Sin that Entangles
This spring my husband and I set out to prepare our yard for the warmer weather. When we got to work, we realized how much damage had been done by our neglect throughout the winter.
We didn’t do anything to prepare it for the spring rains and nourishment that comes with warmer weather. When we looked at it after the cold had finally made its exit, we were surprised at the number of weeds. What was more surprising was how deep and strong the roots were. These were not the idyllic weeds that look more like flowers. These were monstrous and sharp weeds that choked out the grass growing around it.
There was an area of our yard that we paid more attention to last summer and fall. We fertilized and watered it, and it paid off. That area was free of the monstrous weeds. As my legs were burning from crouching and pulling the weeds, I thought about how sin is like the weeds in my yard. When my spiritual health is neglected, sin creeps in like the weeds. It takes work to continue to be engaged with God and to pursue holiness. And when neglected, it takes persistence to turn from sin and to holiness again. Thankfully, God doesn’t leave us in sin. He is faithful to call us back to him and out of sin.
Throughout this year the Lord has continued to bring to my mind the word diligence. It means careful and persistent work or effort. As I’ve thought about how I work diligently in different areas of my life (work, marriage, parenting, spiritual pursuits) I have been reminded that much of the work I do that results in something measurable takes time. It takes effort when no one else is looking and continued work when there seems to be no end in sight.
Much of my parenting these days is like that. I jokingly refer to parenting in the toddler and preschool years as “the trenches.” I am often reminded of my own sin through the refining work of parenthood. As I look into my children’s sinful actions, I am reminded that I am much more like them than I would like to admit. Unless I am diligent in turning from sin and toward God, I could quickly be deep in sin much like those monstrous and sharp weeds that choke out the good grass.
Hebrews 12:1-3 is a reminder to me of the diligence it takes to run the race of faith in this life and the joy with which we get to do it—the joy we share with Christ through his death and resurrection. Praise God for this race we get to run, throwing off the sin that entangles us, keeping our eyes on Jesus through it all.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.