So there you are, snoozing away. All is calm, quiet, peaceful. Then you hear it: the whine. Not one of the kids this time — no, this is the whine of flight, the high-pitched sound of tiny wings. Near your head. You feel the brush of six little feet against your face, and “whack!”, you’ve slapped yourself right out of a good nap.
With advanced education and efforts for mosquito control, there are fewer incidents of this nature at my house these days. I am thankful. Besides ruining naps, the nasty things carry serious diseases in their minuscule frames.
Have you ever wondered how they find you even in the dark? I recently read the answer.
I know, that’s an offensive thought, but really, you do.
Mosquitoes are genetically wired to detect the carbon dioxide you exhale, along with subtle scents given off by your skin. So all that is required for you to attract a mosquito is to be. . . alive. They fly around in the dark — hungry, wondering where their next meal is coming from — until they feel the clouds of CO2 pushed from your lungs closing in around them. They’ve found the smell that is so sweet to them: the signs of life, which of course is accompanied by the blood they crave. I know, that’s disgusting.
So after I read this awhile back, something began to come together in my mind. If our breath attracts insects that are almost unseen, is there a parallel in the spiritual realm? There is for most things. God is a Spirit. He makes His angels “ministering spirits”. Satan and his fallen angels (devils) operate as spirits also.
I assure you I don’t walk around wondering if everything occurring is set in motion by some spirit or another, but it cannot be ruled out that there are influences from that side of reality. If there are spirits obeying a master who, as the Bible says, walks about seeking whom he may devour, wouldn’t it be realistic to think there is a way to signal to them that we are vulnerable?
These spirits are not omnipresent, nor can they read our thoughts — but they can hear our words and watch our reactions in various situations. There’s a smell they’re drawn to.
The Bible doesn’t record Satan having to walk Eve over to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in order to tempt her. Not to put words in where they don’t belong, but was he watching her and perhaps noticed her gazing at it one day? Had something begun to work in her heart — a curiosity, a comparison of that fruit to the wonderful things she could have, a sense of ownership of that garden she’d helped tend for all those years and should be able to handle every part of by now (1 John 2:16 records the elements of this and every sin: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life)? Did Satan see something that alerted him to the time being right to present his ploy?
Notwithstanding spiritual attacks when we are living right — just because we are a threat — it stands to reason that we can become more or less vulnerable to some things by our actions. God Himself warned Cain: “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. . .” (Genesis 4:7). Cain was angry over God’s acceptance of Abel’s blood sacrifice as opposed to his harvest of his field — God’s preference for one over the other was obvious to Abel because of God having to slay an animal to make coats of skin for Adam and Even when they’d sinned at that tree. This story unfolded with Cain maintaining his anger until he was standing over the bloodied body of his brother. Not the outcome you’d expect from the second generation of God’s Creation, right? Yet Cain’s clinging to anger had opened him up to the influence of the darker side of his own nature, and undoubtedly that side of spirit world eager to wreak havoc as well.
I’ve heard it preached that drug use and feeding one’s heart on music of a darkened nature open us up to spirits that would oppress or possess us. Are there other things that give off an aroma in the spirit world that would make us attractive to them? Does the stream of breath from our bodies — speaking blessing or cursing, bitterness or praise — determine what we are attracting from the other side?
There are incredibly horrible thing happening in the world today. Those who weren’t raised to be terrorists no doubt had no aspirations to bring murder and mayhem to the world as they grew up. Somewhere, somehow, something changed. We prefer to think there was some factor in the lives of those who do carry out attacks or kill their kids or do other horrible things that could not be a factor in our own lives. But is that always a given?
Less newsworthy, but more pervasive, are the families that crumble due to long-standing anger and infidelity. Where did that start?
Somewhere there was an attraction or even a wound to the spirit that wasn’t dealt with, and a thought, a seed, began to grow and be watered.
What’s the remedy?
God loves worship, praise, and speaking right things concerning Him. His Word records that He is drawn to it: “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord harkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon His name.” (Malachi 3:16) But God desires more than to simply hear the voices of those who care to praise Him. He is looking for the signs from you that they are open to: repenting of the sins and attitudes that invite His Enemy to have a field day with them, to take the step of washing those sins away in His blood by being baptized in Jesus’ name, and having Him fill them with the power of His Spirit, the Holy Ghost. He’s attentive to the words from our mouths that draw Him near.
God notices what we say. The Enemy or his minions, when passing by, hear our words as well.
So what are you attracting?
When my daughter opens the window of her shaved ice stand to take an order or serve up a cup of sweet, colorful shaved ice, waiting flies tend to seize the opportunity to dart in past her. She works to exterminate them, of course, but the scent of sugar seems to give them courage to brave any pest control. Never one to let a problem linger without investigating a solution, I bought her one of those fly traps with the liquid attractant to hang out back. You know, the stinky stuff. Coming to open the shop on the 4th of July, it seemed every fly in the county had been invited to the party. Even more than the smell of sugar, they were drawn to the smell something dying. The trap had to be quickly disposed of, because it tripled the problem rather that solving it (now there were more and bigger flies trying to come in). The experience made me think.
What do we smell like when we’re holding on to anger, guilt, and refusal to forgive?
King David, who wrote so many psalms, said this, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord my strength and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14) If we were to make that the cry of our hearts, wouldn’t our attractant cause the dark side to at least see us as less than an easy target?
That verse is the last in a psalm that praises God for His works and Creation, uplifts His Word as the only thing that can change us on the inside by converting our souls, and asks for God’s help to be kept from sin, that it would not have dominion over us.
We have choices. Fight back. Pray. Praise. Read God’s Word and ask His help to obey it. Then follow where He leads.
Good thoughts to ponder this Sunday morning.
Thank you, Stephanie. It was amazing the service after this was posted, after we’d sung the slower version of “Hallelujah” in worship yesterday morning and felt such a powerful move of God, the minister leading service (who hadn’t read this blog) said something I’ve never heard him say: “All I know to tell you is that God Himself was attracted to this this morning.” What a confirmation of what He wants to hear from my lips.
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In Vietnam I must have smelled like honey and c rations. “Who told thee that thou wast naked?” That was The Question……even the little pest faired better.
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The Question indeed.
In thinking about the sacrifices of our troops while keeping us safe, we tend to focus on the separation and hazards of guns and bombs, but I can only imagine the sheer misery of swarms to be dealt with in those jungles. Thank you so much for your years of faithful service.