All Twisted Together
Recently I spent a whole day cleaning out a fence row in the front of the house. It was very hot and the work was very hard. The end result, however, was great. By the time I finished, it looked like a whole different place. There were sights that we didn’t even know existed. Once all the clutter was gone the beauty of the land stood out above everything else.
Soon after I had finished the job a neighbor came by and told me that he had done the same thing to the same fence row a few years ago. Because of neglect, or perhaps procrastination, it had grown back up over the years. For a long time the previous owners of the property had let the hedge, vines and trees grow without any concern. What would have been so easy to maintain had now become a nightmarish task. There were trees as big as eight inches across the stump growing right up next to the wire. Vines and bushes had grown into them, into the wire and into the surrounding trees and weaved themselves together as if it were a basket. Poison oak, poison ivy and sumac were popular among the vines. (I’m still itching from it.)
What is so bad about all of this is that it was unnecessary. Once the area was cleaned out, all that had to be done was to spend about fifteen minutes a year spraying the area with weed killer. A little maintenance would have saved the recovering work and difficulty of entanglement, not to mention the ugliness of it all.
As I worked so hard to clean the fence row, I thought of how our lives become so entangled and obstructed with sin. Just like that fence row, when we do not maintain our lives in Christ, we can become entangled and cluttered until the task of correction becomes so overwhelming that it discourages us from even trying.
When we come to Christ, all our sins are forgiven. As long as we walk with Him they stay forgiven – past, present and future. But, what about our habits and practices? Does baptism wash away all our sinful desires? Does it remove all of our bad habits? Does it take away problems in our lives? Hardly!
After the earlier cleaning, the fence only had a bush or two peeping up. Later a few vines and briars sprung up. “I’ll take care of that soon,” someone probably said. The hedge and grass, the poison oak and ivy, the thorns and thistles grew. “I’d better do something about that soon.” The years passed by and all of a sudden you realize that you have a full fledged mess on your hands. Did you ever wake up and find your life like that?
Those who think they can play with sin and have no side effects are just wrong. Sin entangles. The world entangles us before we can even realize it is happening. All of a sudden we find that there are major renovations we must make to correct our lives so we set out to “clean it up.” But what about maintenance? Once the life is cleaned up what do we do to maintain it. Do we spray? Do we nurture? Have we finally realized what “letting it go” will do to us?
God gave us a family to gather with to help us maintain a better and cleaner way of living. You cannot do it on your own. We need each other. Don’t let the world entangle you!