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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Work hard, and then let Jesus

I got a wild hair on Saturday morning before I met with my friend K for our Bible study time doing No Other Gods by Kelly Minter. I actually decided to go outside and do some yard work.


Yes, I know.

But, believe it or not, I like the occasional time of working in the yard. There are such immediate results. And I tend to think a lot while I’m doing it. It sometimes ends up being a very refreshing time of quiet for me as long as the kids are otherwise occupied.

And as long as the physical labor isn't too hard.

Because if the work is too hard, then it's too much like... well... work.

On this particular day, I for some reason decided that it was time to dig up that rosemary bush that’s been slowly dying over the last year. I’ve said countless times over the last 6 months or so, “Oh, I need to just dig that thing up and start over.” But I guess I kept holding out hope that it would pop back to life. But no. I realized that it had finally given up the proverbial ghost.

So I got out there and with the loppers cut off all the big branches. Then, I began to dig and pull up the roots. It’s so obvious it was dead because the roots weren’t hanging on at all. They all came right up. The whole job took less than a half-hour.

But that half hour was so full of spiritual lessons for me. I thought about this dead thing that had been sitting in my garden, just taking up and wasting space that could be used for something that was alive and useful. I realized that same thing could be said for all these things that I look for my life in, things that I make into idols, and how they take up room in my heart that could be filled with the life that Christ gives.

I also think I had been putting off digging the thing up because I was afraid that it would be too hard. That it would be too much work. And yet it wasn’t, because it was already dead.

I am the first to admit that letting go of some idols is hard work. However, I have to wonder that if I would go ahead and realize that they are already dead, since they are not producing fruit, and let the Master Gardener take over, if the job wouldn’t be a ton easier.

“My yoke is easy and my burden is light,” Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:30.

But I think the hard work for me comes in admitting them and recognizing them. Once I can agree with God on what I am putting before Him, then I think I can let him clean house.

If I would go ahead and start just filling up with Him, wouldn’t He just take over and kick out those idols that are dead anyways? I have to believe that He would.

We’re not done with this study yet, and I am anxious to see what these last couple of weeks hold. But one thing I think K and I have realized already is that this is going to be a continual process.

Both of us have some idols and false gods that are very deeply seated in our personalities and psyches. These are the areas where we are most vulnerable to temptation. For me, one of these areas is independence, which leads to distrust, unbelief and pride. This is an area that I have to be extremely diligent about taking captive each thought and going back time and again to seek cleansing from Jesus.