“With his divine alchemy, he [God] turns not only water into wine, but common things into radiant mysteries…” -George MacDonald
I love this expression by George MacDonald! Our Heavenly Father turns common things into radiant mysteries. When you look at Yahweh’s handiwork in creation, do you still have that wonder and awe? You know, the kind that we witness with our children when they are so very new to the world? It’s the wide-eye surprise mingling with admiration, curiosity, and exploration? After all, He created the world as a part of our Christian education- a living textbook full of life and attributes reflective of God’s very essence and nature. Well, today I’d like to explore with you about something I’m learning this week about His creation. The Bible tells us a powerful principle about the things He has made:
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (Romans 1:20)
What Romans 1:20 is About
I used to think that it was only about excusing the acknowledgment of His very existence. But I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s more than that; the next verse tells us that these were people who knew God.
In addition to paying attention to His Word, we need to see the aspects of Him which are seen in the creation of His world. By all means, it seems that we’re without excuse for any of those invisible things seen by the things He has made.
There are interesting visible lessons that Honeypot Ants have to teach Christians. In this case, we learn some of the invisible aspects (the spiritual aspects) that these ants display. So stick with me here. After all, in Proverbs 6:6 we’re told to go the ant and observe its ways:
Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise, ~Proverbs 6:6…
One Powerful Lesson I Learned By Going to the Ant
Aren’t Honeypot Ants so interesting to look at? Thankfully, some people become curious and decide to observe the behaviors of these tiny creatures, document, and share with others about them. I’m so glad that they do.
Honeypot Ants are storage ants in their colony. They collect honeydew from various plants and aphids. And once their tummies are about the size of a marble, full of honeydew, they take it back to the nest. Then they hang from the ceiling. When food gets scarce for the colony’s worker ants, they feed the worker ants. Surprisingly, they feed them by mouth with the honeydew that has been stored up in their bellies.
A Living Metaphor
This is such an amazing living metaphor to me. Ant colonies can be enormous, made up by individual ants. It’s kind of like how there are numerous Christians within any given radius. Similarly, we have colonies of sorts whether it be in our individual homes, local communities, churches, etc.
Honeypot Ants think not only to meet their own nutritional needs, but also that of the others. The thing is, they just do it! Because it’s how they’re wired. Comparatively, how do we Christians do? As new creations in Christ, we too should just do it! What excuse could we possibly have?
How Christians Can Spiritually Nourish Each Other
Markedly, we become rewired with the renewing of our minds and heart changes. And as we mature, we grow in the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. This takes the focus off of ourselves, keeping our eyes on Him and the needs of others. Are we filling up spiritually, not only for our own spiritual nutritional needs, but in order to bless others? The Bible has many picture examples about God’s Word being likened to meeting nutritional needs:
And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. ~Deuteronomy 8:3
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. ~Matthew 4:4
Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. ~Proverbs 16:24
How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! ~Psalm 119:103
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. ~Luke 6:45
When we fill up on the sweetness of God’s Word, we are being fed spiritually. We can learn what it means to walk in Christ’s character. We can choose to self-govern under Him and to learn to lean on His strength so that we can do all things through Him. In doing so, our hearts change.
With hearts continually growing in His love and in His truth… with minds learning His word… we can give sweet words of honey from our own mouths to each other.
Interestingly, Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines honey in its third entry as, “3. A word of tenderness; sweetness; sweet one.” Tenderness is a key word and Webster’s 1828 explains that it means, “Kind attention; anxiety for the good of another, or to save him from pain. caution; extreme care or concern not to give or to commit offense; Cautious care to preserve or not to injure.”
Sweet words of truth, affirmation, edification, gentleness, love… words that bring life.
What Honeypot Ants Teach About Walking in the Spirit
Sometimes, I may be the Honeypot Ant in a season of storing up spiritual nutrition to be able to pour out to others. But, as you and I know from God’s design in creation, seasons change. Maybe sometimes I’ll be a worker ant. And find myself in a place where I struggle to keep up on spiritual food to sustain me. In case this happens, I’ll need you. You’ll be like a Honeypot Ant, to pass on the sweet honey of God’s Word to me. For this reason, we need each other to remain in the Bible.
What Honeypot Ants Teach About Walking in the Flesh
What a contrast to what my family is studying in Romans. It’s not always sweet words of honey that may come out of us. Romans 3:13 explains what happens when we walk in the flesh vs. in the spirit:
Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that I’ve kind of read the word “sepulchre” without thinking much of it. Here’s what Webster’s 1828 Dictionary has to say:
SEP’ULCHER, noun [from Latin sepulchrum, from sepelio, to bury] A grave; atomb; the place in which a dead body of a human being is interred, or a place destined for that purpose. Among the Jews sepulchers were often excavations in rocks.
SEP’ULCHER, verb transitive To bury; to inter; to entomb; as obscurely sepulchered.
Yeah… that’s quite a picture there. If you think about the analogy here, visually you have the heart leading up to the throat and to the mouth. Do we really ever want our throats to be like a grave? So far, Romans chapters 1-3 is a pretty sobering study.
Reflection and a Call to Action
These principles aren’t really new to any of us, yet how are we at following through with living them out? The ant shows us to keep focus and do what we’re designed to do. Here’s a call to action for each of us: let’s slow down and acknowledge when we either need to give to others or be receptive.
Here’s a catchphrase for us: honey ant. It’s an especially good catchphrase for our children. And if you’d like a free Principle Approach® lesson on this to go over with your kids, you can find it in the free Caterpillar Members’ Club area.
PS: There are other lessons to learn as well by going to the ant. Check out my friend Stephanie’s Bible Study lesson on ants at Healthy Homeschool 101!