"A Beetle Story"

 
"15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. 18 Dear children, the last hour is here..."
1 John 2:15-18a (NLT)
 
I have had a Rose of Sharon tree in my yard the 15 years we have lived in our home. Every summer, without fail, it is covered with buds that open into beautiful little white flowers. One morning as I was walking to my car, I noticed that the tree was covered in buds I had never seen before. On closer inspection, I discovered (to my horror) that what I thought were buds were Japanese Beetles...hundreds of them. They covered my tree and were eating away at the buds before they ever had a chance to bloom.
 
As I was out running my errands that day, I spotted a sign on a local hardware store advertising "Beetle Traps." Needless to say, I pulled right in and bought one. Now, a beetle trap in itself is a very simple device. It's basically a heavy-duty bag with an opening at the top. Just above the opening is a little plastic cage where you place a bait cake and then you hang it just a couple feet away from the plant being eaten by the beetles. I hung up my trap and skeptically waited.
 
The next morning, I checked the trap on my way to work. There were just a few beetles in it and my tree was still covered. However, by the time I got home from work, the bag was so full it had fallen to the ground from the weight of the beetles. The process (and I'm not lying here, it's gross) is you empty the bag through a zipper at the bottom, rehang and go again. THREE TIMES I had to empty that bag and it was FULL each and every time!!
 
The sweet-smelling lure of that bait could be smelled throughout my yard. Those beetles could not resist it and they willingly left the real rosebuds for a false sweetness that eventually led to their demise.
 
That bait in the trap - that false sense of "sweetness" is such a picture of what this world of ours offers. Look back at verse 16, "...the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see..." Since the day of Adam & Eve's fall in the garden, the things of this world, by design, appeal to our fleshly nature "...the lust of the flesh..." (NKJV)
For those beetles, the nourishing flower buds were just a few feet away and yet they left what was real for something false.
 
We have the answer, church. Those who are without Christ sometimes have a hard time discerning Truth. In 2 Timothy 3:1-8, we are given a warning about what to expect in the "last days."One of those warnings is about false teachers promoting very believable false truths. In verses 7-8 it says:
 
"Such women are forever following new teaching, but they are never
able to understand the truth. These teachers oppose the truth just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses. They have depraved minds and a counterfeit faith."
 
"New teachings...opposition to the Truth...counterfeit faith"  Sound familiar?
 
Our time is running out and Satan knows it. He's fighting an all-out assault on God's kingdom and it's so important that we steady ourselves, be secure in our faith and our commitment to the Lord and stay in the fight.  It's tiring at times. The battle doesn't stop and will not stop until we meet Christ in glory. In the meantime there is work to be done. There are so many who are buying into "false sweetness" that need to know the simple Truth that JESUS SAVES!!!
 
Let me close with the last part of 2 Timothy 3 starting with verse 14"
 
"But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught.
You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you.
You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true
and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives.
It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work."
 
Stay strong, church. And remember what Jesus said in John 16:33 - 
"I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD."