Some forest workers fight fires. Others battle fast-growing plants. A Mercury News article reported that teams of volunteers are working hard to remove invasive plants from the redwood forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Workers point out that many of the non-native species they are fighting are sold in garden stores. The German ivy plant, for example, has become a serious problem in California. This fast-growing exotic house plant competes with the native species, smothering and shading everything in its path. It can completely cover and destroy a tree.
Thinking about these home-grown invaders can help us understand something even more crucial than saving trees. Jesus warned us that anything that competes with Him for our hearts can choke our spiritual lives. He said that even the natural love of family can be dangerous and keep us from following Him (Luke 14:16-26). Our Lord demands our undivided love and loyalty.
Once we value Christ above everything else, we will learn to love our family with a deeper and healthier love. But until our ultimate loyalty is determined, home-grown affection will do in our hearts what fire or German ivy will do in a forest.
Don’t let anything compete with Christ.
To follow Christ we must let go
Of all that we hold dear;
And once we have denied ourselves,
Our gains become more clear. —Sper
The more we love Christ, the more we’ll love others.