I love what I am learning as I continue the challenge of reading each day’s chapter in Proverbs. Although I’ve been through the Proverbs countless times, the perspective changes with each new season and each new period of growth in grace. And I especially love it when something in the Proverbs triggers a connection elsewhere in His Word. Today was one of those days.

I walked by the field of a lazy person, the vineyard of one with no common sense. I saw that it was overgrown with nettles. It was covered with weeds, and its walls were broken down.
Then, as I looked and thought about it, I learned this lesson: A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.

So, I began to ponder… nettles, weeds, and broken down walls. What do these things look like in our own lives?

I don’t know if you live in a place where you have to contend with nettles, but I do. While they are actually beautiful to look at (very interesting indeed – even when they are dried), if you’ve ever touched one you will always avoid them from that point on. They sting – and the stinging continues for quite some time. I have definitely met folks like that – their outward beauty creates an interest – from a distance – but if you get close enough, their lives produce a stinging effect that lingers and the pain continues long after you are no longer in their presence.

I am human, therefore I a certain there must be areas of my life that others have found prickly and stinging once they got close enough. So I am asking the Lord to reveal and cleanse these areas from my life. I want everything, every detail about my life to be a sweet fragrance of my indwelling Lord and Savior – not a poison that hangs on with painful memories.

I think we all know how contentious weeds are – even if you live in the center of a big city. They take over everything and grow in the most unlikely places. Their roots establish their presence and take meticulous attention and constant work in order to get rid of them. I have a home with some acreage. I love flowers and color and blooms and a variety of fragrances and textures. But boy does it take time and effort to maintain what I want in my garden so that the weeds don’t take over and choke out the beauty I love!

Please, Lord, eradicate the  roots of bitterness and envy and insecurity and doubt in my life! It takes a constant effort to bring myself before His throne and lay myself out as a living sacrifice so that the LIFE of His Son, the very nature of the Lord Jesus Christ is what is ruling in me. My old self is like the weeds in my garden, so willing and ready to take over and choke out the very life of Christ in me. Just a little extra “sleep” or maybe even an occasional “slumber party” just for fun, a simple “folding of the hands” for only a moment, after all, I need a break from time to time, don’t I? NO! There is never a time when I don’t need to be intentionally focused and alert before the King of Kings, my Bridegroom! I need to constantly be at His feet, seeking Him in all things!

Broken down walls. How are you at setting and keeping boundaries? Boy is this a tough one for me! I mean, come on, I am THE quintessential otter after all. People and fun, more people and fun! I don’t like conflict, I don’t like to have to confront others. It stinks! And yet, I am not here to realize myself, I am here to be a vessel of the Living God Who desires to pour out His blessings on His creation and draw ALL men (women and children) to Himself. Jesus lived out His life with very clear, defined boundaries. So much so, that when the woman with the bleeding disease merely touched the hem of His garment, He knew it instantly.

I need to be truly humble in His Presence so that I can hear from Him what my boundaries are to be. His boundaries are ancient, set from before the beginning of time. His boundary lines are meant to be honored. It is a matter of disrespect for me to ignore them – yes, even in my own life. It is not for me to set new boundaries or to determine my own personal boundaries, but to be so intent on His Word, that His boundaries supernaturally transfer to my life here on earth. If I am overrun by the enemy, then those who are supposed to be under my protection and care are left open to attack and harm. There is a reason why the walls were built in the first place and why God set the boundary lines from the very beginning. Remember – even Eden had boundaries!

So how do we keep from becoming lazy and living with these consequences of neglect? The Holy Spirit quickly brought Galatians 5 and 6 to mind.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.

An admonition for us all! “Let’s not get tired of doing what is good!” It is a choice. A choice to intentionally bring ourselves before the throne of grace and receive from Him all that we need to continue on and to bring glory and honor to His Name.

Will we have moments of lapses? We will. But, the question is this: Will we choose to stand firm in His redemption by choosing faith even when all else around us screams that it is just not possible?

“As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD!” By faith in the completed work of Christ on the cross and His applied perfection IN me. It is never and never has been about what I can do. It has always been and forever will be about what He has already accomplished. I am only an active recipient of His abundant grace!

How about you?