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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Picky, Picky, Picky

(Prayer Update for our Ministry here in Greece: Pray for continued ministry to those who came to the Marriage Seminar. Especially pray for one couple with whom we had the privilege of sharing the Gospel with them and we're praying they'll want to meet with us again.)


If you’re a reader of my bog, you may have thought, “Oh, Kathy, why are you so nit-picky about every little sin? Lighten up! Don’t take it so hard.” If you have, I can certainly understand. But consider the metaphor that our Greek friend, Taki, shared with us.


He told us how fields are cleared here in Greece. (If you’re new to my blog, please read some of my earlier posts about why my husband, Larry, and I are in Greece.) When the Greeks want to plant a crop, they begin clearing the field by taking out the obvious big boulders first. Those big boulders are then used as the foundation for the stone wall around the field. Then after the large boulders are cleared, the smaller boulders are dug out and placed on top of the big boulders on the wall. The process continues until the small rocks and stones finish off the top and crevices of the wall. Of course, at times, large boulders are again found as they dig deeper but little by little, the field is cleared of obstacles and prepared for planting.


I’m sure the connection to digging out the sins buried in our lives is obvious. When we become Christians, most of us are willing to ask God to make us more patient or loving. And really, those are challenges we’ll most likely be working on all our lives. No one “arrives.”


But the longer we’re Christians, the more we should be examining and digging out the small stones dealing with motives. Jesus says we’re not just sinning when we commit adultery, we’re adulterers for even lusting in our hearts (Matthew 5:27-29). The big boulder represents working on not saying something hurtful. The rock is desiring to not even think it. The smallest stones represent having godly motives of love that wants the best for the person from the beginning. And a field with the least boulders, rocks, and stones yields the greatest crop of the fruit of the Spirit.


The interesting thing about clearing our field is that the more holy and spiritually mature we are, the more sensitive to sin we become. The more holy and spiritually mature we are, the more we see little rocks and stones. And the more holy and spiritually mature we are, the more we are grieved by those rocks and stones. Thus we are humbled to grow in our dependence upon the Savior and Spirit.


J.C. Ryle writes that none of us will achieve perfection on this earth. He comments, “On the contrary they [the most eminent saints of God] have always had the deepest sense of their own utter unworthiness and imperfection. The more spiritual light they have enjoyed the more they have seen their own countless defects and shortcomings. The more grace they have had the more they have been ‘clothed with humility.’” (Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots).


Where are you in the process of clearing your field? Don’t be discouraged if it seems like you shouldn’t be finding any large boulders any longer. The deeper the Spirit digs, the more will be unearthed. See it as God’s cleansing work. It’s when you’re no longer seeing the boulders, rocks, and stones that you should be worried. Rejoice that you’re identifying that which prevents you from growing ever closer to the Lord. Be humbled but not discouraged. Your field will yield greater fruit.

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