Have you ever heard of kudzu? It’s an invasive plant species native to Asia and innocently brought to the United States to control soil erosion. However, the plant has been rapidly spreading throughout the southern United States and has earned the nickname, “The vine that ate the South.” According to the US Forest Service, “its introduction has produced devastating environmental consequences” and kudzu’s “growth is outpacing the use of herbicide spraying and mowing.”
Something as simple as a small vine, innocently introduced into a soil that allows it to thrive, may wipe out other plants in the South. Sometimes our spiritual lives feel like we’ve been “hit” by kudzu, threatening to wipe out all the positive influence we have as well as killing our witness. Ever feel like that? Perhaps it’s an innocent negative thought or an action you might have given into once, or a small habit, or convincing lie. To those on the outside, all seems well, but you feel it nagging at your soul. You feel smothered and isolated and all alone. No one else senses the danger, but deep inside you know. Something is out of control in your life. You want to repress it. You pray and you talk to people about your feelings, but still that invasive thought, habit, word, or deed bounces back into your heart. What do you do?
You introduce natural adversaries to the places kudzu grows. You introduce more God-focused thoughts onto your spiritual kudzu’s path. You change the external environment so that you can change what happens on the inside! The natural enemies of kudzu are sheep and goats, as well as some specific species of beetles and fungi. The natural enemies of spiritual kudzu are Bible Study, prayer, and focusing on God’s will, not our own fears. Putting God first can combat the negative thoughts which are barriers to your positive spiritual growth. Focusing on Bible Study, prayer, and God’s will in your life, will enable change to occur in the delicate eco-system of your soul. YOU will be in charge of the change that happens because you will be relying on God’s power and presence and not your own pride and past experiences.
What are the “kudzu” issues in your spiritual journey? What changes would you like to see? What are you doing to prevent the negative influences in your life? What is your ultimate spiritual goal? Meditate on God’s Word and pray the Scriptures in order to get the answers you need. Amen.
Rev. Bev Hall, pastor of Pleasant Hills United Methodist Church, Middleburg Heights, OH