Word. If we’re getting our opinions from Facebook, the news, another person (even a “spiritual leader”), and not checking those ideas against Bible truth, we can easily fall into a pattern of worldly thinking.
It gets very personal here! Is there an attitude I portray that is negative or sinful? Maybe it’s discontentment, ingratitude, anger, or a critical spirit. And I’ve noticed that those attitudes are very contagious! If I fall into that trap, I’m probably going to take someone else in the house with me. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to help us recognize when our minds are headed in the wrong direction.
Putting other things before God
This could be work, a hobby, friends, a place we go – things that are good in and of themselves, but not when we put them ahead of God. Or maybe we just go our own way. We make decisions based on what we want, and fail to seek God’s guidance.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but just some ideas to get you thinking. But let’s end with a few practical ways to avoid traps in our homes.
Let’s practice 1 Thessalonians 5:17. “Pray without ceasing.” As we go through our day, let’s have a heart attitude that drives us to prayer when we need guidance.
In the words of Philippians 1:9-10, let’s “approve things that are excellent.” Just as we wouldn’t feed our families a steady diet of junk food, let’s make sure that what we allow to nourish their hearts and minds is healthy.
And when we recognize that we may not be noticing the traps around us, let’s seek to have our “senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” [Hebrews 5:14] Sometimes things that seem innocent on the surface can be harmful. As we pray and delve into Scripture, God can reveal those traps to us.
Like me, you want your home to be one that honors Christ. Let’s be vigilant to watch out for and remove any traps that might be present!