I do not keep houseplants at home because they tend not to survive. I think I forget to water them or something. But at work I have several plants that I’ve had for over 7 years and that are thriving. Two of them are jades.
A few of months ago I decided to bring one of my jades home to repot it because it was sprouting roots all over and I thought it needed a bigger pot. I went to the nursery and bought some cactus potting soil and a large pot. Once it was transplanted into the new pot I took it back to work. (I didn’t want it to perish at home, after all).
About a week later I noticed a few little bugs flying around my newly repotted jade, but I didn’t do anything about it. The next thing I knew, I had twice as many of these little bugs, which I learned are called fungus gnats. But still I didn’t really do anything about them. I figured they would just go away, I guess.
Then one day one flew around my face and up my nose! That was the last straw. I decided I needed to do something about these stupid fungus gnats that had become almost a swarm around my poor jade.
So I consulted someone I know who knows a little about houseplants. She suggested two methods of getting rid of the gnats. One method was to use potato slices to attract them and then throw away the slices after the gnats laid their eggs on them and before they hatched. The other method was to put a thick layer of sand on top of the soil. I tried the first method, but I didn’t give it much of a try, and so it didn’t work.
Then I went to Home Depot and bought some bug spray for houseplants and covered my plants with it. The next week there were still gnats, so I sprayed on some more bug spray. A few days later, there were still gnats and my repotted jade was starting to lose leaves. I was not happy.
I finally went to Fred Meyer and bought two bags of white sand. I poured a thin layer in each of my plants. It seemed to diminish the number of gnats a bit, but not get rid of them entirely. I had to add sand several times before I had finally reduced the gnat population to only a few. I still check my jade every few days to make sure they haven’t come back. Sometimes I do find a gnat or two hiding in the sand and have to squish it.
Guide my steps by your word, so I will not be overcome by evil. Psalm 119:133 (NLT).
So what, you might be asking, is the point of this story? What is the lesson of the fungus gnats? Well, as I thought about it I realized these pesky little fungus gnats were analogous to many of the problems we face in life and the sins we struggle with.
If we ignore just one little problem or one little sin, before we know it there’s two, and then eight, and then a whole swarm. If we deal swiftly and surely with that first problem or sin, then we can stop a potential infestation. But if we ignore it, and keep ignoring the additional problems or sins, we will soon be dealing with a full-blown infestation.
Once you have a full-blown infestation, you have to select the right method of fighting the infestation and you have to employ that method patiently and consistently. It is possible to eliminate the problem or the sin, but even once it is gone you must be diligent to not let it get a foothold again.
We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.
We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light.
Colossians 1:9-12 (NLT).
Do you have a problem or are you struggling with a sin that has risen to the level of infestation? Seek wise counsel on how to deal with it and then patiently and diligently follow that counsel. The best place to start is in prayer, asking God to give you wisdom about what to do and to lead you to a fellow Christian who can help. And always remember to rely on the strength of our Lord, and the patience and self-control of the Holy Spirit to follow through.