I noticed that the needles on my Australian pine tree were turning brown. I realized it was dead. I had no idea why or how it died. I did notice a split up the main trunk of the tree and then remembered the powerful lightning storm we had last summer. A tree trimmer stopped and gave me a price on removing the tree and confirmed that it died by a lightning strike. As I worried about the possibility of it falling over and damaging my house, I told the man to “cut it down”. I watched as the crew went to work and felt a mixture of relief and sadness. Relief that this “invasive species” was gone and sadness that my shade in the back yard was being removed.
Perhaps some of us have some invasive species of sin growing in the back yard of our heart. We may take delight in its pleasures while failing to notice the dangers by its continual presence in our lives. If we continue to allow it to grow we could cause great damage to our spiritual lives. The Bible gives us some powerful challenges regarding this issue. Colossians 3:5 tells us: “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry”. Romans 8:13 warns us: “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live”. In both of these verses we are to mortify or put to death certain actions that have become invasive species. We may have allowed anger and bitterness to remain way too long until they have destroyed our peace and joy. We may toy with lust or other evil thoughts until our minds become polluted. We may drift away from the nourishing influence of our local church until our soul dries up. Removal and repentance are the chain saws we need for this work.
Now is the time to make a decision. Are we going to continue to allow these pet sins to remain and take up space in our lives? Or are we going to decide that the time has come to “cut it down”?