2009-10-06 - Smilax
My husband and I enjoy watching a local gardening show on PBS, and a recent one about Smilax mesmerized me.The name sounds innocuous, even inviting; it sounds cheery - as if the name were related to a smile. And the colorful berries can look lovely. However, "appearances are deceiving," for smilax is a gardener's literal "thorn in the flesh." Many a naive gardener has cut the surface plant, believing the problem has been eradicated, only to find that it springs back up and spreads - over and over again. It's ineffective to cut the plant, when the roots sometimes lie 10 feet deep.
Isn't sin in our lives like that, as well? An alcoholic decides to stop drinking, so s/he prays, tells people "I won't drink any more" (or take methamphetamine or smoke a cigarette), and thinks it's that simple. But the friends are the same; the empty life, anxiety or depression are the same. And soon the roots spread back out, and the habit reforms. Someone has been having extramarital affairs. They break off a relationship, but they continue to neglect their marriage, and keep living in a separate world from their spouse. Temptation looms on a business trip or when a spouse is busy, and voila: Affairs are happening again. The roots haven't been eradicated.
No matter what the sins - pride, selfishness, judgmentalism, impatience - whatever - if we are going to remove them completely from our lives, we have to destroy the roots, and fill up the soil with healthy roots - the roots of loving relationships with God, family and friends; fellowship and service at a healthy local church; prayer; immersing ourselves in the Bible. What is the smilax in your life? Ask God to help you eradicate it.