Reflection for Today:
“If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.” 2 Peter 2:20-21
English Ivy can be beautiful and deadly depending on its location and purpose. Draping a brick wall or mailbox, ivy can provide needed colour—even an artistic flair, but when it slowly creeps up a beautiful hardwood tree it can strangle the life from a once majestic canopy of coolness. Recently, a teenaged friend and I learned first- hand that untangling ivy from seasons of neglect requires tools, sweat, and perseverance. What took years to drain life from that massive, passive tree, would take outside help to free it from its death grip. Entanglement breeds decay.
Peter, the fisherman and bold follower of Jesus, experienced first- hand a brief encounter of turning his back on Christ. In shame and with repentance—he returned back to the one he had declared he would never deny. Ever since the ascension of Christ to be with His heavenly Father—John, as a leader of the fledgling community of Jesus followers, saw some who started out as exuberant witnesses of the faith become entangled with the cares of the world and turn away from loving and obeying the Lord.
“They went out from us, but they were not of us, for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that it might be plain that they are all not of us” (1 John 2:19).
Are you entangled (even by something that started out good) and estranged from God? Like ivy, a hobby may have started out healthy and beneficial, but now it has overtaken your discretionary time in a detrimental way. Or work, it once served the Lord’s purposes for your life, but now has squeezed the life out of your relationships to the point of total neglect and resentment. Has God’s love been put on the back burner, because other competing loves burn with a brighter influence on your affections?
Ask our Lord in His great compassion to cut you free from the roots of fear and exhaustion. Rest in Him, and cease to strive in your own strength. Be content rather with knowing deeply those who really care about you. Untangling takes time, so remain patient and persevere though the painful process—life comes from cutting back.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:1-3).
Heavenly Father, free me from being entangled in relationships and activities that choke the life out of my relationship with Christ, in His name I pray, amen.
( ✍️ by Boyd Bailey – edited NW)