When we planted our winter grazing, we really thought that we were only sowing oats, wheat and ryegrass. That was all the cattle needed and all we intended to grow. However, just like last year, when the seed sprouted we had a boat load of pestilent wild turnips that had also found root.
You have to wonder how so many weed seed could be mixed in with the bags of grain that appeared to be so pure—especially since the grain had already been professionally cleaned prior to bagging. I know that many of you experienced farmers are thinking that the turnip seed was already in the ground when we planted the grazing. That is true for some of the weed seed, but this year, and every year prior, when the turnips first present themselves, we spray to kill them before they have the opportunity to seed out and reproduce, so most of the seed was unwillingly and unknowingly sown with the grain.
Dealing with the wild turnips before they have a chance to produce seed and multiply is the only way to keep them from taking over the entire field. As Barney Fife used to say: “This calls for action now. We have to nip it in the bud and we have to nip it now!” (If you have Internet access, google: ‘Barney Fife Nip it in the bud’ and you will remember what I am referring to). If you are going to destroy the detrimental wild turnips before they choke out the desired grazing and absorb all the moisture and expensive fertilizer that is available and needed for the grazing to flourish, you must eliminate them before they mature and reproduce.
Sin in our lives is much like the turnips in the grazing. Part of the problems is that we are born with a sinful nature (the seed of sin is already there waiting for the right conditions to germinate). Part of the sin problem is that the seed of sin is sown into our lives by Satan or others. Either way, we all have sin in our lives and we all have to deal with it before it masters us or chokes out the good that God created us for. This sin has the same detrimental effects in our lives as the turnips do in the grazing and must be dealt with in the same way. If it is not nipped in the bud, little by little it will take over our lives and destroy the effectiveness of our witness!
The Bible warns us by saying: “Don’t give the Devil a foothold.” (Eph 4:27). I remember when I was a youth leader telling a lot of teens that if you give Satan just a place to hang his toe, if you give him just a little something to hold on to, before you know it he will be stomping your butt! That is exactly the truth. We have to deal with the temptation to sin before it takes root and before our lusts lead us astray. We have to be looking for it and making decisions about what we will do before the temptation presents itself. I have always warned young people that you need to make up your mind about whether or not you will climb into the backseat instead of having to make a decision about what you will do once you are in the backseat! That is good advice for adults too!
It is very important, especially for Christians, to know that God is never the source of temptation to sin—though, if we lust or play with the ideas too long, we can convince ourselves that He is. ‘ I love God, He loves me, and He wants me to be happy’! (Now that is a trap!) We see something we want, perhaps something we even need, we want it really badly and begin to dwell on the object of our affection and the desire to have what we want grows to the point that it becomes lust. It is no sin to be tempted (Jesus was tempted in every way yet was without sin). When we begin to lust, we open the door for overt temptation to present itself. When we yield to the temptation, is when we sin. We have to nip the lust, the intense desire to sin in the bud before we act it out. I have heard it said: “You can’t stop the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.”
In David Jeremiah’s commentary of James 1:14-16, he says: “Yielding to temptation is sin. Temptation itself is not a sin. Temptation is also not just a single event but a process involving four stages: enticement, entrapment, endorsement, and enslavement. The key to overcoming temptation is not just to resist, but also to change one’s thoughts—refocusing one’s mind on what is true and on the One who assures victory. Satan loves to take routine desires and turn them into runaway desires.” First Satan baits his trap with various kinds of attractive lures. We need to be honest with ourselves and able to see and identify these lures and traps for what they are. Once we take the bait is when we sin and become ensnared in the trap set for us. If we hold temptation in our hearts and do not nip it in the bud, we will sin.
I know that I have said it several times already, but I want to stress that temptation in and of itself is not sin. It is critically important to know this because one of Satan’s greatest strategies is to convince us that since we have already lusted and been tempted, that we have already lost the battle and there is no harm in acting out or giving in to the temptation. This is a lie from the pits of hell! But, if we do not deal with the lusts and temptations, acknowledging them for what they are and confessing them to God and perhaps even to a confidant who will hold us accountable, then we are in very dangerous waters and are very likely to lose the battle and destroy all that God is wanting to do in and through our lives.
People are always watching us to see if our faith is real. Many are looking for an excuse to diminish our witness, to extinguish our light, and to prove that our faith in Christ is irrelevant and incapable of changing lives. We must be on guard and remember that not only does our sin separate us from intimate relationship with God, but it also affects the lives of others. There is no sin I can think of that affects only the offender.
My brother put me onto a song written by Rodney Griffin and Babbie Mason that is recorded by the Mark Trammell Quartet. The song is entitled: “Your Walk Talks”. The lyrics are a little comical, but very true:
“You know, your walk talks, and your talk talks, But your walk talks louder than your talk talks. Your behavior toward your neighbor, Is really how you feel about the Savior. When you exemplify and shine the Light of Christ, You know the number in the kingdom will be multiplied. Yes, your walk talks, and your talk talks, But your walk talks louder than your talk talks.”
How you live your life – your "walk" – speaks more loudly and clearly to others than anything you say. May God help us to glorify Him as we talk the Talk and walk the Walk!