The last few weeks I’ve been trying to work a little in my yard, to get it ready for spring. I moved some old broken cinder blocks that had once been at the edge of the woodline but now were in the woods because, for the last several years, I haven’t been mowing there.
I picked up some dead limbs that had fallen off the old oak tree behind the house. I raked some of the leaves out of the yard and threw them in a low spot in the woods which needs to be filled. Maybe they will eventually rot and become dirt.
I finished taking out a stump from a small tree I had cut down a few summers ago. I cleared away some shrubs and brush from a spot at the edge of the woods where I want to plant some wild apricots, and I worked on clearing a spot for a garden. Last week, I dug up a small spot there and planted some potatoes. I’m not much of a gardener but this year I want to plant a few things and maybe get some practice.
I like having a nice, clean, well-kept yard, but I haven’t really been able to work like I need to in order to keep it like I want it. I’ve just been doing the bare minimum for the last few years, so it’s a mess. The bushes around the edge of the yard are out of control. They look terrible and they’re making my yard smaller every year. This week, I thought I would spend a few minutes pruning them. The next thing I knew it had been over an hour and I still wasn’t finished. It will take a while to get everything in good shape just doing a little at a time but maybe I’ll get there eventually.
As I was trimming the bushes, I noticed something interesting. There were vines growing on several of them. I remembered how beautiful they had been the last few summers running all over a cluster of bushes and hanging down. The leaves were a different color and a different size from the bushes and the blooms and full flowers were amazing. It made a beautiful arrangement with all the different colors.
Looking at them this week, though, a memory is all there was. The naked vines covering the naked bushes just looked like a mangled mess. The bushes that were covered with vines looked much different from the ones without them. They just looked sick. They were twisted and bowed over from being pulled and weighed down. The vines have been slowly choking the life out of them. Several of the bigger bushes were already dead.
As I cut the vines off, some of them sprang back up immediately like they were happy to be set free. Some of them took a little longer, while some of the others just stayed down. I guess they were damaged more than the other ones. Maybe they’ll liven up in the spring.
On several occasions in the Bible, you’ll find trees being used to represent humans in parables and prophecy. So often, we can draw parallels from nature that can teach us valuable lessons.
Many times, we are like those small trees and sin is like those vines. It is often beautiful on the outside, especially in the beginning. We don’t realize the negative effect it’s having on us, usually, until it’s too late.
Sin infects our lives and destroys our minds and bodies. It drags us down and holds us there. We become sick and it slowly chokes the life out of us and eventually, it kills us. I’ve seen it many times, especially with substance abuse but any sin is equally as devastating. Even if others around us don’t know what specifically is going on, they can see the effects that sin has on us.
Our only hope is in Jesus (1 Tim. 1:1). He is the only way for us to be set free from the chokehold that sin has on us (John 14:6, John 8:36, Gal. 5:1, Rom. 6:22).
When he sets us free we’re just like those bushes that were once held down by the vines. The weight of sin is removed and we come alive. We’re so happy and grateful to be free. It’s the most amazing feeling in the world.
Are you being dragged down by the weight of sin? Are you having the life slowly choked out of you? If that’s the condition you’re in, you need to know there’s hope. Call on Jesus and he will break the hold that sin has on you and set you free. Then you can stand up straight and move forward. Don’t wait until tomorrow. Do it today.
The Journey To Heaven
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