Thursday, September 24, 2015

Just One Little Flower!

I stepped out our front door shortly after sunrise a couple of days ago and was greeted by this sight.  A single, small, beautiful purple Morning Glory.  Right in the herb garden.  Most of you will know that Morning Glorys, while beautiful, can be horrendously invasive and, when left unchecked, will rapidly take over a space and choke out the things that are intended to be there. 

While there are probably a number of thoughts we might draw from this, as I was looking at this small explosion of purple amongst the greens, grays and browns this verse came to mind from Ephesians 5:3-4 (NIV), so I'm going with that.

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.

It may be a bit of stretch in relating an invasive flowering vine to the sins Paul is warning us about but I think the analogy is a good one.  That little splash of color is eye-catching and, at least on the surface, strikingly beautiful.  It adds a bit of color and it's just one flower - only one!   How can one little flower be bad for my herb garden which is, at least this time of year, shades of green going to brown?

Paul is warning about letting even one bit of uncontested sinful behavior to establish itself in our lives.  Perhaps its a favorite TV program with 'racy' undertones, or a regularly sharing a bit of gossip when talking over the fence line with a neighbor.  Or books we read, or music we listen to.  How could these tiny things be the 'improper' and 'out of place' activities we must avoid?

The answer, of course, lies in what is underneath.  That one pretty little flower is supported by a root that is is being fed by the soil around it.  That plant is drawing energy away from the good things that belong there and, left unchecked, will soon multiply and spread.  It rapidly will wrap itself around everything else in the bed, climbing to the top.  If I don't act quickly on this single flower I will one day look at that bed and see only the Morning Glorys instead of the chives, coriander, sage and other herbs that produce a rewarding harvest for us.

Sin can be like that.  Left uncontested it can spread until it becomes the first thing that others see in our lives. Allowing just a little to become established makes it harder to say 'no' to a little more, and a little more, and just a little bit more, until the sin is the primary crop people see growing in our lives.

My neighbor planted Morning Glorys along a woven wire fence line nearly 10 years ago. (Probably the ancestors of this one.)  They spread quickly, filled the fence and choked out everything else there.  A couple of years later he decided he didn't like them there and has spent the last 8 years or so trying to eradicate them. 

The sin in our lives can be like that, too.  Once accommodated, once allowed to take root and grow, it can be horribly difficult to extract and often requires digging up not only the roots of the offending behavior but also some of those good things that lie adjacent.

I encourage all of us today to take a look around the gardens of our personal lives and look for those little things, perhaps off in the corner, that have been allowed to take root.  Let's deal with them now, while they are small, so we can avoid the hard work of grubbing out all the invasive roots that weave themselves around the good things.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have an appointment with a little purple flower.  :-)

Col. 1:9-12,


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