Under the Mistletoe

On Saturday this past weekend, my lovely girlfriend invited me out to go on a hike with her and her family near her family’s property. Since i treasure every moment i get with her, i naturally said, “That’d be fun.”

While on the hike, we came across the following tree. Notice how green and healthy it looks from afar.

Now lets zoom in a little closer. The whole tree is being taken over by a parasite. The darker green “leaves” are mistletoe, and it is slowly but certainly sucking the life out of this tree.

Almost simultaneously, my girlfriend and i said, “There’s a metaphor here.”

Which leads me to Genesis 2-3, where we read the following:

And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden,  but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.”

“You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow until you return to the ground, since you were taken from it. For you are dust, and you will return to dust.

Genesis 2:16-17; 3:19 (HCSB)

Now, of course, in between the first verses and the last verse quoted above, Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And also, of course, the phrase “you will certainly die” is not meant to be an instantaneous sentence of judgment. Instead, a more literal rendering is “dying, you shall die.” The point is that death would be inevitable. They would not be able to escape it. It would catch them in the end.

And this is the curse that humanity has been dealing with ever since. It doesn’t matter how well you diet, how much you work out, how little sun you get, death will get you in the end.

But there’s more to the story than that.

After Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they hid from God. They thought that maybe they could hide their nakedness from God. They thought that perhaps they could escape the curse by covering themselves with leaves.

But it failed. And it will fail us too. Just like it doesn’t matter how green a tree is if most of the greenery is a life-sucking parasite, it doesn’t matter how ”good” our lives look on the outside if we are decaying within.

Do we hide cancer in our souls with a veneer of health and happiness? Do we hide the disease in our churches by masking it with a multitude of people? Do we hide the strife and struggle in our families with a, “We’re good, how about you guys?” when we run into old friends (or even current friends)?

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.

James 5:16a (HCSB)

If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say, “We don’t have any sin,” we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

1 John 1:8-10 (HCSB)

We must do what Adam and Eve were too ashamed to do. The Holy Spirit inside us should urge us to confess our sins. If we don’t, then we are in danger of grieving the Holy Spirit (cf. Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19). We should not keep it bottled up inside us. We shouldn’t try to fight it alone.

We must bring it to God in prayer. We must confess it to those we are close to in the church. The church must treat sin as a dangerous thing, or else the church is in danger of promoting a parasitic, soul-destroying cancer in its midst that can remain hidden until it kills everything good and beautiful.

Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins. He rose from the dead to show us that for the Christian death doesn’t have the final word. Jesus reversed the curse.

Pride is what keeps us from confessing our sin, from saying, “I need Jesus to heal me from this disease that has killed/will kill every human being on this planet.” Pride is a sin we need to confess as well.

To fail to confess sin (including pride) is to say, “I like having a terminal disease.” It is to say, “If I was a tree, I hope mistletoe grows on me.” It is to say, “I don’t want a cure.”

The One you need is Jesus--of this i am sure
Cuz you got a terminal disease; He has the cure

Let’s refuse to allow parasites to grow up in our lives, in our families, in our churches. Let’s root them out and destroy them.

By God’s grace we can do this!

In this with you.

Soli Deo Gloria
Solus Christus
Sola Scriptura
Sola Gratia
Sola Fide
Pro Ecclesia

Thanks for reading.

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