So… (I always try to start the blog with a different word besides “so…” but it just feels right) Jacob and I did yard work the other weekend. We were like a real, grown up, married couple. It was fun… and hard. Now… you have to understand that my back yard has seriously not been touched or cleaned since like the 1970’s. It’s rough. There’s leaves, random bushes, and VINES everywhere! So… Jacob and I tried to tackle the barren jungle.
Jacob was manly and chopped down trees with a chainsaw. I was pretty fierce myself with the hedge clippers, a machete, and my gardening gloves. As we were working and walking around, we were being constantly ATTACKED by VINES!!! They were everywhere. So I decided I was gonna start pulling them up! (I was nervous the whole time because I was terrified one of the ‘vines’ might really be a snake).
Now these vines look harmless. You could just see part of them… and they just seemed to grow out of the dirt and then frolic around on the ground. Well… these vines were deceiving. When I started pulling them up… they kept coming and coming and coming and coming. I ripped up so much of our yard trying to get rid of all those dern vines. No lie, one of the vines I ripped up went from one side of the yard all the way to the other side and then UP towards the house!!! Are you kidding me?? I was appalled. I couldn’t even take a picture of it because I was so frazzled by the 33,000 foot vine!
But… in true Anna fashion… I started thinking about things… about VINES. God was showing me some awesome things with these vines… and I want to share some of them with you! Here goes:
So, (there’s the SO word again) these vines seemed harmless on the surface… pretty insignificant just annoying. As I started pulling… all the craziness appeared. It’s the same thing with our sin. Sometimes sin seems harmless, but once we start pulling it out and exposing it all the junk comes out. We see the true nature of the “not so important” sin. IT’s NUTS!!! Then, we have to keep pulling and pulling and pulling… and ripping up stuff in the process… to truly rid ourselves of that vine/sin. Like my bitterness thing… when I really talked to Jesus about it and started looking into it… I found disobedience, selfishness, pride, and the fact that I wasn’t yielding to or seeking the Holy Spirit in everything. My vine was a lot crazier than I thought.
Another thing… these vines were EVERYWHERE!! I have scratches all over my legs from getting tangled up in them. They are really cute… not. I look like a little kid that played in the woods all day! But it brought this scripture to my head:
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
We can get SO easily ENTANGLED in sin like I did in these vines. Especially if you are tromping around where sin hangs out and is all around… it will grab ya! All sin… the “small” that leads to the “big”… is a lot of times attractive, easier, and (at times) comfortable. Before we know it, we look down, and we are all tangled up in it! Scripture says to THROW IT OFF!!! Rip it off! Get out of the vines!! They hurt…
Something else (I know… I was on a roll), some of these vines were thorny! OUCH! I have a big gash in my leg because of one of these crazy, thorny vines! It not only hurt to get stabbed, but it hurt pulling it off. SIN! It’s destructive. It leaves scars and wounds that you can feel and others can see. Also, with these very destructive sins (sexual immorality, alcohol, etc), it hurts other when they lend a hand and help you get unraveled. The thorns poke them too. It leaves scars on them as well. I have scars from others’ sin and others’ journey to victory. And I know I have left scars on those around me… those just wanting to love on me and to help me free.
There is more, but I’ll leave you with this last thing… there is one GOOD VINE… His name is Jesus. And in John 15… that is currently all up in my face… Jesus says:
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
So… ABIDE IN HIM and let HIM ABIDE IN YOU! He is GOOD. He heals, restores, prunes, and gets rid of the branches that are THROWN OFF!!!