Mist nets are deceptive. While birds fly around searching for seeds or insects to eat, they often fly into mist nets hung between two trees. A fine mesh-like net, barely able to be seen, can span ten feet or more, waiting for the birds. Humans see them if they happen to know exactly where they are or if they notice the binding on the top and bottom of the nets. My husband and I ran into one without seeing it when we were walking in an area where the mist nets were hung.
These nets do not hurt the birds when caught in them; indeed the intention is good. A well-trained and licensed couple band the birds caught and then forward their information on to a national service that keeps track of the overall health of birds in the US. My husband and I enjoy going to Lake Jackson, about 40 miles from home, to watch the banding. Birds become much easier to see in the hand than high in a tree somewhere. When I can see the various colors, stripes and spots on birds and easily tell the difference in their sizes, I even more admire my heavenly Father in His diversity of creation.
As I thought about this, I realized how deceptive these nets are. The birds fly into them without realizing that possible danger exists. Of course, in this case there is no threat. Similarly, Satan traps believers by deception. While the nets don’t harm birds in any way, our enemy desires to kill, steal and destroy us (see John 10:10).
Satan’s main purpose is to keep people from knowing Jesus the Son of God in the first place. But if the Deceiver can keep us from a good testimony about what Jesus does in our lives, then we can’t point out any difference He makes. The apostle Peter warns us, Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8 NIV).
That’s where the spiritual mist nets come in. We get angry and say something hurtful to someone without thinking of how that will make them feel, or maybe we do at that moment want to harm them. Unfortunate circumstances occur and we get depressed, forgetting that our Father knows all about our situation. Our words do more to curse someone than to bless them. Life throws us a rock instead of a rose and the victory we claim to have in Christ disappears as fast as the rock hits.
Often Christians do not realize they are in a battle to try to grow more like Christ while still here on this earth. Sometimes we believe we can live as we please on earth and then suddenly be like Christ when we die and go to heaven. No, our Father pushes us to grow in our lives the fruit of the spirit, found in Galatians 5:22-23. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
When we don’t lose our temper after someone takes a parking place we’d planned to get, that’s missing flying into a mist net. When someone insults us and instead we either don’t respond or we remain kind, that’s another net we skipped. Let’s keep our eyes open this week and avoid as many nets as possible.