Spirit & Truth # 237
“Stumps and Clumps”
By Rev. Greg Smith
Some time ago, we had a tree in the yard that was rotten to the core, so we had a tree service come and cut it down. They did a good job at removing the tree, but they left a stump which was never ground down, cut up, pulled up, or otherwise removed. It wasn’t long after that, that we discovered tender shoots springing up from that old stump. They seemed small at first, but today, just a few months later, that old stump has become a spreading clump of shoots, springing out in every direction and making the yard look a mess.
It occurs to me that our lives are that way. When we realize the sin that makes us rotten to the core, we call in the Surgeon of our souls who cuts away everything that displeases God. In Matthew 3:10 (NKJV) John the Baptist says, “Even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Jesus cuts the sin out of our lives, even though it may mean he has to cut us down to a stump. If the ax is laid to the root, this means that our sin is totally eliminated, and will not return. But all too often we let Him cut away our sin only to have it sprout shoots and grow back again. Those sprouts of sin spread faster than you can imagine, and pretty soon what looked like a clean-cut stump ends up a clump of spreading sin that makes your whole life a mess.
What sin do you find growing in the center of your life? Ask Jesus, and He will cut it out of your heart. But be careful to keep the sin cut out, or it will come back worse than it was before. Jesus says in Luke 11:24-26 (NKJV), “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the state of that man is worse than the first.”
Don’t let your soul become hospitable to sin that’s already been cast out. God, the Master Gardener, wants to remove the sin from your life today. But it’s up to you to maintain the pruning work that He’s done. Don’t let sin grow back. Let Him grind your sin out completely, so that it’ll never return. Don’t let your stump get a new clump. When God cuts the sin off, it’s up to you to keep it off.