Fatal Distractions: It Comes From Where?


Despite the mandate to Adam, I never have been very good at subduing the earth. My hopeful green thumb turns black faster than Texas grass frays into straw. It always has. But gardening is something I want to get better at, mainly because it’s not something I do well naturally and the scheduling of it reminds me of really simple, necessary lessons like perseverance, patience and faithfulness, among others.

So a couple weeks ago I found myself outside doing yard work in triple digits, feeling pretty proud of myself and my considerate heart. <–Ouch.


I’m not currently in school; but I don’t need a Sin 101 class to tell me that was prideful muck. That bacteria-of-an-attitude has an incessantly nasty habit of vetoing any profitable thing with one’s own selfishness. Ironically enough, I was weeding at that point.

Even more ironically: I wasn’t getting anywhere with it.



      sporadic and


            little weed


                                                                        resisting, and

            breaking without

bringing up any roots. 

But since this was a raised flowerbed, all it took was moving one of the bricks to find a strong roots system three and four strands thick.

“And He [Jesus] was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, this is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” (Mark 7:20-23)

There is quite the list in the middle of that passage. Read over them again and think about some that have been or is a temptation in your life. Remember, also, the depth of Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7); those sins are not just referring to the behavior. They also indicate heart motivation (e.g. murder can be done with a poisonous and cruel tongue).

Now, how does it make you feel to know that “All these evil things [evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting, deeds of wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness] proceed from within and defile the man?” How many of those evil things come from the human heart? Are there any left to blame on someone else?


Does anyone else feel helpless? Dirty? Weak?

Some of you may be feeling shocked, disbelieving. How can that be?

As much as we may want to, though “inspirational books” tell otherwise, there is no quick and easy fix for our lives.

Back to the garden. My muscles began speaking unkind things to me as I bent over, pulling and pulling at that dreadful weed that those in Texas call “Dallas grass.” Unlike a taproot system, like a carrot – where the root goes deep with a singular purpose, this weed has a fibrous root system. That root system is shallow, and burrows in every direction, desperately grasping for anything and everything to hold onto.

The real power in Dallas grass, however, is that it is all connected underground with a long, strong, singular and interconnected strand of grass, about as thick as an appliance electrical cord.

I thought about sin as I continued yanking, intermittently realizing that sweat was no longer the result of any exertion, but a steady and present companion for this heat. “It’s all connected,” I thought. “It all comes from the heart. Just look at these poor little yellow flowers!

“It’s not that they aren’t being watered.

“It’s not that we don’t sometimes try to do the right things, or even faithfully do the right things…


“But no matter how deep the water goes into this ground, it is stolen by the wrong plant.” The water is distracted and attracted to the wrong place.

“That which proceeds out of the man, this is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men proceed the evil thoughts”

Take some time to pray and/or journal through this passage. Mark is the shortest gospel, hurried constantly with the keyword “immediately,” showing urgency, connection and the need for response. Ask the Lord to reveal your heart to you. He looks at it all the time, knows the number of hairs on your head, and the Father loves to give good gifts to His children. He knows how to get to the root. Set aside your own understanding today and go to Him.



Fatal Distractions

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