Invasive Species

Are there any invasive species planted in your heart? An invasive species is an introduced species to an environment that becomes overpopulated and harms its new environment. Non-native species are plants and animals living in areas where they do not naturally exist. Think for example of the kudzu vines that have ravaged the Appalachian region, taking over entire fields and mountainsides.

Invasive species are on my mind every spring and summer as I do battle with the wisteria vines and English ivy that the well-meaning previous owner of our property planted years ago. I have spent more time cutting back, and attempting to remove invasive species from my yard, than planting new plants and enjoying the growth.

When God’s people entered the land of Israel, they were given a warning, by God, for their own good: do not enter into marriage with the Canaanites. God knew that once Israel began to mix with the Canaanites it would not stop just with marriage. With marriage would come serious cultural problems, religious problems, and eventually worship problems.

Nowhere is this more clearly demonstrated than in the life of King Solomon. Solomon began his reign well – He walked with God in great wisdom. Because of Solomon’s humble spirit, God also chose to bless him with great riches and political favor. However, Solomon did not end well. Somewhere along the line, an invasive species was planted. Perhaps even with good intentions to create political alliances, or perhaps simply out of the lust of his heart, Solomon began marrying Canaanite women and other foreigners. He did not stop until he had 700 wives and 300 concubines. What started with one wife from a foreign people, whom Solomon never should have married, grew and took over, and ultimately harmed his life and the kingdom of Israel’s walk with God. With the wives came the false gods, Asherah poles, and idols that caused Solomon’s heart to stray from God. The once splendidly wise king recounts his downfall in the book of Ecclesiastes, sending a warning to all those who read, not to chase after the things of this world that do not belong as a native species in the heart of a follower of God.

What has been planted in your heart that never should have been there? Is it a misplaced love, an inordinate hope, a secret habit? What invasive species, perhaps planted with good but ultimately foolish intentions, has started to overpopulate and take ground that never should have been taken?

“Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?” – James 4:4

Do not despair, for “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9

Ask the Spirit today to search your heart and to root up any invasive species. Ask Him to create in you a clean heart today. As the Master Gardener restores His native intentions for your life, you can bear the fruit that shouts out loud: “Christ be magnified!”

When every creature finds its inmost melody
And every human heart its native cry
In one enraptured hymn of praise
We’ll hear “Christ be magnified”
-Cody Carnes


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