(It’s been quite a while since I wrote…after everything with Dad, I just haven’t had the urge to write! But today, a conversation spurred me to write this…I pray it blesses you. And by the way, for my wife’s sake, that is not my house)
Last month, as winter turned to spring and the days got longer, the world around me started to bloom after a long, cold winter. Along with the buds on the trees and the blooms on the flowers came letters from the neighborhood homeowner’s association. It seems that weeds in the yard and mildew on the siding also come with the onset of spring, and they felt I should do something about it.
A good friend took care of the weeds, and I have attempted a cleansing of the mildew (it’s better than it was), but those “friendly” letters got me to thinking. While I had noticed the weeds in the yard, I honestly hadn’t realized the mildew was as bad as it was. Sometimes it takes someone else to point out the things that are growing in our gardens, eh? Sometimes, familiarity breeds not only contempt, but complacency. We just don’t see it.
Had I been johnny-on-the-spot with lawn care last fall, the weeds wouldn’t have sprung up like they did. And if I’d been periodically spraying off the vinyl siding on my house, the mildew wouldn’t have clung to it like it did. But it’s so much easier to do nothing, isn’t it?
Today, I had a conversation that was a replay of so many other conversations over the past few months, and it made me think of those weeds and the mildew. Those things didn’t just spring up overnight in my yard and on my house. They came from time and neglect. That’s all it takes, really, time and neglect.
Our spiritual lives are the exact same way. The conversation I had today (or almost any day, you pick) revolves around how one just doesn’t have the desire to (insert whatever spiritual practice or service you choose here), and that it’s not exciting anymore, or that we just don’t have the joy we once did. And, to a man, they’re tired.
Now, the thing is, most of these are guys are good men. Husbands. Fathers. Serving at church. Faithful. These are the men that the enemy does not want to leave alone. He wants to destroy them, and subsequently their marriages, families, churches, you name it. This life is a war, after all, between the flesh and the Spirit.
And it gets hard at times. Incredibly so. But when it does, I pray we all take these words of Jesus to heart:
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30)
Press in. Come to Him. The enemy wants you to retreat, to get alone, to lag behind the rest of the herd (we are sheep, y’all), so that he can, like the roaring lion that he is, devour you.
I for one would rather press in and stay near the Shepherd. How about you?