Every person, business, church, and culture has an emotional and spiritual ecosystem that must be protected from the introduction of invasive species. These invaders are dishonor, fear, hatred, and a host of other things that will upset the delicate balance of life and cause its host to devolve into an unrecognizable landscape.
In Oregon, we have a long list of invasive species of plants and animals not native to our state. The Himalayan blackberry, a common sight west of the Cascades is considered by the Oregon Department of Agriculture as “the most widespread and economically disruptive of all the noxious weeds in western Oregon.” Then there is the snapping turtle an aggressive animal introduced from tropical climates that found a home in the Willamette Valley. These turtles can reach 18 inches. They eat native turtles, ducks, and frogs.
Perhaps the strangest introduction of invasive species came as the result of the 2011 earthquake and resulting tsunami from Japan. A 66-foot-long section of a dock was pushed all the way across the Pacific Ocean and made landfall in Newport, Oregon. On the dock were almost 100 invasive species of marine life. One biologist described the dock as a dirty needle injected into our ecosystem.
Each spiritual ecosystem has invaders that want to introduce their non-native species into our life of faith not caring what disruption that introduction might bring. The Apostle Paul and other writers in Scripture warned us about these invaders. A loveless faith, pride, betrayal, and dishonor are just a few of these invasive species.
While we let our guard down and continually argue back and forth about things like a medical opinion, government mismanagement, or some position on a non-essential point of theology, hell is sending a dock full of invasive spiritual species into our midst with one mission in mind – to destroy our love for fellow believers. Any attempt to introduce lovelessness into the ecosystem of our hearts is where our greatest battles will take place. We must continually stand guard at the doorway of our heart and not allow the enemy to introduce an invasive species that will deform the landscape of our faith.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23).