I took the recent holiday weekend to start clearing our new (to us) property where we have recently moved. It’s not a big place, one acre, but a part of it is really grown over with small trees, vines, brambles, etc.

Since there isn’t that much area to clear, I decided not to wear my more “heavy duty” work clothes and instead opted for short-sleeve shirt, shorts and tennis shoes. I also left the bigger, gas-powered chainsaw in the shed and grabbed the battery-operated one instead.

I quickly discovered that I was very ill-prepared for the task ahead of me! As soon as I started, I encountered the gnarliest stuff I’ve ever dealt with in clearing brush (and I’ve cleared a LOT of brush in my life). I couldn’t help but think of a lesson…

What I encountered was Allegheny Blackberry. There were vines and vines of it everywhere. At first, I was so excited when I found all this blackberry growing on our property (dreams of cobbler!).

I then discovered the thorns that grow all over these vines. They have very fine tips and seemed to me to be more angled than rose or greenbrier, so they really grab you—and hurt! I kept pulling the vines off of me as they lodged into my shirt and skin. Not fun.

Later that evening I learned of another downside to these blackberry vines when my legs started itching—chiggers! Apparently they love these vines as much as I had grown to dislike them.

This whole encounter made me think of sin. The fruit of sin is alluring and deceptively appears to be a sweet treat to satisfy a longing or satiate a curiosity.

Many times we think the “small” sins won’t hurt us or others. We approach them unprepared, shoddily clothed in thoughts of our own righteousness or goodness rather than the full armor of God. We often think “small” sins couldn’t do much damage so we proceed haphazardly. But we soon find we are entangled and torn up by sin, no matter its “size.”

Paul instructs us in Rom. 6:23, “The wages of sin is death.” And like the chiggers, we discover sin has lingering consequences unforeseen to us at the moment. Be on your guard, not just for the “big” sins, but the “small” ones as well.

The fruit of all sin is deadly, dangerous, and destructive. “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8).