Spiritual Lessons from an Unwanted Plant

Here in the mountains of Colorado we have a plant that, in my opinion, is an annoyance at best.  It is called Yucca. There are many variety of yucca, and while I have a personal bias against them, they can be beneficial and pretty in the opinions of some, so please don’t get bent out of shape for my disparaging one of God’s creations.  But much like the sound of its name, I think Yucca are rather yucky.

As I have attempted to eradicate this plant from my yard, I’ve learned a few things. Guess what? There are spiritual principles to be applied.  (Please note that these observations are based on my experience with the type of yucca that grows here and should not be used for any school research project requiring horticultural accuracy or understanding.)

The root of the matter

Until you start digging, you won’t know it, but a yucca root system is rather extensive.  Unlike most plants that have roots coming up to a single stem, a yucca has roots that sprout plants all over the place.  If you see a yucca plant in one part of my yard and another one in another area, chances are that they are connected. This is similar to scrub oak and aspen trees.  

The life of a plant is in its roots.  The roots provide the means of nourishment for what is above the surface.  Roots can live, at least for a time, without a plant above the ground, but a plant cannot live without roots.  

Addressing the root

Every time a yucca plant pops up in my yard I can pull it up.  The problem with this approach is that the root system is growing and the plants will begin to appear more often and in a wider area if I don’t pull up all of the roots.  

When we work with individuals for inner healing, we look for the root of the issues being presented.  Take for example someone struggling with anger. They get upset at lots of things that don’t seem that big of a deal, and they will generally admit that the “cause” of the outburst really wasn’t enough to justify their response.  The person has two ways to address the issue: learn techniques to control the anger or dig down until the root is found and removed. Management of anger, or any other issue, will seem to work for a time. But as long as the root is still growing, the anger will appear more often and in more areas of our life.

Digging for roots

We need to dig for the roots if we want lasting freedom from the issue.  I’ve dug and dug through my yard pulling up yucca roots. The areas where I’ve been successful in finding the central root system and pulling it out don’t have new plants reappearing.  There are other areas of the yard that I obviously need to do some more digging.

In our spiritual life, we will often have repeating patterns of behavior.  It is true that when we accept Christ as Lord and Savior, we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).  However, behaviors don’t always instantly change. And many times we experience hurts after salvation that, if left unresolved, will reinforce unhealthy behaviors.

If you have a recurring issue that you’ve unsuccessfully tried to manage, I suggest that you ask the Lord to show you the root cause.  You may need the help of a strong Christian friend in the process, and you will definitely need the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

There’s a point

On the end of each stem or leaf of a yucca plant is a rather sharp point.  When walking by yucca, it is easy to get poked in the leg. At first it may seem like not much, but for me, the poke generally results in irritation and a welt.  There are things in our life that we have allowed to grow, which while seeming harmless, can cause irritation.

From a distance, we’re fine with it there, but when you get too close, the irritation comes.  Think about things that bother you. Maybe it is people being late for a meeting. I’ve found that some people just don’t know how to be on time, and others think that they are more important so it’s okay to have people wait for them.  Either way, when the inconvenience comes, how do we respond?

When things that are seemingly insignificant get us riled up, we should look to see what is the real point of our response.  We may have a wound from years ago or recently that hasn’t healed. If so, very likely there is a root of unforgiveness that has sprouted a plant that pokes us each time a similar situation arises.

Forgive and release yourself

Forgiveness is a key component of healing.  We are instructed in Scripture to forgive as we have been forgiven (Matthew 6:12, Colossians 3:13).  Through Jesus Christ, we have complete forgiveness from God. When we hold onto unforgiveness we are really holding ourselves in bondage to the hurt.  

Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling.  We can choose to forgive even when we don’t feel like doing so.  It is also a process. Rarely do we simply say “I forgive you” and are done, especially with deeper hurts.  But through the help of the Holy Spirit, we are able to release the offender from our right to hold the hurt against them and in so doing, freeing ourselves from that hurt.

For more information on forgiveness request a free copy of the chapter from our book Behind Enemy Lines: A Discipleship Course in Spiritual Warfare.

Renew your mind

When the thorns of life poke us, we need the healing of the Holy Spirit.  The renewal of our minds is available through Christ, and we are instructed to put on the mind of Christ (Ephesians 4:20-24).  

The renewal of our minds is important in all areas of our life.  It’s common, but not healthy, for the church to adopt the thought patterns of the culture around us.  For example, is how we think about money, or relationships, or what we watch in alignment with Scripture?  Do we saturate our days with negative images and thoughts, or with God thoughts? We need to examine our every thought process and compare it to the teachings of Scripture.  If we are out of alignment with God’s way of thinking then we need to make the necessary changes. This is a key to having the mind of Christ (Romans 12:2).

Good roots

The reason that you see aspen trees in groves is that they share a common root system.  Aspen are beautiful trees and many people will visit the Colorado mountains in late September to see the vibrant colors of the aspen leaves changing.  Aspen also make good firewood for heating homes in the winter.

We want to be sure that our life has healthy roots that will sprout beneficial fruit for us and others.  When we nurture roots of faith in Jesus Christ with Scripture and prayer, we will produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23).

As you think about yucky yucca, examine the roots and points of your life.  Are there things that you have allowed to grow that need to be eradicated? Don’t let the prickly pokes of the world get under your skin.  Develop the healthy roots of God so that you can experience growth and strength in His authority to bear good fruits.

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