Lessons from the bramble: observations of an occasional and untaught gardener #26-30
“You must be killing sin, or it will be killing you.” – John Owen
26. You only learn to deal with brambles by experience. It is not until you start to deal with your own garden that you realise how hard it is to keep it clear, appreciate the cleanliness of the gardens of others, and start to learn the hard lessons about removing brambles and other weeds for yourself.
- You only learn to deal with sins, and realise how hard it is to deal with sins, when you set about the process of mortification. You can take advice, and learn from the counsel and experience of others, but you must often learn for yourself what sin looks like, and how far down you must dig in order to remove it. Only then do you realise the labour and toil that produces and maintains a life of holiness in a mature saint.
27. Someone who never bothers with gardening, or allows someone else to do all the work for them, has no idea how hard it is to deal with brambles.
- The pain, labour, and painstaking approach that the mortification of sin requires are alien concepts to those who never truly strive against wickedness in their own lives.
28. If the garden has been without sun for some time, and it eventually starts to shine, it seems that it prompts growth in the brambles most readily and quickly.
- God’s blessings often are the cause in men – even good men – of prompting their sins along with or over their sanctification. Take care that when the sun of blessing shines it does not prompt the appearance of sins.
29. Brambles will grow in just about any ground, no matter how apparently infertile.
- Sins need little nourishment. A man needs divine help to manifest grace, but sin grows naturally in the rockiest spiritual soil.
30. Brambles do bear fruit, often juicy and sweet, and good to the taste, but plucking it is often painful, the taste does not last long, and, when the fruit disappears, the thorns remain.
- A sin often has its genuine pleasures, but they are never enjoyed without danger, pain and injury.
- Once the pleasure of sin has passed, the pain, danger, and injuries will remain.