I Hate Holly

No plant on God’s green earth is more stubborn and troublesome than holly.

Yeah, Yeah, I know. It symbolizes Christmas and Christ. The red berry represents His blood shed for our sins, and thorny leaves represent the crown of thorns He wore as they crucified Him on the cross. I get it. I can admire a beautiful holly wreath–in someone else’s  home or hanging on their front door. But I have absolutely no tolerance for holly as landscaping. In fact, if I had my way, they would ban holly.

Have you ever tried to dig up a holly bush? The roots run deep and snarly. We had eight beautiful, well-kept holly bushes across the front of our house. We decided to replace the holly bushes with flower gardens and plants. So I had to dig up all eight holly bushes. Have you ever seen the root ball on one of those creatures? Long story short–I had to ask a friend of mine who had a truck with a wench. After I dug down to the root ball, we hooked her wench around the root close to the ground. Over a two-day period the truck and wench pulled each holly bush out of the ground.

Of course our front yard became a quagmire with four-wheel tire tracks. Replacing the mud with grass became another project.

Late that summer the holly bushes and their memory disappeared and we had a nice garden planted across our front yard.

For many of us our sins run as deep as those gnarly holly bush roots.  And what do we do? We try to conquer our sins ourselves. We believe we can get in there and dig them out if we pray more and read the Bible more and attend more seminars and read more books. Eventually, we tell ourselves, we’ll have victory over our sins.

Charles G. Trumbull calls that victory counterfeit.  In his book, Victory in Christ Trumbull says, “any victory over the power of any sin whatsoever in your life that you have to get by working for is counterfeit. Any victory that you have to get by trying for it is counterfeit. If you have to work for your victory, it is not the real thing that God offers you…as long as you try to live the victorious life, you won’t live it.” ¹

The harder we “try” to conquer our sin, the more frustrated we will become. Simply because we can not conquer our sin. We can’t be victorious. We don’t have what it takes.

But Jesus does. Paul  tells us how: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:20. Until we realize we can’t become victorious over our sins on our own, until we realize that Jesus is the only one who can give us victory over our sins, we will continue to struggle. We’ll continue life in bondage to our sins.

I was struggling with deep, nasty holly bushes and roots. I could not get rid of them until I realized I had to rely on someone else to do it for me. Jesus can give you victory over the roots of sin in your life when you realize you can’t do it, but He can.

Are you struggling with sins in your life? Do you know that Jesus is the only one who can remove those roots of sin and give you freedom from sin and death? If you’d like to know more about Jesus and entering into a personal relationship with God, Follow this link.

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¹ Victory in Christ, by Charles G. Trumbull, © 1959, CLC Publishing, Fort Washington, Pa., pg. 34-35.

This entry was posted in God and tagged , , , , , , , by Steven Sawyer. Bookmark the permalink.

About Steven Sawyer

God blessed me with the gift of writing. Mom told me I wrote paragraphs in second grade when others were learning to write sentences. I spent more than three decades in professional writing gigs. For the past eight years I've combined my passion for writing with my love for the Lord. He and I write a Christ-centered, family-friendly blog to glorify God Monday-thru Friday at https://stevensawyer.wordpress.com/. My wife and I have four grown children and two precious granddaughters we co-parent with their mom. I'm a Galatians 2:20 disciple of Christ seeking to allow Christ to live His life in me, through me, and as me.

16 thoughts on “I Hate Holly

  1. Bless you Steve, for your usual masterful analogies between common problems in our external lives (the unbelievable stubborness of holly bush roots!) and our eternal, spiritual lives. Indeed, we MUST seek His strength to root about our “bad stuff”! Praise Be.


    • Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. I absolutely love when God gives me unusual analogies to use to spread the Gospel message. Thanks again.


  2. Amen!!! This is a great post. So much truth here! If we want freedom from from what troubles us, it will not be found in ourselves, but in Christ who has won the victory!


  3. I’ll call your holly, and raise you – 2 acres of prickly pear cactus and thistle (the national flower of Scotland). You are right! When the root of sin runs deep, you can get rid of what is on the surface, but you will keep getting sprouts. Until Jesus (the Master Gardener) comes in and removes the ‘root of the problem’. Thank you Steven, for your insight. May God continue to bless you.


    • Thank you, Susan.
      You win.
      Prickly Pear Cactus beats holly shrubs any time. Thistles, whistles, guided missiles anything beats holly shrubs. :>)
      I so much appreciate your support and great comments.


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