I recently sent my husband to our local co-op to buy some pre-emerge for use in my flowerbeds. Our growing zone seems more conducive to growing weeds than flowers! When he got home, I told him he bought the wrong thing and had instead purchased a product for use on our lawn. He felt bad because he was only trying to help me out. I had to accept some of the blame, though, since I had just asked for pre-emerge but forgot to emphasize that the type I needed was for beds.
To make sure I got what I needed, I went to the co-op myself. While there, the store clerk informed me that pre-emerge does typically refer to a lawn chemical (ok, so my husband was right!). She said that the way it works is by preventing weeds and crabgrass from ever forming since it is a ‘seed-preventer.’ With no seeds present, they can never sprout and grow; hence, lawns or gardens are free of those annoying weeds!
In a way, our hearts could use pre-emerge to stop sin from sprouting. Since the Fall, our hearts inherited a propensity toward sinning. Just as I was so quick to blame my husband, it is also easy to implicate Adam and Eve. I could walk up to them and say, “Thanks a bunch for messing up and dumping your consequences onto us!” Inevitably, if they had not sinned, one of us would have. Each of us needs something to prevent sin from ever occurring.
Regardless of who started it, we now live with sin and its resulting fallout. From birth we are “…shapen in iniquity;” (Psalm: 51:5) A former pastor of ours once said, “You don’t have to teach children how to misbehave, they just automatically do.” Even as Christians, we struggle with sin. Whether we want to or not, we must all daily confront our sin nature. Paul speaks to this in Romans 7:19,
“I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.”
Is there then a pre-emerge against sinning since, even as believers, we still have times where we do? The answer for those apart from Christ will always be ‘no’; however, for true believers, the answer is both ‘no’ and ‘yes’.
Here is why. Sin started when Satan rebelled against God. That sin spread to man through the choices made by Adam and Eve when tempted by the devil to question God. The result is that now all of us, even believers, are under sin’s curse. Sin by Satan was the cause and what emerged was a curse, a death sentence.
If the story stopped here, the answer as to whether there would ever be an antidote to sin would always be ‘no.’ Jesus Christ offers the only hope of a ‘yes.’ By His sinless life, and willing sacrifice on our behalf through death on a cross, He provided the only way to break sin’s curse. Jesus used a beautiful analogy to explain His death, burial and resurrection:
“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” John 12:24
The seed had to die in order for new life to sprout forth from the ground. After three days in the grave, a victorious Christ emerged, fully alive. Sin had lost and death’s curse was forever, “… swallowed up in victory.” ( 1 Corinthians 15:54)
As a result, surrendering to Christ should be that pre-emerge from sin we seek, right? Especially, since we are dwelt by His Spirit. It is true that through the power of Christ in us, we have the capacity to avoid sin, a power that makes us distinct from unbelievers, and should be the visible evidence that we belong to Him. The stark reality, though, is that as humans we still have a sin nature. It keeps emerging in our lives.
For now, sin still sprouts its ugly head. In heaven, though, we will have glorified bodies, free of sin’s curse. God’s original plan was to have unbroken fellowship with us. In our eternal home, God restores it. There, like lilies display majestic splendor, our sinless, resurrected bodies will reveal the magnificence of God’s glory in us.
Very likely, I will continue to struggle with weeds in my garden and sin in my life. On occasion, I may have to send my husband for some pre-emerge to contain the weeds. For my sin problem, I cannot totally thwart sin’s grip while on earth. The only lasting pre-emerge against sin is found through the resurrection power of Christ, which will one day rid us completely from its curse. What will emerge then is God’s intended glory instead!
Do you long for that day as much as I do?