The Tomato Worm

It looks like a creature from a sci-fi movie, but it hits people’s gardens unaware every year, eating the foliage off plants in bucket loads. My sister Karen found one recently in her garden. She had seen the damage on the plants, but couldn’t find the beast. Then she spotted it in the cucumbers! The gall! Here’s her description: “It was like a cartoon worm, over 2 inches long and extremely fat, it was bright green with black lines where its ‘sections’ overlapped, ending in a massive head. Hope it isn’t too late for the tomatoes… they seem to be suffering.”

Plants suffer when the tomato worm stays at large. The same can be said about our own spiritual gardens, the kind Jesus plants and tends in us through His Spirit. If we begin to detect outer signs of blight in our lives, it means somewhere a worm is lurking, and it won’t stop gnawing until it’s devoured the whole plant. Here are a few common signs that the bright green carnivore could be hitting your spiritual patch.

Resentment-holding onto ours, or another’s debt that Jesus already paid.
Critical Spirit-casting judgment without any redeeming value.
Envy-discontentment with God’s design, or what He’s provided.
Preoccupation with our short-comings-seeing our weakness as liability, rather than God’s ability.
Sensitive to the correction of others-pride.

Each of us battles the worm, some days successfully, other days to a draw, and still others in silent defeat. The point is not to ignore the worm, or get preoccupied by it, but to tend the garden. Even a ten minute focused interaction with God can bring into stark relief where you might be vulnerable to the little green monster’s nibbling ways.

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