Friday, May 9, 2008

Dandelions and Sin

It's spring in Kansas, no doubt. My lawn is pretty sad because I just haven't put enough time (and resources) in to making it look green an plush. I try to maintain it just enough to not stand out as the neighborhood slum lord, but I admit it's never going to win a lawn and garden award.

What really annoys me is the way dandelions appear and reproduce. Each spring, when the first few dandelions appear, I zap my lawn with some pre-emergent herbicide. That only addresses the seeds that haven't sprouted yet, when the already growing dandelions have already popped up I zap them with the broad leaf stuff. Of course, my neighbor to the west has some big contract with a local lawn care company who comes out and nukes the entire lawn. Their lawn looks like a carpet practically year round. Never mind the toxicity levels in their turf are probably higher than Love Canal (I wouldn't be surprised if their huge dog gets a 4-pound tumor some day). Oh yes, back to my point- dandelions. They're ugly little flower weeds. People in the suburbs secretly view them as the sign of a lazy home owner, at least that's what I think when I see a property laden with the fuzz balls. When a lawn has a bunch that go to seed (fuzzball stage) that further ticks off the surrounding neighbors who are fighting the good fight because those flying seeds litter all the yards in the neighborhood making the battle much harder for the conscientious home owners. Dandelions are tough to stop, difficult to manage, and the source of a constant battle in suburbia. If you don't engage in the battle, you can be sure you will be overrun very quickly.

That reminds me....

Sin in my life, our lives, is very similarly to dandelion management. Recently I preached through Hosea. I came to this verse-

Hosea 12:1 Ephraim feeds on the wind and pursues the east wind all day long; they multiply falsehood and violence; they make a covenant with Assyria, and oil is carried to Egypt.

Israel succumbed in the battle against sin. They succumbed for many reasons, but it is clear from this verse and others their yard was overrun with dandelions and the multiplication process could no longer be stopped. That's what happens with unchecked sin in our lives. Please understand, I am not referring to the ongoing battle we all wage against sin (by God's sustaining grace, of course), I am talking about our decision to ignore or deny sin at certain times. When that happens, sin just busts loose and multiplies. This side of heaven we are in a constant struggle against sin. We will never see total victory until glory, still though- we have to keep struggling and battling. When we stop struggling against sin, we effectively give up the yard. When sin goes unchallenged, it necessarily multiplies.

Recently I heard John Walters, the U.S. Drug Czar, when asked if the problem of drug trafficking could ever be stopped say this- “No, our goal is to disrupt it and keep it at bay so that it doesn’t radically effect the nation’s ability to function well.”

I think such an answer is close to what is reality for us in our battle against those sins which so easily beset us. Get over the idea of being perfect or sinless. Understand that you will fall at times. Just don't quit fighting against sin in your life. I'll never get rid of every dandelion in my lawn, but I will hopefully reduce the number over time. We'll never get rid of all the sins in our lives, this side of heaven, but over time, by God's contiuing grace (specifically the means of grace God has appointed- the Word of God and the Sacraments) we will see our sinful falls reduced.


Frontier Forest said...

What peace fills my soul when I reflect on the Lord’s mercy and grace and what has taught me and where the Great I AM has brought me. The night I received the Lord as my Savior, I remember HIS flooding peace overwhelming me as I drank in His unconditional love and complete and absolute forgiveness for the very first time. The young zealous Campus Crusader that shared the Lord with me, explained why and how I had been forgiven for all my sins, of the past and for all the sins that were yet to be committed. O’ such a refreshing oasis, to know my sins are immeasurable, but He has freed me from the guilt of every sin.

Rick Calohan said...

The joys of attending and being a member at Redeemer is that every Sunday we worship the Living Triune God and in so doing as part of the worship we have:

“Confession of Sin: Even as we praise God for who He is and confess our faith in Him, we must face our own unfaithfulness to Him and confess our sins.

Assurance of Pardon: Praise God, where sin abounds grace does much more abound; our pardon is assured through the finished work of Jesus Christ. This assurance is given by the Pastor or Elder from God's Word.

God Instructs Us With His Word

Scripture reading & Preaching of God's Word: Each element in our liturgy described drives our desire to know more about God and His gracious dealings with mankind, so we turn to His Holy Word and hear a sermon which explains the meaning of the text and how it is to be applied to our lives today.

God Meets and Feeds Us at His Table

Sacrament of Communion: As the climax of the service, we are spiritually fed as we partake of the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (symbolized by the bread and the cup). Each time we partake we are fed anew and reminded of the finished Work of Christ for us individually and corporately. In Christ, we have received complete remission of our sins.

The Lord's Supper is observed every Lord's Day as the climax of our worship service. We invite to the Lord's Table all those who are baptized disciples of Jesus Christ, under the authority of Christ and His body, the Church. By eating the bread and drinking the cup with us as a visitor, you are acknowledging to our church that you are in covenant with God. You also acknowledge that you are a sinner, without hope except in the sovereign mercy of God, and that you are trusting in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation. If you have any doubts about your participation, please speak to one of the pastors or one of the elders after the service.”

The Gospel is proclaimed rather it comes from Pastor Tony, Nathan, Brian or a guest minister.

Colarusso Family said...

Awesome post! We hate dandelions too. Sean calls them tigee flowers (get it? tiger? lion? oh well).

Rick Calohan said...

Came across this prayer by John Calvin

"Almighty God, Thou hast in the Gospel set clearly before us with how many and how dreadful sins we are afflicted. This Thou hast done in order that we may learn to be displeased with ourselves, and so lie down, confounded and despairing, in our sins and in the guilt contracted from them. Thus we may yet know the true glory that Thou hast offered to us, and we can be made partakers of it if we embrace with true faith Thine only begotten Son, in whom perfect righteousness and salvation has been offered us. Grant we may so cleave to Christ and receive his benefits in faith that we may be able, not only before the world, but also against Satan and against death itself, to glory in Thee, for Thou alone are just and wise and strong. May Thy strength, Thy justice, Thy wisdom shine upon us in our iniquity and ignorance and weakness, until at last we may reach that fullness of glory laid up for us in heaven through the same Christ our Lord. Amen."