Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. James 1:12-15
I’ve often heard it said that we reap what we sow. It’s a law of the universe. I realize that it would be ridiculous for me to plant corn in a field and expect a crop of watermelon. That would be absolutely ludicrous. And, so it is in our spiritual lives and in the lives of our families. In fact, generations down the line may reap what is planted now – both good and bad. Nick and I have been praying a lot about the roots we want to establish and the crops we want to plant for our family. We know it’s important and could have a profound effect on our children and our children’s children.
When we look at our parents, we are so grateful that they chose to plant good things in our lives. For me, in particular, my mom came from an abusive household with an alcoholic father with many addictions. She and my Dad made a choice to stop those negative cycles with their family; they chose to protect us from those influences. In high school, it was a little embarrassing to be one of the few “PG” households on the block, but as an adult, I’m forever grateful that they protected what went into my mind. If it wasn’t true, pure, honorable, etc., it wasn’t allowed in our home. Nick grew up in a very similar home where good values, love of Jesus and the service of others was taught as well as modeled. We could never find the words to express our gratitude to our parents for giving us a safe place to grow. Our parents loved us very well and planted good things in the soil of our young hearts.
A couple of weeks ago at church, our pastor, reminded us (as he often does) that we should pray out loud, alone with the Lord, on our knees, with a list. That week, he was also talking about “New Power for the Divided” and much of what he said resonated with me about what distracts us from truly following Jesus. When we got home, I took out my sketch pad (warning: I am NOT an artist. That is not something my Grandma Solly passed down to me). I wanted to make a visual list for Nick and I to pray as we sought the Lord for our family. The original picture had names and specific things we were praying against for members of our family, but here is a generic recreation of what I drew:
What a sweet time we had as husband and wife as we talked about the things from which we wanted to shield our family, and what things we wanted to plant in the ground of our marriage. We want to dig up roots of bitterness, gossip, pride, and so many other things that destroy families. We want to plant the fruits of the Spirit (Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) so that they may be apparent in our lives and bless others. We want to be just, merciful, kind and walk humbly with our God. So, we prayed for all of these things (and continue to do so).
What roots are you laying down? What harvest will you expect based on the seeds you are planting today? Will your grandchildren reap the benefits or weep in sorrow? We are fighting for our family even now. We are praying for our children before they are born and preparing the way for them. We are fighting hard for our marriage in a world where it is so easy to let sin become full-grown. It’s a worthy cause, and we are excited as we move forward. May the roots we pray down bring a harvest of which we can be proud in years to come.