Everyone who hears the truth of the Gospel behaves like a bug. Which are you: a moth or a cockroach? Let me share two experiences that illustrate the behavior of these two insects.
When we were on vacation on a Caribbean island we went to dinner at an outdoor pizza parlor. We had never before seen an outdoor pizza parlor and we were about to find out why. After eating about half of the pizza we noticed these strange lumps in the cheese. It turned out that the pizza was kept under warming lamps while waiting to be served. Being outdoors, moths were attracted to the lamps, be killed by the heat and fall into the pizza. We complained to the management and, since we had already eaten half of the pizza, they offered us a 50% refund. My stomach still does flip flops at the memory.
The second episode dates to 1972. We rented a cottage at Wrightsville Beach, NC for a month. One night I came into the kitchen quite late and flipped on the light only to see a dozen or so big black bugs scurry quickly to their hiding places. Cockroaches!
When you turn on a light, a moth is immediately attracted to it. The opposite reaction happens with a cockroach. He will scurry away to hide. People are the same way with the Gospel. John 3:19-21 (NIV): “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”
For someone who is fully enjoying their life of sin it is difficult to turn away. Sin can have a tight hold. For those of us who have given our hearts to God, we are to be drawn to the Light of truth as a moth is drawn to a light. Eph. 5:8-9 (NIV) “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth.” In short, be a moth and not a cockroach!
The Bible says a lot about light, darkness, and the people who prefer one over the other. John wrote, “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Paul described Jesus as “the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God” (2 Cor. 4:6). Jesus described Himself and His followers like this: “I am the Light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of life” (John 8:12).
Darkness is a common biblical metaphor for sin. Jesus also spoke of darkness as something the natural, sinful person prefers above light. He said, “The Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed” (John 3:19-21).
You are either like a moth or a cockroach. You either love the Light and find peace in His presence, or you are repulsed by the Light and prefer hiding in the darkness of your sin.
The non-Christian has a defective compass. Rather than helping him find his way to safety and security, it makes him more lost, more enslaved. John 3:19,20: “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” Just as a cockroach by nature prefers darkness over light, fallen man by nature prefers sin over Jesus.
The true Christian, on the other hand, has a compass that has been renewed by God. The Holy Spirit dwells in him, giving him new desires which lead him away from sin and toward righteousness. No matter what the world insists is better, this person knows there is nothing better than Jesus. The light of truth has entered his heart so that he sees “the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). Sin has an ever-decreasing appeal. John 1:5 NLT “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”
Just as we might use a sanitizer for our hands, there is Purell for the heart. Our hearts can be sanitized. As David prayed in the 51st Psalm, we can ask God to “wash us thoroughly from our iniquity, and cleanse us from our sin. Create in us a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within us.” God has the ability to sanitize our hearts, cleaning out the filth and grime of sin, through forgiveness offered by his Son’s death upon the Cross. We don’t have to remain in the shadows.
God calls us to be light, a light that has the power to transform us and others. We welcome the light of a new way of thinking and living. Our hearts can be filled with a new outlook as we experience His peace.
Pick up a cockroach and place it in a lighted room; what happens? It will scurry for a dark corner as quickly as possible. A change of nature is needed before the light is accepted. The same with people. We all know those who run from the light.
But don’t we each run from the light in some are of our lives that we have not yet surrendered: pride, selfishness, lustful thoughts, anger, unforgiveness? When we came to the Lord, our soul was filled with cockroaches. It is a lifelong process to bring light to those dark areas.
Paul said in Ephesians 5:11, “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness.” In Colossians 1:13, he said, “[God] has rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” That’s past tense. It has already happened. He sees us already complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10), new creations (2Corinthians 5:17), partakers of His divine nature (2Peter 1:4) and more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). That doesn’t sound like a cockroach to me.
We are separated from the light by veils of guilt, shame, unforgiveness and disappointment. In Christ, we enter a new and living way. The veil has been torn in two and we can step into the Holy Place.
The news reported recently about a man who had escaped from prison in North Carolina in 1968 but was captured in Connecticut after applying for social security. Someone who escapes from jail is free but looking over their shoulder. They are not free indeed. A runaway slave was free but not until he reached Canada was he free indeed. The Israelites escaped Egypt but they were looking over their shoulder as the Egyptian chased them. Going through the Red Sea meant they were free indeed. God wants us so free we are not looking over our shoulder wondering when our yesterday will catch up with us. Free but the drugs are chasing me. Free but I still have a temper out of control. There are bars I can see and bars I cannot see. Jesus declares me free indeed.
Romans 8:37 “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” If God’s Word says that we are more than conquerors through Christ, then we are. We are not going to become, we already are. We may be experiencing some failures or setbacks in life right now, but only good will come out of our situations because God says that “in all these things we are more than conquerors”. We have the victory!
God has placed us in Christ, whom He has exalted to the highest place in the universe. We are not trying to get to victory. We already have victory. We don’t speak God’s Word to get victory. We speak His Word because we are victorious.
The moment you accept Jesus as your Savior, you are born again and the new person inside you is more than a conqueror. Born again is not doing God a favor. I gave my life to God. It was so rotten He had to throw it away and give me a new life.
Perfection is what we are striving for, but perfection is an impossibility. However, striving for perfection is not an impossibility. We can only do the best we can under the conditions that exist. That is what counts.
If you don’t cleanup your kitchen, the cockroaches are going to move in. If you don’t cleanup your life, demons are likely to consider you their best friend and bring you all kinds of trouble.
Recognize that demons are not to be feared. They run and hide in the shadows and darkness when confronted with the light of the Holy Spirit. When I think of Satan, I am reminded of the wizard in The Wizard of Oz. He tried to be intimidating and scary but in reality he was a little guy behind a curtain. Isaiah 14:16 (NIV) describes Satan, “Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate: ‘Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble?’” Someday we will see the devil for who he is and say, “Why was everyone so scared?”
The devil will try to steal our victory. He will come against us with lies and fears, and cause us to be conscious of our failures and weakness. “Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for (someone) to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith.” (1 Peter 5:8,9) Who can he devour? How do we resist him? He devours the one who has separated himself from community. We resist him by staying connected to others who will support and hold us accountable.
No one has it all together but together we have it all. I will always meet the negative crowd on the way to a miracle. The road to transformation will be lined with scoffers. Who I run with is a prophesy of my future.
The devil will shout, “Who do you think you are? Look at your past!” God has something to say about my past: “Get over it.” What is keeping me from taking the next step forward? Phil 3:14-14
The rule of Satan is broken. Romans 6:6-7 declares we are no longer slave to sin. The old man died. A new person is living here. Someday we will stand before the Judgement Seat. The prosecutor will be Satan but our defense attorney will be Jesus and has never lost a case.
My job is not to push out darkness, but simply to turn on the light. I must let go in order to move forward. I am not chained to the past, I am choosing to hold onto it.
You say you want to get ahead. I ask what head do you want to get: the head is addiction, pride, pornography, anger? David had to confront Goliath to take off his head. To conquer in any area of my life, I must first confront it then pick up the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and take its head off.
We face decisions every day in the areas of relationships, integrity, forgiveness, purity, in living the Good News. Light or darkness. Moth or cockroach. Your choice.