In the paths of the wicked lie thorns and snares, but he who guards his soul stays far from them. – Proverbs 22:5 NIV
I’m not the most dedicated gardener. I plant a few pots on my deck and front porch, but I’ve long ago given up the idea of having overflowing beds of spectacular flowers and perfectly groomed roses.
This week I made the annual trip to the nursery. When I got home, I spotted a nice pot I could use behind our garage, but it contained a rose bush I gave up on last year. Angel, my puppy, came running at my cries of “Ouch. Ouch. Let go!” It seems as if every time I got near enough to move the pot, the thorns on the old bush reached out to stick me. I’m sure I looked comical yelling at it.
I wrapped a towel around the bush, covering it so I could pull it out of the pot. Still, no matter how hard I tried to keep from getting stuck, I got punctured at every turn.
Later I realized I had big long scratches all over my skin. When I saw the scratches, it reminded me of how sin affects our lives. Just like I was wounded after my encounter with the thorns, we are wounded and sometimes scarred for life after an encounter with sin.
Solomon said in Proverbs 5:22 (NIV), “The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast.”
We must stay away from sin, so as not be ensnared. But if even Paul called himself a “wretched man” in the book of Romans, how are we to avoid sin?
Paul goes on to say in the eighth chapter of Romans “those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” We depend on the Holy Spirit to enable us to set our minds on what God wants.
On top of that, when we ask for forgiveness, God forgives us, and the atoning blood of Christ covers our sin. Just like I took a towel and covered the offending thorns, Jesus’ blood covers our offenses.
I told my husband about my experience, and he said a week earlier, he’d been mowing the lawn and the same thing happened – except he got the thorny branches stuck in his hair. He thought he’d need to yell for help, but managed to wrench free. He left behind a few gray hairs dangling on the dead branches.
Have you ever felt that way after a bout with sin? Its tentacles can reach farther than the initial sin. Anyone who has suffered with an addiction will tell you that. But “through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit of life sets us free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2 NIV).
I praise the Lord He not only provides forgiveness, but gives me the power to overcome!
Even if I don’t have a lush garden, my short time gardening taught me a couple of things. Stay away from sin – and prickly rose bushes.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for providing a covering over my sin – the blood of Christ Jesus. I praise You for the Holy Spirit living in me to guide and direct me in Your ways. I pray I will be open to Your leading and direction. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.