A local media story headlined “Invasive New Zealand mud snails lead to closure,” noted that access to a popular creek area was closed after the discovery of that invasive species in the creek. The mud snails are about the size of a grain of rice and one can produce a colony of 40 million snails in a year because of their ability to rapidly reproduce through cloning, disrupting aquatic ecosystems, harming fish populations, and displacing native insects. The species can easily move from one body of water to another by attaching to things like an animal or fishing equipment. The parks department, struggling with how to manage the presence of the species, urged people to avoid accessing streams or creeks where the snails have been found, to thoroughly clean waders and fishing equipment, and to brush dogs to make sure that they are not carrying any of the snails. Invasive species like this tiny mud snail can bring great harm.
Our nation is currently in turmoil and in great danger. Our constitutional republic has seemingly become an oligarchy, ruled by a small Leftist elite. “Patriot” has become a word considered to be almost hate speech. Virtue is mocked while immorality is rampant and accepted. Christianity has largely been abandoned. This did not happen instantly; it began with small steps that over time grew and ultimately brought about the perilous state in which we find ourselves.
The history of the church is marked by the presence of “invasive species.” The New Testament writers observed that this was happening and wrote against it. Theological error was present very early in church history and is addressed in the New Testament. False teachers and unworthy leaders, full of pride and bad character, were already present before the closing of the writing of the New Testament. Immorality infected the early church and is denounced by the New Testament writers. Paul, Peter, and Jude in their writings clearly warned against these “invasive species” and gave instruction to be diligent and to deal with these and other issues.
This has continued through the centuries. By the nineteenth century, rationalism and liberalism began to invade many denominations and churches and eventually drove out gospel truth. In the twentieth century, as theological liberalism continued its destructive path and theological error became widespread, the sins against which the New Testament authors warned became accepted, and by the twenty-first century even unspeakable immorality has become accepted and celebrated. Slowly at first, in almost imperceptible steps, “invasive species” have infected churches and institutions, diverting them away from truth and true gospel ministry.
Often there is not much we as individuals can do about these things. But perhaps more importantly we need to be vigilant about “invasive species” in our own lives, things that distract us, things that will sideline and ultimately do great harm to us. Anger can become destructive if we nurture it and allow it to grow in our life. In Ephesians 4:3, Paul instructed, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.” Fear and anxiety can grow and sometimes paralyze us, especially when we focus on difficult or disagreeable circumstances. The Psalmist wrote in the 118th Psalm, “I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Envy and jealousy can become poisonous. Immorality may start out in small, almost imperceptible ways and grow into something that brings disaster. In the Ten Commandments, there is a prohibition against idolatry and having any sort of other god before God, and this is repeated throughout the Bible. All sorts of attitudes and actions can grow and become idols and take us away from devotion to the Savior. Further, in the Commandments we are forbidden to murder, commit adultery, steal or even covet, bear false witness, or dishonor parents. These forbidden things can become introduced into our lives in small ways.
Philippians 4:8 reminds, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” The closing of churches in response to the virus disrupted the church life of American believers, and it has become too easy for some to continue to stay away from church and the discipleship and fellowship that is so vital to assist us in the task of “meditate on these things.” Diligence is required. Nations – churches – families – individuals – are brought down slowly by the “invasive species” that are everywhere.
Proverbs 4:3 reminds, “Keep your heart with diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.”