Removing Obstacles

Published 5:44 pm Friday, August 26, 2016

Years ago a lady dug up some small crape myrtle trees from her yard and gave them to me. They were just little whips at the time, but I transplanted them to our front yard and eventually they started to grow.

When I set them out I was careful to put them far enough back from the road so they did not block the view of oncoming traffic—at least I thought I did. In recent weeks, however, I have been noticing that the full foliage and floral display on the trees were beginning to make a blind spot as I exited the yard. Even though we live on a city street with a speed limit of 30, not everyone abides by the law, so we have to use caution when entering the road. A blind spot created by a tree—no matter how pretty it might appear—can lead to tragedy.

Gale told me that after looking at least twice before proceeding onto the road Wednesday morning, she was alerted by the honking of the horn of an oncoming vehicle. Thankfully she was alert and reacted quickly so there was no collision. Very likely the tree created just enough of a blind spot to hinder her vision of the approaching vehicle. That is a situation that deserved immediate attention.

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One of my first items for the day on Thursday was to do some serious cutting away of limbs from my prized trees. It might not be the typical season to do such heavy pruning and I am not even sure that the trees will survive, but that is an inconsequential chance to take if it will spare my family from potential danger.

Spiritually we sometimes develop blind spots—obstacles that get in the way of our spiritual progress. Listen to these powerful words of Christ: “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell” (Matthew 5:29, New International Version). He continues in the next verse, “And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” I do not believe for a minute that He was prescribing the removal of body parts to make the soul clean, for the preceding statements declare that anger and lust—even without physical actions—bring the displeasure of God. Nevertheless, there are things that hinder us spiritually that need to be removed–maybe it is some habit, perhaps a place of entertainment, or an endless list of other things that create a blind spot that can lead us toward spiritual danger, even destruction.

It is not unusual for the removal of such things to come with great reluctance. I have to admit that I was not too delighted to have to go out and whack off all those limbs and blooms from my two trees, especially since it was their best display ever, but the reason I did it made it without question worth it. In like manner, it is always worth removing anything from our life—regardless of the temporary pleasure that it might seem to bring—in order to become more pleasing to God.

Is something getting in your way spiritually and creating a blind spot that might hide approaching danger and disaster? Don’t hesitate to remove it. It is always worth the temporary pain to do what will make you stronger spiritually.