“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:26-27
Ever since purchasing our home, I’ve been working on our lawn, little by little, to make it look nice and green and lush. It was in horrible condition when we first arrived, and I started by digging up the majority of our front lawn. We then laid down a thick layer of topsoil, seeded and watered and the lawn began to grow. Over the next couple of years, we kept working at it, making sure we put fertilizer down when prescribed along with crabgrass killer and grub killer. This year in the Spring, our lawn was gorgeous…absolutely gorgeous. We actually had neighbors walking by commenting on how nice our lawn looked. Then the summer heat hit…with a vengeance, and small spot of grass died, then another one and another one and another one, and it spread to the side lawn and the back lawn! The whole lawn didn’t die, but large spots had, and it looked horrible. What happened!?
Speaking with a lawn care specialist, I found out that I had probably over-fertilized and after the rain, followed by the heat that hit the lawn, a fungus had developed and begun to spread, killing the grass. I asked if I could just reseed over the lawn (that sounded easy to me). “No,” came the reply. “You really need to dig up the dead areas, get rid of the dead grass where the fungus resides, put down new lawn soil, reseed, and water.” That sounded like a lot of work, and I actually thought about just forgetting it and trying to ignore it. But each day, as I went out our front door, there it was, staring me in the face and I knew the problem wouldn’t go away.
As I contemplated the issue, I realized that what happened to my lawn, often happens spiritually in our lives when we allow sin to creep in and we don’t deal with it. In our verse above, Paul mentions the sin of anger, but if you looked at the verses right before it and right after it, he also mentions lying and stealing. Any sin that we allow to remain in our lives and to fester, will begin to affect (infect) other areas of our lives. Just as I did not guard against the fungus in our lawn ahead of time, nor did I deal with it immediately upon recognizing it, it spread until it affected the whole lawn. Sin will do that in our lives as well.
That’s why Paul tells us very clearly, “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” We need to nip it in the bud…we need to deal with sin as soon as possible. Better yet, we need to guard against the sin in the first place. Paul says in Romans 13:14, Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
Keeping our minds on Christ and on His Word helps us guard against the plight of attacking sin. But if we do sin, we need to deal with it as soon as possible, confessing it to the Lord, and we know that If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and purify us from all unrighteousness.
As far as my lawn goes? I’ve done the hard work of digging out the old, dead, infected grass, put new lawn soil in those spots, reseeded and am caring for it by watering regularly. I’m looking forward to it flourishing once again. In the same way, let’s ask God to search our hearts and see if there is any wicked way in us. Then let’s deal with it so that Christ can once again flourish in our lives.