Don’t get chewed up!

Published 7:51 pm Friday, July 30, 2010

I have enjoyed gardening for many years; even as a small child, I had a little garden.

Like all gardeners, I experience disappointments and frustrations: pests are constantly trying to take over; the weather is seldom perfect for growing things; and seeds rarely produce the perfect vegetables that are pictured on the seed packet.

I will share one of my latest frustrations.

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Included in the things that I attempted to grow in my garden this year was bell pepper. They have never done very well for me, so I paid a little extra and bought a hybrid variety that came with a boast, promising big and beautiful peppers. The plant was pricey, but I bought one anyway. It did make a rather nice looking plant, but I was interested in more than appearance. Thankfully, it finally set three peppers; one of them got sun burned before maturity, but the other two seemed to be developing into what I had hoped for.

I do not know how varmints know when it is almost time to harvest a crop, but they are skilled at indulging in a delicious feast in the quiet hours of the night while the gardener is in deep sleep. So it was with my pepper plant!

I went out to take a look at my pepper plant the other morning. To my unpleasant surprise, in just a short amount of time, almost all the leaves had been stripped away. At first I did not know what the culprit was, but after a closer look I found a big green worm. Not only had he and his partner eaten most of the leaves, but they had also chewed a big hole in one of my prized peppers. Thankfully I was able to salvage one pepper. I told my wife we probably had about $10 in that one. It was good, but not worth $10!

I am reminded that we also have a spiritual adversary, Satan, who wants to chew up our lives. Sometimes he seems to hit us suddenly and knock us off our feet. While at other times, he nibbles at our hearts little by little without us hardly noticing, until one day we realize that we are in bad condition spiritually. The Bible refers to Satan as being a thief. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I [Jesus Christ] have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10, NIV).

In order to keep Satan from chewing us up spiritually, it is important that we know something about his nature and how he operates. As John 10:10 tells us, his goal is to take away from people and destroy their lives. Yet we can rejoice in the life giving power of God made available to us through faith in Jesus Christ. If we will rely upon Him, we will gain strength to overcome the tactics of Satan.

In order to keep Satan from chewing us up spiritually, we must also pay careful attention to what is going on in our lives. When Christ was tempted by Satan in the wilderness for forty days, he stayed alert to the attempts that Satan made against Him. His main defensive tool was the Word of God (Matthew 4:1-11). That tool remains available; if we are wise we will use it regularly. If we ignore it, we are setting ourselves up for devastation.