This weekend I slayed the beast.BEFORE

You can see it in these pictures of my backyard. The first is a sorta BEFORE shot because frankly, I didn’t expect to be inspired. I took it after I was about 1/3 done. The second is a panorama of the aftermath.

But after ripping and sawing, chopping and hacking my way through a series of trespassing trees and an invasive and villainous quagmire of weeds encroaching from the  jungle behind my house, I could finally see my backyard fence.

I’m telling you, yard work should be prescribed as a legitimate form of therapy. No wonder Jesus used agriculture innumerable times in his teachings.After

Initially I’d planned to use the neglected chainsaw in my  shed, but—call it the Holy Spirit—I got a little freaked when I read page after page of imminent death warnings in the user’s manual.

Instead, I used a pair of neglected loppers and borrowed pruning saw. My Guyanese neighbor considered loaning me his machete, but he must have caught the mad gleam in my eye and demurred.

The job took a little longer than planned, and I got numerous cuts and scratches from my battle, but I walked away with all my limbs intact.

So what deep insight did I gain from my war with the weeds?

How easily it is to let sin passively wind its way into our life or into the lives of those we love. Sin is patient. That’s all it needs—patience. While we’re distracted with other goings-on, that vine grows a little at a time, lashing and weaving its thin threads around everything it touches until we can’t see where we end and the sin begins.

And its tendrils are everywhere and in everything. It’s less obvious in the emergent layer of our life where every branch—all our actions and behaviors that we present to the outside world—are reaching toward the light.

It’s in the understory—in our homes and in our familial relationships—just beneath the canopy where it braids limb after limb together like a net, binding itself irrevocably to us.

And it’s in the underbrush—our secret life created through denial or shame—where we let no light penetrate and all is rot, decay, and death.

And these vines, so deceivingly thin, are strong as bridge cables. You can’t just pull them out. They have to be cut out one painful piece at a time.

But O, when you can slash and shred and rent and tear those branches away, dragging the protesting vines behind. What a glorious moment when those iniquitous limbs—their white blood bleeding into the earth—lay mangled and matted at your feet, slain.

I have no power over the weeds in your life, but I will not let sin rule in mine. You’re welcome to borrow my tools though.

And I’ll be glad to let you use the machete.

What sin are you hacking away at in your life?