Attacking the Mind

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    There is a really nice, tall pecan tree in my backyard. About one year out of three it produces a great number of pecans. This tree is big enough that it would take three people to wrap their arms around the trunk. However, one day I noticed an interesting thing happening. A poison ivy vine had began growing up the tree. I didn’t think much of it and I steered clear because I didn’t want to deal with handling poison ivy. It wasn’t until a few years later that I really saw what was happening. The poison Ivy vines had continued growing on that tree and had almost taken over completely. They were most of the way around the base of the tree, some as many as 4” in diameter. They were suffocating the tree and robing it of the water it needed. They had started small, but were continually growing and choking the life out of the pecan tree.

    Sin rarely starts big. Sin usually starts very small with one small compromise. The gang leader guilty of multiple homicides didn’t begin with murder, but rather with a small compromise that eventually led to where he ended up. The man who leaves his wife for another woman didn’t begin by sleeping with another woman, but with a simple, impure thought. Sin will start simple, small, almost innocent. We have all heard of the “little white lie”, yet in reality there are no good lies regardless of how small they are.

    So, if sin begins small, where does it begin? How can we watch out for and guard against sin? Matthew 15:18-20 warns us about how sin creeps into our lives. It says, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man:” Our heart and mind is where sin begins. Sin begins with a thought, a seemingly almost innocent, fleeting thought that passes through our mind. Yet when we dwell on those thoughts and allow them to “fester”, they grow and become desires, that gone unchecked will develop into sin. James 1:14-15 says, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished brings forth death. Fleeting thoughts becomes lusts and desires. Lust and desires lead to sin. Sin has no other choice but to lead to death.

    My pecan tree did not die. I no doubt would have given enough time, however luckily I noticed what was happening in time and was able to save the tree. I took a chainsaw and cut all of the vines around the base of the tree. The vines are still clinging to the tree, but they are no longer killing the tree. The consequences of sin often will cling to us for many years even after the sin is cut off. However, the forgiveness we find in Christ will ensure that we are no longer dead spiritually. Sin starts small. Sin has consequences. Sin leads to death. We must learn to recognize Satan’s attacks on our mind, and stop them before they ever take hold!

  • The seven deadly sins are gluttony, greed, lust, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. They creep into my daily life almost unnoticed. Repenting through prayer has strengthened my relationship with God.

    When God gives you poison ivy, prune it back. When God gives you pecans, "for heaven's sake," bake a pie, give thanks, and don't look back.