They Will Worm Their Way into Your Home

This week I had to pull an entire tomato plant — the “Our Favorite Tomato” variety that I had never grown before and was eager to try — out of the garden completely. In all of the hubbub of life with two toddlers (well a 4 year old who think she’s 13 and a two year old) and a 10 week old in need of pretty constant attention, the garden had gotten away from me. Every time I went to water it (when i remembered that gardens need water), I scowled at the out-of-control nature of the weeds and their progressive attack on my control over what did and did not get to grow in our garden.

In the midst of my all out assault on Father’s Day to re-establish myself as the one who both works and keeps our garden, I realized the culprit behind my young tomato plants untimely death.

The Hornworm Tomato Caterpillar

Caterpillars, or Worms, are like Sin

I spent the afternoon frustrated at the loss, but at the same time was thankful to God for the reminder that these little critters were for my soul. They served as a signpost, a flag in the dessert that is our lack of sleep and busyness these days: we typically see the effects of sin before we can identify the sin itself.

For days I had been noticing the slow turn from vibrant green to pale yellow all over the bush. It’s height had been stunted for what felt like was weeks and then, the stalks and leaves all began to yellow. All that God intended and I hoped for this plant’s providence of summertime sweetness in tomato pies and caprese salads was ransacked by one sneaky enemy — the Tomato Hornworm Caterpillar (i’m not an entomologist, but a quick google search helped).

Disheartened in the garden but with a thankful soul for God’s voice in that moment, I was reminded of Paul’s warning and advice to Timothy regarding the enemies of the gospel of Jesus Christ:

People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God — having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control…
2 Timothy 3:2–6, NIV

Greater is He

Truth is, there will always be enemies of the goodness of God. Worms never cease being worms, and whether it be Hornworm caterpillars or the sin in this world that tries to steal, kill, and destroy, there is good news for the people of God:

John 16:33 — I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
1 John 4:4 — Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
1 John 5:4 — For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.
1 John 5:5 — Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

The enemy is incredibly opportunistic — always looking for weak spots and backdoors — wanting to distract the people of God from the mission of God. But it is the presence of His Spirit that gives us any hope of ridding our lives of sin.

So when you catch a glimpse of sin, the effects of it, or the all out assault that is the temptations of this world and your flesh, remember this:

He who has overcome the world did so that you might live for the world to come.

I pray we deal accordingly with sin by the power of the Holy Spirit and a righteous indignation towards it; and that we forever keep our affections and our gaze on him who gives us more than we need to run this race and far more than any of us deserves.

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