photo by M. Spencer Green / AP

An Associated Press story last week described the extensive measures that are being taken to protect the Great Lakes from a foreign invader, the Asian carp.  Why all the concern?  Asian carp, which can grow up to 4 feet in length and weigh 100 pounds, consume up to 40% of their body weight in plankton on a daily basis.  The fear is that the voracious appetite of the non-native fish would critically diminish the food supply of smaller fish and put at risk a $7 billion annual fishing industry in the Great Lakes. 

Flooding during the 1990s allowed Asian carp to escape from Southern commercial fish farms into the Mississippi River.   A rapidly expanding population of the fish has been moving northward up the Mississippi ever since, threatening native species all along the way.  Of primary concern has been a 250-mile system of rivers and canals that connects the Mississippi to Lake Michigan at Chicago.  In 2002, environmental officials installed an electrical barrier to repel the fish.  The system had to been turned off last week for maintenance, so authorities released poison in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal and began looking for the invaders among the thousands of dead fish.  Only one Asian carp was found in the canal, but it was far too close to Lake Michigan for the comfort of environmentalists.  One official described this as an “emergency” situation, and other means are being considered to halt the invasion.  Keeping Asian carp out of the Great Lakes is serious business!

What level of effort do we put into guarding our hearts?  To what lengths are we willing to go in order to protect our souls?  Every single day we encounter a variety of spiritual invaders and influences that are not native to the Kingdom of God.  Satan, through his deceitful scheming, seeks to use them as canals and channels into our hearts.  He is at war for our souls.  He knows that if he can populate our minds and emotions with impurity, greed, anger, malice, and bitterness that they will destroy the environment in which compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience can grow (Colossians 3:5-17).  Slander, abusive speech, and lies will characterize our speech, since the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart (Matthew 12:34).

This calls for extreme vigilance on our part. 

“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert…” (I Peter 5:8).

“Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life,” (Proverbs 4:23).

Our hearts, our souls, and our eternity are of infinitely more value than the Great Lakes fishing industry!