ficusHave you ever thought of plants as killers? I mean, really now. Have you thought to yourself I should be careful, this plant could kill me. Yeah, me either. It’s like tilting your head at a weed with a couple of guns in each leaf screaming mwah-ha-ha. It just doesn’t calculate outside twisted children’s stories and the nightmares of a pothead.. That is, I’d thought this until my boss came back today and told me about the Ficus Plant. More accurately, he told me about this Strangler Fig; beautiful & deadly. And like all good stories I couldn’t help but consider the very creepy and sobering parable of this plant. {And after being a church kid for a while, I see sermon outlines in everything.}

The nature of this plant is to start small as a sticky seed, usually germinating itself by the travelling birds, landing and beginning its’ growth in the crevasses of a trees’ roots. Now take note these trees stand tall, and wide. My boss was saying he could easily carve a hole through the tree and walk through it comfortably.

I’m sure you’ve heard this, but in tropical forests where it is typically damp and dark, plants should be nearly seen as competing intensely for light. Competing intensely for the light at the canopy of the Original Tree… And even in this darkness they learn to stand tall, firmly rooted as they grow towards the sun. But I get ahead of myself, look at this.

The Ficus plant grows over the course of one hundred to one hundred fifty years by basically veining itself up the trees trunk and grafting itself as a look-alike tree. Anchoring in at the top of the tree it then slowly saunters back down the entirety of the tree like grown snakes. It coils and wraps itself around the tree tightly, suffocating what people now call the Host or Support Tree. By the end of this process, this quiet little saunter makes a columnar tree entirely hollow, and acts itself as a tree its own. Since it is now grafted and grown to a tree all its own, it becomes a breeding site and source of food for bats, among other animals…

I’d wondered to myself as those beautiful, deadly vines  begin to creep up on me- how strong could I be? I seemed to stand tall, to stand strong. I read His words and try to put them into practise each day. Am I really ready to battle though? That wily tempter is quiet, slow, and steady in his movements. Starts with a thought, growing slowly into my fall… Besides, I KNOW the enemy is smaller than me by the power of my King; how much attention should I pay to him and his schemes? And he’s been coming after me, but he just seemed too small to cause damage, harm, let alone kill me. Looking for the crevasses’ or cracks in my life, I begin to see him germinate the very foundation of me. I allow him to creep into the very foundation of me.

And you know where this is going. This story of the enemy and his slow, sauntering movements in order to steal, kill, hollow out and destroy. He’s the very reason we have potential to live a life that feels more like death. His ability to wrap around us tight and make us suffer hollows out our hope and heart until we become more like him and less like Christ. We become the support and host tree of the one who came not to support us, but to destroy us. I’d become confused thinking the enemy looked more like a weed with a couple of guns rather than a silly little seed making way through my roots. As though I’d forgotten my Lord told me through His always fresh word that “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds”{2.Cor.11.13-15}. Masquerading around like a graphed in tree of light. Like a plant instead of a weed. Deceiting the masses that this is just who I am… he is a silent little killer.

Well. I don’t know about you, but I immediately googled the for the answer “How do you kill a strangler fig?”. Cause well, I’m ready and unafraid. Unafraid because I choose to live my life aware of him and his plots.

The only real answer google gave was this: Burn It. Seems relevant.

Team, there is no other way. You must understand the depths of attack the enemy has on your life. Not only will he take over your life, but he will make a home of you for his team of demons! An attack will be anything that negatively affects the growth of you as a person. It is the opposite of Christs’ loving conviction; it is a dirty pool of guilt {or strangler figs} that surrounds and destroy you. It is certainly not a time to underestimate the battle for your life, or get lazy in your fight.

When you understand the crazy things the enemy can do, you account for how little he is by the power of Christ! You remember he is a sticky little seed, and the authority we have been given through the death and resurrection of Christ allows you to fight like an overcomer {because you are an overcomer}. And you, being human and capable of moving your feet and kicking him out of your space; kick the crap out of him, and stand strong. You, being human can find the protection that you need, rather than stand strong and entirely helpless just like those Host trees. To think that these massive trees can’t fight back… I guess that’s like me and you fighting the enemy without truly including Christ. Strength all our own is still weakness to our enemy. He only knows strength by the power of those nail scarred hands. The very same hands he holds ours with as we conquer death and destruction set out by the enemy.

I’ve been letting the enemy creep into the crevasses… it’s easy to talk of how we know we’re supposed to respond and know when battles are beginning. It’s easy enough to just shrug them away, and pretend you aren’t hearing what you know you should be paying attention to… but enough is enough. Wouldn’t you say? I’m praying you’ll ask God for discernment about the crevasses of your life. That you too would kick the crap out of them and burn them out of your life. You need to take those lies and threats and attacks of the enemy and you need to burn them right up before they consume you.

If not, you’re only guarantee is this: the enemy will steal your light which breathes life, leaving you for nothing but dark, damp, deathly hollow living. Hosting the enemy, and feeding his team. What I need you to get is this; the enemy, my friend, is entirely real and his attacks are entirely a threat.

More so however, know you are surrounded by the roots of your king Jesus Christ, and through Him no darkness will prevail. You, my friend are stronger than the might of those big ‘ol trees when you find your strength in Him. You were meant for canopies of light & even if your roots are placed in the darkest of places, the enemy can’t ever just let himself in.

Ephesians 6:10-18- Armor of God