As a kid, I remember looking up from the car window at a patch of Kudzu in two different spots in my hometown. I thought those vines were so beautiful. Like all things, adulthood brings an entirely different and deeper understanding to what once was thought good and beautiful.
One day last week, Greg said “we have Kudzu spreading!” I, of course, had to investigate myself. My scientific analysis: yes, we do have Kudzu. We have lived here for 7 years, and it has never been a problem. But, it is a FAST growing problem now.
I sat down on the porch to spend time with God this morning, and I look up to see the spread of Kudzu all over. So, naturally, I googled “how did kudzu appear in my yard?” I didn’t get that personal of an answer, but I did learn about Kudzu.
It’s a sobering thing dealing with Kudzu because it can grow 12 inches in a day all ways. It overtakes everything around it–including buildings. It was imported here in the 1930s from Japan to solve erosion. Spoiler alert: it did not solve erosion AND it became a pest that spread like wildfire. We did not create Kudzu but we manipulated it and brought it into the environment to wreak havoc. Not the intention, but it was the consequence. It was a quick fix to bring it here, but getting rid of it is NOT quick and NOT easy. You could do all the work to cut it down and leave one little root and it sprouts like wildfire again. To get it out, you have to wage war.
All of us have areas of deep roots in our lives that we thought were a beautiful vine that could solve a need in our lives. It makes sense to us. Why wouldn’t we? It follows where our heart is leading… It makes us feel seen. It makes us feel important. It makes us feel understood. It makes us feel empowered. It makes us feel better for the moment. Until, it begins to choke us out and to take us over. It becomes bigger and stronger and we don’t even recognize ourselves. We cannot see the bigger picture that we have been covered by the kudzu.
When our feelings and truth become the guide, we are deceived. We are in the midst of a culture right now that is telling us that the only truth is what we feel. If you have lived any amount of time, you know that feelings change with the tide. It’s like building a sandcastle house. It is so very confusing to try to stand on shifting sand. There is nothing to anchor to. I see this in the hearts of people right now. It is disorienting. The vines are growing at lightning speed. Our “freedom” is actually destroying us.
If we do wrong, we quickly have an excuse or a way to spread blame somewhere else. Like Adam in the garden–passing the buck to Eve and Eve to the serpent. We, then, make excuses questioning what God says is good and what is sinful. Genesis 3 –“did God really say?” We are masters at twisting things to our own benefit. We are working on taking responsibility for our actions at our house right now–without saying “but he did this to me first!” We can come up with some wonderful sounding excuses, but that just trims the vine and keeps the root churning out the Kudzu.
As I pondered the kudzu and my heart in light of scripture, I thought of John Owen’s quote “Be killing sin or it will be killing you.” We don’t like to talk about sin these days unless it’s someone else’s. I am more and more and more grateful for the Truth of God revealed in scripture. Romans 1-3:20 explicitly shows us our motives and our end. All of these things we see unfolding again and again are foretold. The nature of sin from the beginning, the consequences of it, the rescue from it, and the realities of living as strangers in the world when we cling to Him are all written in the Bible. The Enemy and Accuser loves for us to gloss over sin or to pretend it doesn’t exist in our lives because the kudzu keeps growing to choke us out and to overtake us. All we have to do to be destroyed is to ignore or make light of Truth. Real life and hope and joy are found in recognizing that the kudzu of our hearts for what it is and looking to the Savior and Redeemer to cut it out and to give us Himself–the True Vine.
It’s so easy to be overwhelmed and confused these days when we try to walk in our own understanding apart from God’s word. As I was in 1 Peter this morning, I took great comfort in the gifts from God to walk in–chosen in Him with an identity firmly planted, sealed with the Spirit, grace and peace in abundance, new birth into a Living Hope, an imperishable inheritance kept in Heaven, shielded in His power, every grief and trial refining my faith and bringing praise and honor to Him when He is revealed–and filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.
To further this thought, I encourage you to read John 15:1-8 all about Jesus being the true vine and God the Father being the gardener and how we are to remain in Him.