Friday, March 1, 2013

It was only a small pot of English Ivy. I'd received it as a gift on my last hospital visit. It had been one of the plants that had survived weeks of neglect as I healed from my surgery. Now that I was feeling better, I thought the plant might thrive even more if I planted it outside. With a little garden trowel, I walked out into the sunshine and searched for the perfect place to plant my tiny pot of ivy. I found a place in the corner of the yard in full sunlight. Very pleased with myself, I went inside and began my daily routine.

Weeks passed by before I even went outside to check on the ivy, but when I thought about it and looked, it had spread into an area about 5 times larger than the original pot. That's amazing, I thought to myself and I went back indoors.

A few months passed and it was now the middle of the summer. As I was taking the dog out for a walk, I noticed that the little pot of ivy had spread up nearby trees and along the fence! It had crept under shrubs and was working it's way across the back yard. In essence, that little pot of ivy had begun to take over my back yard with a vengeance! I never expect that when I planted that little pot of greenery and now, I was going to have to do something about it.

I donned my garden gloves and got a shovel. As I began pulling at long strands of the English Ivy, it came easily off the trees. As I began to grasp the ivy that ran along the ground however, it was a little more challenging to get it to let go. I pulled and pulled but those little roots had really taken hold in the soft earth. I had to really use some muscle to yank that stuff out! For several hours I worked pulled and tugging. I knew that if I didn't get the root of the plant out then the ivy would just come back again.

As I fought my way through the vines, I began to think that sin is just like English ivy. We can harbor a small, unchecked sin in our lives and think that it won't matter much but if we allow that sin to go unconfessed, it can grow and affect other areas of our lives. The sin, just like the ivy, can start to spread into other areas of our lives and pretty soon, its roots have embedded deeply. When we ignore the sin for weeks and months, it thrives!

In order to keep sin at bay, we must remember what God's Word says "we are to hold every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5). That means whenever we have feelings of jealousy, bitterness, or anger for example, we have to nip it in the bud by holding that thought up to the light of God's Word. If we don't take care of it immediately, just like the ivy, it will start to spread out its ugly roots and take more ground than we intended to give it. 

I was able to get rid of the ivy by diligently spending a day pulling and tugging and cutting the roots. While I never expected such drastic results of planting one small pot of ivy, I am thankful that God allowed me to see that sin is just as invasive in our lives.

Take a hard look inside the garden of your heart and see if there is anything there you might need to deal with today. Do have unresolved hurt toward someone? Do you hold unforgiveness in your heart? You know what needs to be yanked out and if you don't, ask God to show you...He will because He loves you so much and wants you to have a pure heart filled with love.

Believe me, I will think twice before ever planting ivy in my yard again! I'll also think twice before allowing sin to have a place to grow in my heart. You have the power to stop those roots from taking hold...don't be afraid, just get busy and let God show you what needs to be done.