I’m a tree lover.
In every home I’ve lived in as an adult, I have planted trees, shrubs, and bushes of some kind. I once watched two small pines grow from seedlings in the forested area behind my backyard, just twenty feet from the house.
Initially, I thought they were cute—two small seedlings braving the elements, standing out alone—so I let them be. As years passed, I admired their beauty as they cradled snow on their branches, waved defiantly at passing windstorms, and continued their upward spurt. After all, they were mine.
They grew straight and tall on their own, doing what pine trees do. Seeds became embedded, put down roots, and grew in their environment. I did nothing but leave them alone and watch them grow. Until this year.
The pines were twenty feet tall with trunk diameters approximating ten inches and were sturdy trees that threatened my home. The soil’s incline enabled them to sprout, yet did not afford the depth necessary for sturdy roots. Their height put them within reach of the house if a storm toppled them. So, in the interest of safety to my home, I cut them down. But the job was much larger and took longer than if I would have simply uprooted them as seedlings.
As I cut them down, lopped off the branches, and buzzed the trunks into two-foot sections, I thought of how sin is much like those two pine trees. Sin always finds fertile ground in any unprotected area of life. I can choose to toy with the sinful pleasures I excuse, justify, or tolerate—allowing them to become rooted. But soon enough, sin will threaten to destroy anything precious or valuable such as family, reputation, career, or testimony.
Just as I initially admired those cute and adorable seedlings, sin in the beginning feels appealing and harmless. An innocent fantasy, extra-marital flirting, curse word, gossip, or any other sinful behavior not immediately repented of and forsaken will grow in influence and impact. What is tolerated is perpetuated—and eventually encroaches and threatens. We reap what we sow, as Paul says.
Uproot the seedlings of sin before they threaten your life.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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