The flesh sucks. It wants what it wants when it wants it. There is no care for whom or what it wants. It is all about itself, about pleasure, about abandon, and momentary escape. And, when we battle the flesh, it is no easy task.
If we’re honest (and many of us aren’t), we want to give in. We want that fleeting pleasure. To borrow an analogy from a treasured friend (and I told her I would), we want to ignore our manicured gardens and step into the wild forest. Wild is fun, for a time. After all, pulling weeds gets tedious and when our thought lives become overgrown with said weeds, it is easy to want to give up and surrender to the disorder and overgrowth of the forest, to run from the work entailed in taking every thought captive and thinking on what is pure, etc.
Forests offer darkness in which to hide our sin behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. Forests shadow the things we struggle with so that those who know us best are shaded from their reality. Forests are rife with wild creatures and poisonous plants that invoke the thrill of danger and risk. Sin grows there and it is often as tempting as the most gorgeous and scent-heavy flowers. Its coolness numbs our hearts.
Keeping a manicured, weed-free, light-engulfed, garden is tiresome. It is daily (sometimes minute by minute) work. It gets exhausting, especially if you’ve been plucking at your moral frailty thorns for years (as I have). Getting weary is natural. We are weak entities in a vast world that offers forest ventures regularly. And God isn’t always willing to remove our sin-drenched nettles. Rather He wants us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Work, is the key here (not that work earns salvation, don’t read it that way).
Though the forest, the fall, the lapse of judgment, the giving in to fleshly desires, seems like a respite, though it feels like a moment’s peace, it is deceptive. The enemy lurks there waiting to trap and ensnare you. It is easy to get lost in the forest of addiction, attraction, of financial gain, or whatever thorny moral frailty beckons you. It is far harder to get back out. Stick to your garden to remain fruitful. And, pray that I can stick to mine.