Monday, December 29, 2008

Squirrel Makeover

A friend of mine told me about the time he was trying to get rid of the abundance of squirrels in his yard. He was trying to humanely trap them and release them far away, but was convinced that the same squirrels were returning to his yard. Since nobody believed him, he decided to paint the squirrels to see if they were the same ones. You guessed it. They were!

I read a story this week that reminded me of my friend. It seems that in a community called Stubbington in the southern part of England, a purple squirrel has caused quite a stir. No one can explain why the squirrel is purple. The color doesn’t seem to be topical, the purple goes right down to the roots of his fur and is very uniform throughout.

Dr Mike Edwards, an English teacher, said, "I was sitting in my classroom and looked out the window and saw it sitting on the fence. I had to do a double take. Since then it's been a bit of a regular at the school - everyone's seen it. We thought it might have been paint or something but then when you look at it up close, it's an all over coat, not in patches like you'd expect if it had been near some paint. Its fur actually looks purple all the way through. It's an absolute mystery."

The article about the purple squirrel goes on to say that they had seen him hanging around a dumping area for old computer printers. They think he may have rolled in ink toner or perhaps ingested some to create his purple hue.

Perhaps this is the squirrel’s new look for the New Year. Many of us make an effort to start a new year out with a new look, a new attitude, new habits, or new commitments. Many times these last for a while but are not lasting changes.

The problem is twofold. First, habits that need to be learned or unlearned take time. We are a culture of instant satisfaction, so when in 30 minutes we don’t look like the guy on TV who is selling 30 Minute Abs; we give up and stop trying. The second problem is that when we try to accomplish things on our own, we sometimes fail. We need to strength of God and others to help us truly change.

Jeremiah 13:23 says, Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil. In other words, if our habits are evil, then we cannot become “good” on our own without true change that comes only from God.

Does that mean we should stop trying to do good? No, but we should try to allow God to do good through us, rather than trying and failing ourselves. There are many habits and desires that we can control. We can choose to avoid that certain website or refrain from stopping by the local watering hole. We can choose to speak positively instead of negatively to others. There are many choices we can control, but without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are likely to make the wrong choices.

There are several ways to allow true change in your life this year. First, if you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, please contact me or another Christian who can talk with you about that. This is the first step to true change. Second, avoid the things of the world that you know will stain you. Just like the squirrel, you might wind up a very odd color that might look good and interesting to the world, but will be unappealing to God. Third, seek the help of a friend or family member who can help you on your journey. There is power and strength in numbers, especially when they are all under the command of the Father.

Whatever your resolutions are this year; I hope they include Christ and His Kingdom. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a New Year filled with the blessings of God.

Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless (Ephesians 5:25a-27 NIV)

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