Months before Allie and I were to be married I let a big issue creep into my life. It was my little secret, and it was causing me a lot of pain. Finally I decided I was going take care of the problem. Allie and I talked it over and eventually I had a guy help me through the issue.
About a year ago I noticed the problem was creeping back. I needed to do something about it, but I never took the initiative. Finally Allie said, "ENOUGH!" She made the phone call I was dreading. It took until last week for me to finally face my problem.
The creeping issue: a rotting tooth. The guy: my dentist.
Back in 2006, right before we got married, I had cavity. A back molar was rotting and was causing me some pretty intense pain. I, having a spirit of procrastination, waited way too long to get the dentist to fix it. He fixed it, but about a year ago part of that filling broke off. The tooth started rotting again. So last week I went into the dentist, they numbed my face (By which I looked like a stroke victim for about 4 hours), drilled it out, and replaced the filling. He told this time I almost waited too long. It was only 2 millimeters from being a root canal! That would have been a problem.
Admit it, you thought I was talking about some crazy sin at first. That tooth ache reminded me of how sin creeps into our lives.
At first we don't really notice it. In fact it may not start as a sin. We may be watching a TV show or listening to a song that sparks something in us. It may be that our friends introduce something new to us. Sin rarely comes into our lives like a tidal wave. It usually starts small and we let it progress and turn into a much bigger problem that can cause us and others a lot of pain. Over the years I've learned the signs of slipping down the slope of sin. In every occasion it is because I'm planting little, "Sin seeds" in my life. Those seemingly insignificant little seeds turn more menacing over time.
Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. Galatians 6:7-8
We just planted a small garden outside our house. When I was looking at the back of the seed packets I realized those plants won't be grown for months! Sin is similar. What we plant we're going to harvest. If we plant selfish desires that's what will sprout in our lives. Seeds start really small, but eventually they become full grown. It's slow, the growth is gradual, but before you know they're full grown. And it's easy to say, "Find those sin seeds, and to stop planting them," but it's not so easy to do.
Recently I heard Rick Warren say something shocking about trying to stop a problem sin. He said to stop trying to stop that sin. Because the more you TRY, TRY, TRY the more you THINK, THINK, THINK. Those thoughts consume your mind and before you know it you're back where you started. He went on to say it's kind of like trying not to think about pink elephants. The best way to quit sin is to move your focus. Galatians goes onto say,
But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life. Galatians 6:8
It doesn't say to stop planting seed. It says to keep planting, but plant in response to God rather than selfish desires. Change your focus. Stop planting weeds and start planting vegetables.
What you'll see is God starting to grow in your life. It'll probably be slow and gradual, but before you know it you'll have God's beauty where where sin's ugly used to be. Because as you plant seeds of righteousness realize God has planted His seed in you. He is cultivating and watering your life and His righteousness is going to grow in your life.
No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 1 John 3:9