Recently I went out of town and I was catching up with my husband about what had happened on the home front during my absence. He mentioned that he’d noticed fleas on our dog while he was giving the dog a haircut. I asked him what he’d done to treat the fleas; to my despair he said he’d thought they would just ‘go away’ by cutting his hair so he’d done nothing else. Although we have two cats and a dog, we’ve thankfully been ‘flea free’ for more than a decade but I remembered all too well what an enormous hassle it is to get rid of fleas.
I spent literally all of the next day and night thoroughly vacuuming my house and spraying every square inch for fleas; I bathed my dog; and sprayed a treatment on my two cats. As I did so it occurred to me how much fleas are like sin. If you’ve never had fleas, then count your blessings! But I’m sure you’ve dealt with sin, so hopefully this will be a reminder of how to deal with it.
· We easily can be deceived into thinking that one or two sins—just like one or two fleas—are no big deal. But if left ‘untreated’, both sin and fleas will ‘bite you’, multiply, and lead to devastating consequences not only for you but also for others in your household. “The truth sets you free” (John 8:32). Walking in the truth means realizing you must deal with your sin and not falsely assume—like my husband did with the fleas— that it will just ‘go away’. Proverbs 28:13 states: “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”
· Fleas come into a house on a human or animal ‘host’. Once inside, fleas seek out other warm-blooded bodies in the household on which to feed. Similarly, if we ‘carry’ sin in our lives it will not just affect us, but it also will negatively impact the lives of others, most often those in our ‘household’ who are closest to us.
· Fleas lie in wait for a host—a mammal they can feed off of because they live on blood. Sin also is always lurking; seeking to ‘devour us’ and we must be vigilant or it will rule over us. “But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Genesis 4:7
· The earlier you realize you have a flea problem and address it, the easier it is to get rid of the fleas before they infest your whole house. Likewise, the sooner you deal with your sin before it becomes a habitual sin (or strong-hold), the easier it will be for you to be free from it and the less damage you will cause other household members.
· Just like with fleas where you must remove every vestige of them by bathing all of your pets; vacuuming each room; spraying every carpet and piece of upholstery; and spraying the outside of your house; you must eliminate the besetting sin entirely or you can be sure it will find its way back into your life.
· The best way to handle fleas and sin is the preventative approach. The number one way to keep fleas away is to faithfully apply a monthly treatment to your cat or dog. Similarly, the best way to keep sin out of your life is by faithfully reading your Bible; regularly confessing your sins; and daily calling upon the Holy Spirit to empower you to live in obedience to God’s commands.
1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Can you ever get rid of fleas? It’s not easy, but with a lot of work and determination you can do it! There are many suggested methods for ridding your home and pets of fleas. However, there is only one remedy for removing sin from your life. Amazingly, the major work required for ridding your life of sin has already been done by Someone Else! The only work for you to do is to put your faith in Jesus’ finished, redemptive work on the cross on your behalf. When you believe in what Jesus did for you (John 6:29), you can be sure that your sins are forgiven and that you are free from both the power and penalty of sin.
Psalms 103:12: As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
Are you denying that there is sin in your life and just ‘hoping it will go away’? Or are you faithfully going to and trusting in Jesus, the Only One who has the power to take away your sin now and to remove it from you forever?