The Natural State of Things

I have talked before of my  lack of domestic skills. One of those would be the growing and keeping alive of plants. Whenever there is a death in the family people send plants. It’s a lovely gesture, but hasn’t there been enough death already? Why add more, even if it is just a plant? I cannot keep them alive. I inherited my grandmother’s black thumb of death. To the utter shock of a store worker whom she was trying to explain this to, she walked past an artificial flower arrangement and the leaves fell off. That would be me.

There is one part of gardening, however, that I do like, and that is weeding. I don’t know why other than the fact that it involves purging and cleaning up, two skills I do have in spades. Running along our driveway is a patch of ground that really belongs to the neighbor, but since it’s behind his garage he ignores it which means I get to deal with it. I got lazy and didn’t mess with it for months. It became overrun with weeds. My husband wanted to spend $26 on weed killer to which I emphatically disagreed. We both have these amazing tools at the ends of our arms called hands. We could use those! Do you know what I can do with $26? Weed killer was not what I had in mind.

Had I listened to his gentle suggestion of purchasing the weed killer I wouldn’t have spent three hours in the hot sun like Scarlett O’Hara working the land! Some of them were so deep and prickly that they required the use of a shovel to get to the root. It occurred to me as I was pulling and yanking and sweating that this idea of weeding and treating weeds before they get bad is parallel to the ongoing battle between evil and righteousness.Not only does evil need no encouragement to grow, if not taken care of at the outset, it takes over and the results are devastating.

To take it a step further let’s have a little science lesson. Yesterday I had my van in to have a mechanical problem looked at before I spent $1000 having it repainted. The history of this van and it’s less-than-stellar paint job is long and painful. Suffice it to say, the recall is up, and if I want it painted, the cost falls on me. Normally this is not something I would invest in, but I’m trying to be a good little consumer and take care of what I have rather than buying new. So I asked the mechanic about rust and why must it take up residence on my van. He gave me all sorts of scientific explanations about metal and their natural state. Yada yada. I could feel my eyes glazing over the way they do in a math class. However, I did get this out of what he said which I found fascinating. Did you know (you probably did) that rust is metal’s natural state, and that most things will revert back to their natural state? Hmmm.

What is man’s natural state?

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9, KJV).

Well, I think that’s pretty clear, don’t you?  Our natural state is wickedness, desperately wicked. As believers we are constantly fighting the sin nature. Though we are new creatures, this side of heaven the evil that is naturally a part of human nature will crop back up if we are not proactive in our faith. Were it not for the aggressive action of the Holy Spirit working in tandem with our own active compliance we would automatically default back to our natural state which is evil. Righteousness simply is not our normal state. I’m not suggesting a loss of salvation. I’m merely suggesting that there is a state that we find ourselves in when we haven’t been on guard against the enemy. What ends up happening is similar to the weeds in my patch of grass or the rust on my van. The natural state of who we are takes over, and the work it takes to get back to where we were and beyond becomes daunting. But Paul’s charge to Timothy is God’s charge to us:

“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (I Timothy 6:11, 12, NIV).

Lest we think it’s up to us to accomplish this, be encouraged!

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6, NIV).

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