August 16, 2019 ● 19-32
We had taken a long weekend to attend a family reunion up in Wisconsin. When we returned I noticed that weeds had overtaken both our front and back flower beds rather quickly. It does not take long for a garden or a flower bed to get infested with weeds. We can pull and rake and mulch and put down weed-blocking cloth to try and cut down on the presence of weeds. However, weeds are relentless and even with our best efforts weeds still persist in trying to gain an opening. Like weeds, sin in the life of the Christian can be relentless too and must be guarded against.
If we, as Christians, do not take care of our lives spiritually, sin, like weeds, will creep in and take over. Jesus taught His disciples about the penetrating effects of sin:
Mark 8:15: And He was giving orders to them, saying, “Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”
The apostle Paul taught this same truth about the penetrating effects of sin being compared to leaven (yeast):
1 Cor. 5:6-7: Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.
Do not take offense at the fact that Paul referred to us as, “a new lump”, he was making a point about the penetrating effects of sin. Guarding against the penetrating effects of sin means we must be aware of some important facts about our own lives:
- We are all sinners with a sin nature (Ex. 32:22; Rom. 5:19).
- We are tempted daily to sin (Matt. 6:13; Heb. 4:15; Jas. 1:13-14).
- We must rely on the power and presence of the Holy Spirit daily to combat temptation (Eph 6:10-18).
- We must stay vigilant about the attacks of the enemy on our walk with the Lord (Eph. 5:15-16).
- In the power of and reliance on the Holy Spirit, temptation can be defeated (Jas. 4:7).
Weeds are a fact of life when it comes to gardens and flower beds. We can work hard to get rid of them, and for the most part we can minimize their presence. But occasionally there is that persistent weed, that “volunteer” tree or bush that tries to get a foothold in the flower bed through a crack in the sidewalk or through a tear in that weed-blocking cloth. A tear or a crack is all a weed needs. The same is true of sin. When there are minute “cracks” in our spiritual armor, when there are small “tears” in our spiritual condition, sin will try to creep in and take hold. Our lives need constant spiritual care just as our gardens and flower beds do. Be vigilant, walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, and know that no sin, no temptation can overtake the presence and power of God.
I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)