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Breaking branches
Christine Wentzel
by Christine Wentzel
December 2, 2021

There’s a scene in the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation where Aunt Bethany’s cat is gnawing on a string of lights. The cat ends up as a blackened outline forever burned into the Griswold’s carpet. It brings to mind our tendencies to play with the “pretty” things that could eternally burn us.

Let’s look at our pet sins. Really look at the ones so familiar to us that we’re going blind to the fact that we’re chomping away at the branch that gives us true life. We need to pause for a moment to see how close we are to the devil yelling, “Timberrrrr!”

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

No pet sins are too strong to be broken. We feel the strength of their claws dig into us like phantom pain. But their real hold was clamped on to the Lamb of God at the cross. As a result, with our daily repentance, we have the Holy Spirit’s renewal and our Christian community for cultivating God-pleasing lives. 

Dear Jesus, thank you for grafting me into your life-giving vine. Forgive me for growing numb toward the sins I keep. Open my eyes to its true harm. Help shift my desire into actions that bear good fruit in your name. Amen.