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Facing the fuchsia bannerFacing the fuchsia...

Stephen Morris engages in spiritual warfare - in the back garden

I may have been a Christian for more than 40 years, but it’s only recently that I’ve succumbed to gardening. So it was only a matter of time before, like so many other people, I turned my attention to drawing spiritual parallels from gardening.

If you’re expecting some nice little homily about how God speaks through his creation when you’re out in the garden, you might like to look elsewhere. I wax lyrical about God’s creation when I’m out in the country or watching birds. Gardening is another matter, and what has got me going this time is declaring war on that most demonic of all plants, the fuchsia. 

I confess to being a bit of a Facebook addict (other social media sites are available) and a few months ago I mentioned my fuchsia war on Facebook. One person pointed out, quite correctly, that it was no good hacking the wretched stuff back, you have to dig out the roots. In fact I’d spent hours hacking it back to get anywhere near the roots. But another person was very defensive of the sweet little fuchsia, and wondered why on earth I’d want to get rid of it.

That’s the thing with fuchsia. You can’t deny, it has pretty little pinky-red flowers that hang there all innocent like and flutter prettily in the gentle breeze. Who could fail to be enchanted by such a sweet little thing? Once you’ve succumbed to that temptation you are well and truly sunk. It grows like billy-o. It puts down big, tough roots that run for miles underground. They’re quite capable of bashing their way through solid concrete (ours have). The exteriors may be all very sweet and pretty, with that ‘ah’ factor: but make no mistake. Fuchsias are intent on world domination.

I noticed it at first in the front garden. These sweet little flowers soon eradicated the front path. Royal Mail lost one of its postmen for three weeks in it. In the back garden, fuchsia is just taking over everything. Hacking it back only encourages it, and digging the roots out is the only way to prevent your garden vanishing for ever under mounds and mounds of pretty little pink flowers. Digging the roots out involves using a full-size excavator or a small nuclear device at the very least; I was quite convinced I would end up following the root system all the way to Finsbury Park, and Crossrail 2 could be opened several years early. As it is, much of our garden now looks like the Somme, and I’ve hardly started.

Beware Satan’s little trick of waving something lovely at you and luring you into something far worse. Don’t be lured into that little white lie that leads you into a total web of deception from which there’s no escape. Step away from lust before you’ve found you’ve sacrificed everything that’s of value to you for the sake of a few minutes’ carnal pleasure. Whatever it is, don’t be fooled. Be, as Jesus says in Matthew 10, ‘as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves’.

If you do fall for the devil’s tricks, remember it’s no good just dealing with what you can see on the surface. You need to get right to the root of the matter, to deal with it in a way that ensures it can’t take over your life: be ruthless about digging it out and it can’t spring back to life and continue to haunt you. As Hebrews 12:1-3 says:

‘… let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.’

If you want a graphic representation of ‘the sin that so easily entangles’, have a good look at fuchsia that’s grown out of hand: you’ll quickly see how something that at first glance is sweet, innocent and attractive is sometimes anything but.