Be Alert To Your Surroundings


It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

(Galatians 5:1)          


Last month, my husband and I were out back working in our garden. He had decided to take a walk further back into the woods which is overgrown with brush and many types of plants. It wasn’t until a few days later that he realized he walked into poison ivy which had gotten on his boots and clothing and then transferred to his face, hands and arms. If he had known he walked into it he would have changed his clothes and washed himself quickly. The problem wasn’t that he was unaware of what poison ivy looked like because he knew what it looked like. The problem was that he wasn’t paying attention to his surroundings and where he was walking. He had even removed some of the plants several years ago that were closer to our garden as it grows everywhere in our area. As time went on, he had to go to the doctor’s for medication and just when we thought it was possibly getting better, more of the rash began popping up and then I discovered I had it on my face. Knowing I was avoiding him like the plague, I began to wonder how I had gotten the poison ivy on me. Thinking back, it could have been from touching a piece of his clothing or the sheets that may have the poison ivy oil on them, or simply by holding my cat who often rubs his face against my husband’s boots after he comes in from outside. The fact remains that although we washed the clothes and sheets, we failed to wash my husband’s boots which still had the oil on them and he still wore every so often afterwards. This one step that we didn’t do to prevent more rashes may have been the one step that allowed the poison to come into our home and continue causing more rashes and irritations.

A few days ago as I was mowing our lawn, the Lord began to minister to me about this situation. Sometimes we do the same thing in our lives. We know the warning signs of certain situations or characteristics of people that we had encountered in the past which had caused us major irritation due to the poison the situation or person was producing. Yet, because we fail to pay close attention to our surroundings, we end up walking right back into the same poisonous situation or allow ourselves to be with the same poisonous people that contaminates us. Sometimes the poisonous situation or person may be hidden just enough so it is undetectable due to distraction and we aren’t aware we were contaminated until later when we discover a few blisters or a rash. If we don’t catch it in time and wash ourselves clean through prayer and applying the Word of God, irritation will set in and soon we begin seeing rashes of anger, depression, fear or even anxiety emerge. Sometimes the effect of the poison is so bad we need to seek help to get rid of it. The problem doesn’t stop there with us. It stems further when we don’t catch the “rash” in time and the poison begins to spread not only on ourselves, but we bring it into our homes, workplaces, schools and even churches. Soon, by our poisonous words or actions due to our irritation, other people become infected and develop a burning, irritating rash and that poisonous rash continues to spread. Even if we do see what is happening and cleanse ourselves, it’s possible to overlook an area of our lives that still needs cleansing which can be the open door for the poison to get through and continue infecting us and those around us.

See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. (Hebrews 12:15)

We must always remain alert and be aware of our surroundings so we do not walk back into the same poisonous situations or allow ourselves to be around the same poisonous people that could cause us to become chained back up again to our old ways. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 5:8:

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

The enemy wants nothing more than to chain us back up in old ways especially when he sees us in victory and moving forward towards God and His plan for our lives. When we realize we’ve become contaminated, we must cleanse ourselves with confession, prayer and by applying the Word of God to the situation and ask God to point out any area in our lives we may have forgotten to cleanse. In time, the poisonous rash will leave and peace will come back into our lives.

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. (Isaiah 26:3)

Take some time today to do a heart check. If you find yourself contaminated, seek God immediately and begin your cleansing process and in time you will find that your rash will be gone and you will be spiritually healthy once again.