But It Is So Beautiful!
I have been walking by this every morning on my way to the office: a Silybum Marianum, otherwise known as a Milk Thistle! (No, I did not intrinsically know this - I had to look it up!) It is now about three feet tall, and has pretty violet colored flowers and a lush green stalk and leaves. It is thriving! It is also deceptive!
You see, in a couple of weeks, this plant will do two things: 1) It will turn ugly green/brown from the summer heat and such, and 2) it will go to seed, scattering its seeds throughout the flower bed and thus taking it over. It will choke out the life of anything else that is planted in the beds along with it. If all I do is focus on how beautiful it looks now, and don't root it out, I am going to pay for it later.
Jesus said something similar in Matthew 13 in The Parable of the Four Soils. In verse 3 & 7, we read:
"A farmer went out to sow his seed...Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked out the plants."
In verse 22, Jesus explains that the see which falls among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth (But it looks so beautiful!) choke it, making it unfruitful. In other words, if we fix our eyes on the thorns, we are going to suffocate and we will struggle all the more.
So what is the remedy? First, we need to remember the one who sows the weeds in our lives in the devil (see Matt. 13:37ff). Second, we need to draw near to God, and He will draw near to us, empowering us to resist the devil, and the devil WILL flee from us! If we continue to set our minds on God's things and not ours, we will be renewed and revived. If we focus on the worldly things, we will be gasping for air!
Are you in the Word of God regularly? Is it what guides your thoughts and actions? Do you ask God to fill your heart and mind with His Holy Spirit who lives in you if you are a Christian? That is where real beauty will be found. And then we can see the world around us with sober minds and clear eyes - and breath a lot easier!