Being Righteous is Not Enough
There is an African proverb that says “If walls don’t have cracks, lizards and other reptiles can’t find a way in to hide". I had a rethink about this adage when my husband and I moved into a new home. Being a developing area, there were still a few grasslands yet to have buildings on them. So we decided to have quite some measures in place, to wade off pests and reptiles. We planted anti-reptiles plants around the house, raised the fence a few more coaches higher, built high ledges in front of the doors, ensured we had high windows covered with nets, and were extra cautious not to leave the doors open. To the best of our knowledge, we did all that was required of us, to ensure no pest could get in.
One night, we found a big rat in our kitchen. We were livid! Our first reaction was to check how a rat of that size could show up in our home. On close examination, we realized that the rat simply bridged one of our security measures by consistently biting into the window net till it got through. It was obvious, however, that the rat was super determined to get in.
In the middle of this frustrating scenario, I had a deep revelation of what this could mean in my everyday life. Sometimes we do all we know how to do to wade off the enemy and his atrocities. We avoid sin like a plague and try so hard not to give an eye for an eye. We pray, read our bibles, we do all of these, and expect that all our good deeds should at least keep the enemy away. Ironically, however, it appears that the more we try, the more the enemy is determined to show up in our homes.
In the book of Job, it was recalled that Satan was deliberate about afflicting Job. But why was Job the preferred person for affliction? Simple, he was a righteous man! His righteousness qualified him as a candidate to be visited by the enemy, and God himself aligned with this. God recommended Job for a trial.. for being righteous.
And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? (Job 1:7–8 KJV)
When we go through the bible, we will realize that several verses highlight the fact that we will go through diverse trials and temptations. Every righteous man in the bible had a fair share. It is therefore obvious that, though we are called to walk on the path of righteousness, that same path could lead to the valley of the shadow of death. God’s promise to us, however, is that he will deliver us from all evil. But we will have to see, smell and even walk into evil at some point in time.
Indeed, all who delight in pursuing righteousness and are determined to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will be hunted and persecuted (because of their faith) 2nd Timothy 3:12 AMP
So, I have learned a few lessons from the event about a rat getting into my home. I consider the rat in this regard as the enemy.
- Expect a rat someday
We need to understand that living a righteous life would not always keep evil away. Therefore this should not be our motive for living right. Rather living right should be our evidence that we love God. When we love someone, we don’t want to hurt them, so we live right for them. As much as no one prays to have trials, it is better to be prepared than sorry.
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: (1st Peter 4:12 KJV)
But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this, we know that we are in Him. (Ist John 2:5 KJV)
- Stand strong and kick the rat out
Sometimes when we are faced with evil, it’s difficult to see or think right. All our attention is focused on what is going wrong. I recall the night we discovered the rat in our home, we searched late into the night just to get the rat out, till we were exhausted. We just could not think straight anymore. It was surprising to know that our peace could be stolen by such a small animal.
It is possible to run ourselves out when we are faced with difficulty, such that our peace is taken away. When this happens as well we lose hope to continue to fight and win. However, it is important to know that it is only those that survive the storm that can tell the tales of it.
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him (James 1:12 KJV)
- Keep the measures tighter
Through the storm and when we eventually overcome it, we mustn’t let our guards down, rather we are called to constantly stay in the place of prayer, where we get strength daily for renewal and restoration, so we don’t fall. But just like every other storm, it calms down for a while, only to rise again.
We haven’t seen another rat in our home since the last one, and we don’t expect anyone soon, as we have further enforced more guardrails. It is however great to know, that God teaches us lessons even with the seemingly “annoying things” that happen to us.