What I Learned Clearing a Fence Row May 23, 2017


Over the last few months we have been clearing a fence row around our new home. The underbrush was thick and the work was slow going. Thanks to my dad’s tractor and my father-in-law’s chain saw some progress has been made, but the work continues!

One afternoon, covered in brush and perspiration, the truth of it all came home to my heart. Jesus loved to teach in the outdoors. And He used whatever was at hand as an object lesson.

He still does.

The physical often reflects a deeper spiritual reality. As I stood looking at the thorns and briers, the Holy Spirit said, “This is your heart. It gets overgrown with the underbrush of life, the debris of this world, and it has to get cleared.”

Would you allow me to share a few reflections from what I learned?

  1. It takes work. There is no way around it. There is no quick fix, no short cut. Confession and forgiveness is immediate. Sanctification is a process. It will not happen in a day. Rather, day by day, more debris must be removed. It takes work to have a clean heart and mind. It is the work of grace in us and a work of gratitude from us. He works. We work. It takes work.
  2. You cannot do it alone. I needed all of the power tools and volunteer help I could find in my project! As you seek to clear your life of entanglements, remember that you cannot do it alone. You need the power of the Holy Spirit. You need the resource of the Word of God. And, yes, you will need the assistance of others who have cleared their own paths before.
  3. The more you remove the more you see that needs to be removed. Sometimes it is downright discouraging! The tree falls, the vine is severed, the thorns are ripped up…only to discover more trees, vines, and thorns that need to be cleared! That is the way with life. The closer we get to God, the more sin is dealt with, the greater our awareness of our wickedness. Hudson Taylor once wrote, “I never knew how bad a heart I had.” You are not alone. Keep clearing.
  4. The process can be painful. The scars of such work are real. I got a very bad case of poison ivy from my brush clearing adventure – and a steroid shot to go with it! Progress has a price. Don’t let that deter you…
  5. When the debris is gone there is a beauty that otherwise would never be seen. As soon as the underbrush was removed my wife and I noticed the most beautiful section of ground in the tree line that we never knew existed. The rocks and ferns had all been covered by the thorns. Remove the effects of the curse and the blessing will be revealed. Christ’s beauty only shines where ugly self is put to death.

My project goes on, in more ways than one. The tree line is not yet done, and neither is my heart. I am reminded of the words of the children’s song, “He’s still working on me, to make me what I ought to be!” That is a reality for every stage of life.

Keep clearing the underbrush, my friend. Only then will the beauty of Christ be seen.

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  1. Douglas Kirk on May 23, 2017 at 10:33 AM

    He’s still working on me!
    Praise the Lord!
    In a sermon by David Gibbs jr.he said we MUST get clean not cleaner ( CLEAN )
    Praying for your Ministry

    • Scott Pauley on May 23, 2017 at 10:41 AM

      Amen. Thanks for taking time to read and comment. God bless you!

  2. Bob Ratliff on May 28, 2017 at 3:25 PM

    Thanks for sharing, this really spoke to my heart today. Just what God wanted me to hear from Him.

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