I had a beautiful strawberry patch at the beginning of the summer. I had worked the ground, prepared the soil, delicately hand planted every single small yet mighty strawberry sprout. I watered them and watched them shoot and grow. I tended to them with the greatest of care and knew that my work invested now would pay out with delicious, ripe, sun kissed red fruits later. I was excited, and proud of myself, and easily found the time to invest into my garden and especially my little patch of fruits.
Summer came upon us and we filled our time with travel and laughter and fun. I noticed the weeds beginning to grow in the garden, and every time we would drive out of the driveway past the little plot, I would remind myself that when we got home, I really needed to tend to those weeds, but for now there was better things to do!
Another week passed, then another, and before I knew it, it had been a month and I had not been in the garden at all, except to occasionally pick what fruits or veggies I needed at the time. I had all but forgotten the garden even existed except when I needed to revisit it for something to serve.
By now, the weeds had grown taller than the stalks of the highest vegetable plants, and the strawberry patch couldn’t be seen because of the growth draping over it, concealing it from the daylight. It still lived, just hidden under the darkness waiting for me to tend to it.
Somehow, during the invasion, I told myself it was alright. I saw the weeds begin to show, but I could still see my fruits, so I let the few weeds go. Then, as they became more and deeper in their roots, I again told myself it was alright because I could easily take care of them when I had time. I could put my strawberry patch aside until I felt like tending to it. Now, I couldn’t even see it because the invaders had covered up all of its beauty and were beginning to snuff it out…but there was one mighty little sprout that stuck its little green leaves out for me, and I knew he was showing me where I needed to tend to first…so I dug in.
At first, it was easy to see the weeds. I could easily identify which plant was good, and which was sucking the life out of my garden. I was pulling them out, one by one, and cleaning up my little patch nicely. I kept going and going. What could have taken me a few minutes in those first few days was now going to take hours of weeding.
Time passed and a strange thing began to happen. It became harder and harder to identify the fruit from the weeds. I would pull what I thought to be a weed, but it would actually be a fruit, and I would save what I thought to be a fruit, but it would be a weed! I was being deceived.
You see, the weeds had disguised themselves to look like the fruit. The shape of their leaves had evolved and even begun to change shape and color to match that of the fruit. The weeds were rooting right through the heart of the strawberry sprout, going deep into the plants lifeline. Even when I could identify the invader, when I would go to eliminate it, it would pull out the plant with it. My little strawberry plants just weren’t rooted deep enough to survive alone, and this invader had deceived them as well, giving them a strong deep root to wrap themselves around. They didn’t know that this root was their own undoing, their own death. They only knew that they could hold on to the root of the deceiver and stay alive. Not much of a life, being swallowed up under the overgrowth and covered in darkness, but they were surviving and hanging on in hopes that eventually, they could be saved.
I kept working, delicately separating the invaders from the roots of the fruit and reburying the fruit in the loose damp soil. I had to re-prepare the soil to accept the fruit because it had been neglected so long, but the soil was still good, and the plants were just strong enough that they would still be able to thrive.
After some time, I had rescued my little patch from the invaders and they were all standing tall. I could see every little shoot and every leaf. My fruits were once again pure. For now.
You see, the invaders left behind seeds. Every time I would pull them out and discard them, they would drop many tiny little seeds over my fruits. They were many, and some so small I didn’t even see them as they fell to the plants and the soil. As I would cover my little plants, some of the seeds would sneak deep into the soil where they will lie and wait. They will steal the nutrients and suck in the water as I tend to my fruits, and I wont even know they are silently beginning to take root.
I wont be able to leave my fruit to defend itself. It will need my time and my care. I will need to tend to it, and keep a close eye on the sprouts and the foundation around it.
More invaders will come. They are already lurking underground. If I am not there to pull them out by the root when they first appear, the will again overpower and overtake my fruits. In their deceit, I wont even notice it at first until they have completely covered my fruits in the darkness. It is important that I tend to my garden and I work hard to identify the weeds among the plants. It wont be easy, because their deceit runs deep and they use disguise…but it can be done, and their damage can be undone.
How are your fruits doing? Are they producing or are they being invaded? Are you tending to them, or are you being deceived? How often are you visiting your garden? Are you only taking the fruit and using it when you need it, or are you watering it and weeding it daily and weekly?
Evil is a deceiver. It will appear and take root in your heart. It will provide you with stability at first as it deepens its grip on your lifeline. It will disguise itself so that you cant really tell the difference between it and what is good. It will confuse you and control you. Eventually, you will become swallowed up in its darkness where it will hold you captive and you will try to survive, try to just hang on until you can be freed from its grips and growth. But sin also lives in fear. Sin is the invader that knows that it can be eliminated. It will drop more seeds, but those, too, can be eliminated as they begin to show. You can’t ignore it, it must be tended to OVER and OVER again, forever. But the good news is that even though it will continue to exist within you, you can keep it from rooting deep in your heart. You can eliminate it as it begins to show and you can prepare yourself to not be deceived as it attempts to invade you.
My garden will thrive only when I treat it with care and invest into it. It will produce a little or a lot, depending on my diligence. It will feed me and my family a few small, undergrown fruits here and there, OR it will be abundant and feed my family, friends and neighbors for an entire season.
Its all up to me and you. I will ask again…How are your fruits?