Dandelions. Not so dandy when they’re lying in wait among our yards and gardens.
The first crop has come and gone, but we know they will be back, stronger than ever if left to themselves. They multiply at an alarming rate with quickly broadening leaves and deceivingly long roots which enable surprising revivals of yellow weed cover where we thought they had been conquered. New crops emerge with no effort at all when seeds from nearby ditches and fields float across all imagined boundaries with gloating ease and re-infest, testing the resolve of all committed to their demise. The effort is in their undoing.
Much as brilliant dandelions stand tall above the green of sprawling spring fields and catch our eye, roar with pride at their magnificent colour, and call attention to themselves, even those who bear the name of Christ may be tempted at times to hide the true nature of ego demands for special notice under golden offers of self-promotion and presumptuous notions of indispensable importance. Fed from undisturbed roots of self-centred elevation reaching far into the core of earthly pleasure and praise, a dearth of humility and true humanity set free to love and glorify God nourishes the fleeting song of passing power and produces seeds which blow about in every wind of opportunity to spread influence and gain the ground of personal applause.
Lying pride is the modus-operandi of unchecked human nature, one of those deeply imbedded spiritual weeds which takes over the lush pastures of restorative grace and crowds out a heart of genuine worship unless it is confronted with constant vigilance. Simply lopping off the showy heads of temporary bluster yet leaving the roots from which such pretentiousness musters its golden mane only strengthens its resolve to rise again. We may momentarily sleep the sleep of those who think the war has been won, but we need to let the Spirit dig deep with ruthless honesty to to be freed from its grip … repeatedly.
Otherwise, seeds of divisive dissent will be strewn about by petulant self-aggrandizement.
Persistent conceit will prowl about seeking someone, somewhere to eat and devour and will multiply its craving for a meal unmercifully.
A devoted pride committed to the father of lies and intent on taking prey threatens the wider community with its hidden, hiding hunt for dominance. Intent on taking advantage of those deemed vulnerable to defeat, flowing manes of external intimidation race with proud prowess towards the unsuspecting in its sights to feed an insatiable arrogance of perceived superiority in attempts to dethrone the only One to whom all praise is due, seeking to take you down if you are considered to be in the way.
If you have been placed strategically in the harvest fields of faith to protect yourself and the sheep from the effects of such proud encroachment, you may face an overwhelming task, especially when the piercing eyes of those who guard systemic land grabs of illegitimate ownership or authority are boring down on you, growling disapproval at the ability of God’s word to expose the true colours of every heart.
“But you, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
Praying saints confront this fierce foe in the self or community as the Spirit is invited to tug and pull up roots of vain glory which does not grow from the love of God or produce the fruit of simple gratitude for his goodness, his greatness, his generous provision of every good gift.
“The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled and the pride of men brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.” (Isaiah 2:11)
My husband is the gardener in our family, but I have taken on the task of working to keep our grounds free enough of weeds to let the flowering shrubs and blossoming bulbs show their full beauty; to create sufficient focus on the precious blooms to stir in us a thirsting after the Gardener himself instead of being drawn away to showy weeds which strangle and destroy the true gift.
I’m on year three of trying to eradicate the dandelions around our home for good.
I know … you smile at the naivety of the thought.
There are many who like to remind me that this is a losing battle, but I choose to make it an ongoing project, and slowly, slowly, they are being pushed back.
And slowly, imperceptibly at times, the seeds of ungodly self-love, having been granted declining opportunities to mature under faithful servant leadership, rise with less tenacity to infiltrate inter-relationships wherever we sow the grain of humility; wherever God alone is recognized as the One who gives the increase to his living word; wherever pride is uprooted and cast down.
“Lion of Judah, Jesus the Christ, reign over each one who is your pride and joy. Replace yellow cowardice of unwieldy egocentric control with the courage to practice meekness among fellow sojourners and strangers alike. Uproot destructive false self constructs and draw us all to worship you in spirit and in truth; to feed on your pure love untainted by the weeds of vigilante pride which hide your face from us and lie to us that we can reign supreme.
On servant leaders suffering the effects of proud attack by those who seek to harm or diminish the effectiveness of faithful ministry, pour out the sunshine of your blessing to uphold each blade of willingness ready to point all eyes upwards to you, awash in your love and grateful to be but a backdrop to your glory regardless of alluring lions seeking reward a different way. Amen.”