DAILY DEVOTIONAL – April 14, 2021
“Watch Out for Wisteria”
Prayer: Jesus, You teach us in Your word it is the unseen that is eternal and that what is seen will perish. Lord, in Your mercy, guard our hearts and our eyes. Through Your Word, give us the eyes of faith that see through the deceptions of this sinful world and the deceptions of our own hearts, so that we may know and experience the full joy of salvation You have given to us through Your death and resurrection. Amen.
Scripture: James 1:12-15
12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
Devotional – “Watch Out for Wisteria”
The Wisteria plant is beautiful to behold, producing clusters of gloriously colored blossoms. It is a member of the pea family, so you’d think it wouldn’t amount to much, but you would be wrong. Hidden behind the graceful, draping clusters of delicate blossoms is a highly aggressive vine which, if left unchecked, will choke the life out of everything to which it attaches itself.
The size of which Wisteria can grow is limited only by the height of the structure it is climbing (often up to 65 feet in length), and the trunks of some of these Wisteria plants have been measured up to 15 inches in diameter. These trunks can effectively strangle their support structure through a process called girdling. When allowed to grow into full maturity, Wisteria vines can climb above the canopy of healthy trees blocking the life-giving sunlight. Even if the structure that Wisteria attaches to crumbles or the tree it climbs withers away under its weight and vise-like grip, the vine lives on, falling to the ground and snaking its way to the next available structure to begin its ascent all over again.
Homeowners who have planted the vine against the face of their home, ignorant of it’s insatiable appetite and hoping to enhance the attractiveness of its curb appeal, have had their gutters ripped off their roofs, their bricks or wood siding cracked and eroded, or their chimneys crushed and toppled in the process.
In this Wisteria vine, we have a vivid picture of the sin that has corrupted all of our hearts. Like the blossoms of the Wisteria plant, sin often times disguises its destructive capacity behind a veil of beauty in order to entice us into becoming a willing structure upon which the vine of sin can wrap itself around.
When Eve gave ear to the Devil’s lies, Scripture says, “she saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.”
The Devil and our own sinful nature often deceive us into think that we’re bigger than our vices, our little indulgences, our minor compromises, but remember that sin, like Wisteria, will grow to match the height of its support. This what James is warning against when he says in our text, “each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” When a child is conceived in the womb, you would need a microscope to be able to see that first cell. Just as a man like me who stands 6’4” and I won’t tell you how many pounds, came from that one tiny single-cell zygote, so to the most heinous and grievous atrocities of sinful humanity start with the smallest of compromises. By appearances alone, one wouldn’t be able to guess that the small seed or the beautiful blossoms of the Wisteria plant could result in such destruction.
We all, like Adam and Eve, have tasted the forbidden fruit. We have allowed things in our lives that shouldn’t be because of their deceptive beauty, we have entertained thoughts that cause us to sin because we desire to be wise, and we have given our worship to idles because we foolishly believe they will fill us and satisfy us. We have all allowed the vine of sin to wrap around us and block out the light of the Son of God and choke out the True life that we need and that is in Jesus. If we desire to see the blessings and fruitfulness in our life that God has promised us in His Word, then God must do the pruning. We must sit still long enough, and we must not resist God’s tender and loving hand when He comes with His set of shears and desires to cut out all of the dead and dying parts of us and trim all of the overgrowth. As James says, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” It may seem counterintuitive to us at the time, and we may not understand why God is taking away or is allowing things to be taken away or trimmed out of our lives, but God has promised that when we abide in Him and allow Him as the Master Creator and Gardener to have his way with us, we will bear much fruit indeed. We can be sure of this as we look to the cross and see our Lord Jesus, our sinless Lord, who followed the Word and will of His Father even unto death, dying for our sins, only to blossom forth on Easter morning victorious over sin and death. Our Risen Lord says to us in John 15, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
Thanks for spending time with me again in devotion, and remember, that God has forgiven yesterday, is with you today, and has already taken care of tomorrow. Amen.