One night at Bible study we were talking about spiritual battles and a young mom in our group gave a great analogy of what can happen when we let our guard down. Being a picture person, it came through loud and clear to me. I became fixated on the picture painted in my mind by her words. In my heart I knew there was a lesson in it. She said something like, “When we let our guard down, the enemy and sin have a way of creeping in like ivy on a house.”
Ivy is beautiful to the onlooker but what is it doing to the structure underneath? Ivy starts from one little root and grows slowly. It is a creeping plant that wraps itself around trees, fences, and buildings. Sound familiar?
The enemy sits waiting for his chance to plant that one little root that in time will grow and slowly begin to take over. Many things that the world sees as perfectly acceptable are sin in God’s eyes and can take over a person.
As I researched ivy, I learned that it wraps its way around a tree and sucks the life out of the tree. What looks beautiful from the outside is actually killing the tree. Even a tree with deep roots will be harmed when the root of an ivy plant takes hold. On buildings that have any cracks/damage, ivy literally grows into the crack and causes very harmful structural damage. Moisture also gets into those damaged areas that the ivy has made bigger and becomes the perfect breeding ground for mold and fungus.
We can so easily become like those homes covered in ivy, beautiful on the outside and falling apart because of the damage the roots of sin, shame, and lies from the enemy have caused. Just like the tree that is slowly dying, the life is being sucked out of us. Something foul like mold or fungus on a house can be growing in us where the root of evil has broken into old wounds.
God’s word tells us to “be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV) We need to be on guard as believers. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12 (NIV) Daily, we need to be putting on the armor of God and digging in deep to tear out any roots the enemy is trying to plant in our heads and our hearts.
As you read this, I hope you will really look hard at yourself. Is there ivy in your life that needs to be torn out before it slowly sucks the life out of you? Ask God to search your heart and bring to your attention any strongholds that have taken root and then ask God to use His mighty hand to tear out the ivy in your life.
Know this, as ivy is pulled off a building parts of the building come with it. Ask God to be the life-giving “spackle” that fills in those holes where your ivy has been pulled out. God can rebuild what was meant for harm. Ivy can be turned from harmful to …
The enemy can have no root of harm in me and he can have no root of harm in you!