Friday, March 2, 2012

A Rock, Strong and Hard

Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. James 1:13-16

A rock, strong and hard, sat on the side of a mountain.  People for miles around admired its immobility.  But there was a little seed which wasn't impressed at all. It dropped in a crack in the rock and wedged itself tightly there.  It made itself at home with a bit of dirt and began to drink plenty of water.  Before many months the seed was a seedling.  Before many years the seedling was a sapling.  Before many decades the sapling was a mighty tree.  The rock? Oh, the rock was now two rocks.

The tree looked about the countryside.  It looked down at the broken rock with an air proud and haughty.  It was tough and tall.  People for miles around admired its strength and beauty.  But there was a little seed which wasn't impressed at all. It dropped into the ground and drank plenty of water.  Before many weeks the seed was a baby vine.  Before many months the baby vine was a long, lean, lanky vine.  At the end of the year the vine began to climb the tree and wrap its tendrils about it.  Before many years, the vine looked over the countryside as it cast new seeds about.  The tree?  Oh, the tree was now a dead tree.
A man came and severed the vine from its roots.  He chopped down the tree.  He got on a bulldozer and rolled the rocks down the mountain.  On the mountain he built a house.  In the house he looked across the countryside and patted himself on the back.  People for miles around admired and feared his power.  But a little seed named sin wasn't impressed at all.  He made himself at home and began looking for nourishment.  Before many years...

It’s no longer a surprise that the things which bring us down are seldom the big temptations in life but the little enticements which enter our lives and quietly destroy.  Have you ever heard of a haustorium? 
A haustorium is a portion of root from a parasitic plant that penetrates a host plant and draws nourishment from it.  The haustorium actually invades the tissue of its host.  After a while, the host plant appears to be functioning according to signals from the fungus and the complex appears to be under the control of the invader.  An infected plant may look as though it is being "eaten from the inside out" as the haustoria expand inside of it.

When I read this, my first thought was of the way sin works in our lives.  Starting small as a tiny seed or cell, it may seem harmless when it first appears in our lives.  Soon, however, sin's “haustorium” begin to grow deeper and deeper until it is firmly attached within us, depriving us of critical nutrients.  Interestingly, a successful haustorium does not kill its host but steals its strength.  Sin draws the life from us while it thrives.  It steals our strength, joy and can bring us to the point that we are too impeded by it to disentangle ourselves from its grasp.  That is when the Holy Spirit can come in and free us from sin.  He can’t come until we invite Him.  He can’t help us until we are ready.  He is the only one who can do it.  We cannot help ourselves at this point.  It takes the power of almighty God to release us from the entangling roots of sin.  The good news is that He is ready and waiting on stand-by.  He knows our struggles.  He knows our limits.  He will be right there when we call. 

Scripture to Claim:
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.   Hebrews 12:1-2

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