Dealing with invasive tree-kinds!

*** This article is part of a blog series about what it means to live with Christ as our source. You can check out the Introduction to the series here. ***

We are designed to be soil that gives rise to crop. Depending on what seeds are sown on the soil of our hearts, that will be what grows within us and what eventually produces fruit and multiplies. The Lord speaks about this in Matthew 13 when he tells the parable of the sower. Although the Lord sows the seeds of the Kingdom of Heaven, sadly, there are others who sow the seeds of a different Kingdom.

Interestingly, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is not a “bad” tree. It was made by God and therefore carries no deformity or evil in and of itself. It is supernatural tree so to speak, but not an “evil” tree baring “bad” fruit. The fruit, as Genesis explains, was “pleasing to look at.” It was a “good” tree. The problem was not the tree, it was the heart of man. Here is an example: Inherently a car is good, but if given to a 12 year old to drive, well, then the results would not be so good, would they? Why? Because a 12 year old is not designed to drive a car.

And so too with the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Satan new that we were not designed to have the knowledge of good and evil. That if we did, it would corrupt us. And so, what did he do. He pointed us in the direction of that car, and said, “of course you can drive it, your dad is just being over-protective. In fact, here are the keys, go for it.” And today we are still recovering from the crash…

So what does this mean? Well, it means that there are ultimately two kinds of trees and therefore two kinds of seeds. And each has the ability to take root and grow within us. Now, Christ, well, he sows the seeds of the Tree of Life which the soil of our hearts are designed to house and grow. But Satan, well, He sows the seeds of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. These seeds, although not inherently bad, are actually bad for us. Our lives and the soil of our hearts are not designed to germinate and grow these seeds. And if planted within us, can and does have disastrous effects on the indigenous ecosystems of our lives.

There is a very appropriate example of this in nature: Alien Vegetation.

Although many countries in the world have the problem of alien vegetation invading and destroying the natural indigenous ecosystems, South Africa is especially effected.

New trees were introduced in South Africa as early as the middle of the 17th century when Jan van Reibeeck established a small trading colony for the Dutch East India company (or VOC) in Cape Town. These new tree species were bought from Eaurope via ship and introduced for a range of purposes including timber, tannins, oils, firewood, ornamentals, stabalizing sand dunes, windbreak barriers, hedges, soil conservation, and shade. (1)

About 750 tree species and around 8 000 shrubby, succulent and herbaceous species are recorded as having been introduced into South Africa. Of these 8 750 species, 161 are now regarded as invasive.

And the invasive plants have created a huge problem, adversely affecting much of the natural indigenous ecosystem. Because they have no natural enemies, they out-compete indigenous species. They spread at alarming rates, impede the growth of natural vegetation, and destabilize the ecological balance by increasing the intensity of wildfires and soil erosion. In many areas, thickets of alien plants have converted valuable agricultural land into unproductive wasteland. (2)

And this is exactly what the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil does to us. It invades! It grows at an alarming rate, impedes the growth of the Tree of Life, and destabilizes the ecological balance of our lives by increasing the intensity of sin and the errosion of the soil of our hearts, ultimately converting the valuable land of our lives into an unproductive wasteland. And although, like with the alien trees that grow wonderfully in their natural habitats, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil grows excellently in its natural habitat, it is indeed, very bad for us.

So what do we do if we are filled with invasive alien vegetation?

Well, fortunately Jesus gave the answer in a subsequent parable called the parable of the weeds, also in Matthew 13. Here it is:

“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'”

When the harvest time comes and noticeably invasive ways within you are fully grown, allow the Lord to remove these alien plants, gather them together, and burn them. Let him cleanse you from that which would destroy you, continue to produce seeds and multiply its kind in your field and in those around you. For he is jealous of the crop he has sown in you and will do whatever a good farmer would do to ensure that the harvest you produce is good and pure.

As for the natural example of alien vegetation destroying the South African ecosystem, this is what one conservation website had to say: ROOIKRAANS WOOD is said to be the best braai and firewood in South Africa! So let’s get the fires started and use an invasive wood type when lighting up your BioFire fireplace!

Needless to say that we should keep with the Lord’s desires by donating all our invasive tree-kinds for His fire place this winter! 😉





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