Friday, July 29, 2011

Sticky Seeds and Sin

     On a recent walk in our neighborhood, my husband and I took our son's West Highland Terrier with us.  "Rocky" has been our house guest for a few weeks now to make life a little easier for our son and daughter in law who just welcomed their third little boy.  This dog is full of energy and loves to walk with us in the morning or should I say run?  If there is a mailbox to sniff or weeds to walk through, he will find them.  Along one road are plants that carry hairy, Velcro like seeds.  These are commonly called Beggarweeds, and Rocky knows how to get into them.  In fact, by the time we arrived home from our walk, his face was covered on one whole side making him look like he had leprosy.  It was a funny sight, but he didn't like our humor as he rolled around trying to get the seeds to come off.   I took pity on him and brushed him gently removing those clingy seeds.  God certainly invented the first Velcro didn't He?  And we thought we were so smart when we introduced it!
     As I worked on cleaning up Rocky, I started to think about how much those seeds that cling are like sin that seems to cling to us as we go along our daily walk.  When Rocky went with us that morning, he certainly had no intention of getting seeds all over his muzzle.  However, when he got off the roadway into the underbrush, he came up covered with them.  Isn't that a lot like us?  We start out on the straight and narrow road, but then, something tempts us to get off the path of obedience.  Before we know it, we are caught in a thicket of sin.  It sticks to us tenaciously marring our appearance and heart.  Despite our attempts to free ourselves from its grip, we are helpless to remove it.  Only when we come running to the Lord with a heart of true repentance are these ugly burr like sins cleansed from our soul.  I John 1:9 reads: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  God is the one who can gently remove all those tangled sins that hold us back.
     Now the question we need to ask ourselves is how did I manage to get off the path so far in the first place?  Let me suggest three areas that we need to strengthen if we are to avoid getting covered with the "beggarweeds" of sin.  First, we all need accountability.  Proverbs 27:17 reads:  "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another."  In order for us to grow in Christ, we need to be involved with other Christians in unified fellowship.  We cannot succeed in our walk as a "Lone Ranger".  Life has too many temptations and pitfalls.  We need the wisdom, prayer, and gentle guidance we can find in the body of believers.  In addition, we are stronger when we are together.  Solomon spoke of this in Ecclesiastes 4:12: "And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him - a threefold cord is not quickly broken."   When we cooperate and work together, it is far easier to withstand the lure of temptation in this world.  Why do we try to do things alone or on our own?  We need God's strength and the accountability of brothers and sisters to stand our ground in Christ.
     Secondly, in order to avoid getting off our path, we need to know and study God's Word.   There are many false teachings out there and many false teachers.  How would we recognize erroneous ideas unless we know what God thinks first?  Lets consider this.  Would any of us want to go in an airplane piloted by someone who likes flying but has never really read anything about an air craft or flown one before?  I don't think so.  That would be foolish and risky.  So why do we think we can navigate this life without the knowledge of who God is and who we are in relationship to Him?  The Word of God is our very spiritual food and most of us have been living a life of self imposed famine.  Each time we read His Word, we are adding another layer of armor so we can stand strong in Christ.
     Finally, we need to be in faithful prayer in order to stay on the path which God has laid out for us to walk.  Communing with our heavenly Father deepens our faith, opens our understanding and draws us nearer to our Lord.  The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Timothy 2:1-4:  "First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.  This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."  It is easy to see from this passage that Paul considered prayer a cornerstone for living a life that pleases God.  Prayer not only lifts the needs of others before the Lord, but it also changes us in the process.  As we praise God for His many blessings, we begin to develop a heart of gratitude that washes away the crustiness of selfishness and sin.  What a rare privilege that we can take our burdens into the very throne room of God and lay them at His feet.  He invites us to come.  When we do not communicate with our Maker, we are like an airplane that refuses to talk to the tower.  Most of the time, those planes are in great danger and so are we if we choose to ignore the guidance God offers in prayer.
     Just like little Rocky, we forget that we do not have to walk through the "beggarweeds" picking up those nasty Velcro seeds of sin all over us.  We can stay on the roadway and avoid the mess if we are willing to make ourselves accountable to other Christians through regular weekly fellowship and by the preaching of the Word, through sincere Bible study that deepens our knowledge of God, and by prayer which opens communication with the One who made us.  We must keep in mind that if we do end up in the underbrush of sin we can come to the Father in sincere repentance.  He, alone, by the blood of Christ, can lovingly remove those sticky seeds of sin that have covered us.  What a Great Shepherd we have who is ever willing to welcome us home, bind up our wounds and fill us with His Spirit.  May we strive to stay on the path of righteousness as God enables us for His glory and our good.  Selah!

I welcome your thoughts and insights.  How do you avoid those sticky seeds of sin from clinging to you?  Please feel free to share encouragement here.


Anonymous said...

I went through a thicket once and came out with my sweater covered in those things... very difficult to get out! Your analogy comparing them to sin was very good. It´s easy to go off the path and come out with something you didn´t intend sticking to you all over.

Petra said...

We do not have to walk through the "beggarweeds" is such a true statement. We have been made free to choose differently! But what a struggle it can be. We often forget to 'look' where we're going, or to 'ask/trust' God for directions. Another great analogy! Blessings!

Barbara Thayer said...

Yes Harma Mae...we don't intend to get off the path but our flesh certainly gives us a hard time doesn't it? In Christ, we do not have to be in bondage to those nasty Beggarweeds. Thanks as always for stopping by!

Barbara Thayer said... prayer every day is that the Lord would keep me out of the thistles, thorns and beggarweeds! I have the flesh to deal with...but I am grateful...I no longer have to listen to the flesh in Christ. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!