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.