Thursday, February 2, 2017

Irritants and Troublers

by Danetta Kellar

But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land before you, then those whom you allow to remain will be irritants in your eyes and thorns in your side, and will cause you trouble in the land where you will be living.” Numbers 33:55

Foot-weary and bone-tired, the bedraggled band of former slaves could see the Promised Land before them. All that separated them now were the rushing waters of the Jordan, sparkling in the morning sun like laughter and joy. Finally.

God had told them to take possession of the land and settle in it. But there was more. Before God’s people took up residence, there were others there who needed to leave. Not only leave, but be driven out. If they were allowed to remain, God warned that they would become irritants and troublers to the Israelites.

Sounds like work. Not what the worn-out Israelites had in mind.

There are some inhabitants of our hearts we do not want to confront. 

We do not want to send them away, banish them. It takes work to face the ugly about ourselves and rout it out. Besides, we might need it in a moment of weakness to comfort us. Idols appeal to us that way. It is easier to just let them stay put, dusty in the shadowy back corners of our souls. No harm, no foul.

I have had a little shelf of idols like that hidden away. Idols named Performance, Perfection, Control. They seemed so innocuous, so minor. Besides, they actually helped me out sometimes, made me feel better about myself. People even chuckled at the way they shaped my quirky personality. They were kinda like friends.

But over the years as I have tried to settle into God’s plans for my life, I have had this constant irritation. This cycle of victory and defeat. 

A nagging little pattern of overcame-that-oops-here-it-is-again. 

You probably know what I am talking about in your own Promised Land. 

The sin that keeps coming back, even after you thought you had beat it.

The habit that robs you of rest and happiness, even after you resolve over and over to get help and get over it.

The unforgiveness that you thought time would cover and forget, but it comes up at the most inconvenient times, consuming your thoughts and emotions.

When we do not drive out these nasty little inhabitants of our hearts, they grow bigger and bigger. 

Eventually, they make their presence known and wreak havoc on our peace of mind, our relationships, and our lives in the land God has given us.

Are you at the beginning of your journey with God, standing as it were on the banks of the Jordan, looking out over the Promised Land? Or are you already settled, roots deep in the land, only hiding a little secret shelf of idols you never had the courage or energy to confront?

How you live out God’s purpose for you will be affected by those things you refuse to drive from your heart. Take it from me, they will be irritants and thorns in your side, and they will bring trouble to your life.

Take time to do your soul work, to forgive and let go of the things which may one day shackle your feet. Identify the lies that drive you, and replace them with the Truth of God’s Word. Refuse to give glory to anything but Christ. Live free.

In His great mercy and grace, God helps us no matter where we are on our journey to the Promised Land. May He help you exactly where you are today.




  1. Wow! Such a well-timed article. This is so relevant to me in so many ways right now: spiritually, professionally, and personally... thank you for your continued words!

  2. I'm so glad to hear that. It hit me hard last week and I had to share. Blessings! D

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