One night, my sister was jolted awake by the sound of her dogs barking. It wasn’t ordinary barking. They were going crazy. She got up and went downstairs to where the dogs were scratching at the front door to go out. Because she was tired, she opened the door without looking outside first and was shocked to see a full grown skunk standing on the porch. In slow motion, the dogs lunged for the skunk who defended himself the best way he knew how.The cloud of spray covered both dogs, my sister, AND shot deep into the house. The stench was unbelievable. It took weeks to get rid of the smell. The whole time, she kicked herself for opening the door. “Why in the world did I let that nightmare into my house?” You have to be careful what you let in.
In the Old Testament, King Hezekiah of Israel had a nightmare of his own. A group of diplomats from Babylon came knocking and Hezekiah let them in. The ambassadors greeted Hezekiah in his own language and brought the best wishes of the King of Babylon. Hezekiah was thrilled that the great king of Babylon would send ambassadors to the country of Judah. They said nice things about the king and his scrappy kingdom that seemed to be doing so well. We all like a little flattery. We like being admired. We like being told we are great. Hezekiah, who had so little to celebrate, ate it up. He was so delighted, he gave them a tour of Jerusalem, from the city’s top to its bottom. He showed them the treasure vaults and his supplies of money–resources he intended to employ in the efforts to rebuilding Judah. But Hezekiah didn’t stop there. He showed the representatives from Babylon Jerusalem’s architecture. They reviewed his armies, toured his food and weapons storehouses, examined his defense systems, and even studied his water tunnel. Hezekiah treated them to the best food and wine in Jerusalem and entertained them with the city’s finest dancers and musicians. When he had done all that he could to impress them, Hezekiah sent them home with gracious greetings for their king.
Now, before we go any further take a breath. We are paused right in the middle of an epic story, and long about now you may be wondering “What does any of this have to do with me?” I call it “the Vampire Principle.” What is the Vampire Principle? According to ancient lore, the vampire cannot enter your house unless invited in. That means that, even if the streets are crawling with vampires after the sun goes down, you are safe if you stay inside your house. They cannot harm you, unless you invite them in. They cannot bite you, unless you invite them in. Why, you might ask, would anyone invite a vampire in? First, I doubt the vampire would ring the door bell and say, “Hi, I’m a vampire. May I come in and bite your neck?” We may not recognize what’s really going on around us until it’s too late.
It is amazing what we will do be liked! It’s amazing what we will do to feel good. We crave approval and comfort, and this desire tempts us to open the door to anyone or anything who offers it. The man who ruined his marriage because of an addiction to pornography regrets the day he first went online to take that first look. That was the day he let the vampire in.
The woman who just lost her job because she showed up with alcohol on her breath at nine in the morning regrets the day she took her first drink. That was the day she let the vampire in. What we watch…what we hear…what we taste…what we choose is either good for us or bad for us. The people we allow into our lives are either good for us or bad for us. Remember, we are responsible for ourselves. It is our life and our door. We can open it to anything we choose or we can keep it closed. But once you let the vampire into your house it is so very difficult to keep it out. We’ve given that sin, that person, that temptation free reign to do what it wants to in our life. And now that it is taking over, we don’t know how to drive it back out.
My sister opened the door for that skunk for only a matter of seconds but that was all the time required to ruin everything. You have to be careful what you let in. Do you see now how that works? Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. What have you willingly let into your life that is destroying you? What are you right now caught in that you can’t get out of? There is a way out.
Hezekiah confessed it to a friend who helped him come clean and deal with it. His friend was willing to ask the hard questions that needed to be asked. Do you have a friend like that? Who is that person you can confide in? Who can you trust with your struggle? Sin grows in the dark, so expose it to the light of day, and there is no better way to do that than to share it with a believing fiend you can trust. If you do not know who else to turn to, you can message me. I’m glad to help. It’s time to drive this vampire back out of your life. It’s time to lock the door, and change the locked. It is time to take back the Invitation and remove the “Welcome Mat” from the front door. From this moment on, that sin, that struggle, that temptation is no longer welcome and no longer has any power over us.
Be careful what you let in.