Why simply avoiding sin is NOT the best way to avoid sin.

cut the grass

Lesson from My Lawn #4

By the end of the summer my lawn looked HORRIBLE!

What made my lawn look even worse is that I live in a community where people take “fescue maintenance” VERY seriously.

Rumor has it that there is a secret society comprised of the people in my neighborhood who all have lawns that look like freshly vacuumed green shag carpet—no kidding.

To be honest, I don’t have the time (6 kids and a dog) or the resources (again, 6 kids and a dog) to make my lawn look the way I would like it to.

By the end of the summer I had more weeds than ever before and it really started to bother me.  I know, I know—it’s just a lawn.  But there is something about a nice lawn and big fields of green grass that I just really love!

You can read about that in lessons from my lawn #1, #2 and #3.

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What many people, who hate weeds like I do, don’t realize is that one of the best ways of preventing weeds is to have a really healthy, thick lawn! Simply put—if there is no room for a weed to germinate and take root, it can’t flourish!  The warm days and cool nights of fall make it the ideal season for fertilizing and planting grass seed—so that’s what I did!  My lawn is still not as nice as my neighbors’ lawn—but it’s looking better.

Don’t you think this truth is the perfect analogy for the spiritual life?
There are tons of books, blogs, sermons and study materials on how to get rid of specific sins and temptations out there—“sin avoidance” or “behavior management”—the advice found in these sources are basically “weed killer” for bad habits and behaviors.

The older I get, God has really been showing me that the best way to avoid sin is not to merely “manage” my sinful behaviors, but to live a healthy and growing spiritual life. (Please click here to automatically tweet that last sentence!)
I am learning that if you regularly engage in the things needed to sustain your relationship with Christ, behavior management becomes less of an issue.

Water, fertilizer and sunlight become the best weed prevention in the same way that prayer, the words of God, and being still and alone with God can prevent spiritual weeds from popping up in our lives. Unfortunately we, myself included, spend so much time managing our sin that we spend little time in God’s presence listening for His voice.

I’m not saying that when sin does appear that you ignore that individual sin;  instead, I am thinking about my spiritual practices like preventative spiritual medicine—the healthier we are the less likely we will get sick.

How about you? Do you have a regular practice that helps you strengthen your relationship with Christ?  Do you feel empty when you miss a day? week? month?


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  • Matt Kim

    I love this post!! Over this past year, God’s been showing me that sanctification is more about rehab than it is about change. His grace is so sufficient!

  • TeensChristBlog

    Amen! This helps me see the armor of God in Eph 6 more clearly as well. Nice post B.

  • Gutty

    Barry, very good analogy. You teach spiritual truths in a very laid back effective manner. Well said brother.

  • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

    Thanks, I had a few good teachers a long the way!
    (wink, wink!)