Last week, hundreds of thousands of tumbleweeds blew into Clovis, N.M., but didn’t blow back out. This small town was buried under an avalanche of tumbleweeds. Residents had to call 911 for help getting out of their homes. The problem was so big, the National Guard was called in to help battle the tumbleweed invasion. (If you haven’t seen this, click here and prepare to be astonished.)
Having spent several years in Texas, I know a little about these pesky plants. A tumbleweed is an unattractive, troublesome bush that rolls around, having snapped loose from its roots. It’s simply tossed about by the wind.
Paul referred to believers that behave like tumbleweeds in Ephesians 4:14 when he said, “We henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (KJV).
I continually meet believers who are "tossed about to and fro," and that concerns me because so often these dear people end up spiritually shipwrecked. Let me share with you a few thoughts about "tumbleweed believers."
1. Tumbleweed believers have not allowed their roots to sink deep into the truth.
There is nothing on Planet Earth that gets blown around more than a tumbleweed. Just a little wind, and off it goes. But these pesky plants don’t start out this way. When growing, a tumbleweed is firmly planted in the soil. But at the end of its growth season, it breaks loose, never to be planted again.
Spiritually speaking, this is what happens to many believers. They encounter a difficult test or trial, and suddenly they stop growing. My friend, you should never stop growing in the Lord! If you do, it’s just a matter of time before you begin to tumble in your Christian walk.
The reason Paul was so adamant that believers be established in the truth is because false doctrine was sweeping through the church, causing many to fall away. It’s no different today. False doctrine will blow you off course and leave you hundreds of miles from where you want to be spiritually. Becoming firmly grounded in God’s Word is one of the primary ways to ensure that you stay on course and remain spiritually strong and healthy.
2. Tumbleweed believers begin to roam when confronted.
Over the years, I have seen people who refuse to deal with their sin. In fact, a lot of pastors are afraid to talk about sin from their pulpits. Some even refuse to use the word. Why? Because people will pack up their marbles and leave if confronted.
My friend, we need to speak about backsliding and the devastating consequences of sin. These things will destroy you. However, those who don’t want to hear the truth will get offended, and off they go like a tumbleweed.
3. Tumbleweed believers blown by the wind are helpless to decide their own route.
Tumbleweed believers can’t decide where to go. They are in and out, this way then that way, totally at the mercy of the wind. They go whichever way it happens to be blowing today.
Believers who find themselves at a loss of direction need only look back to where they disconnected themselves from the kingdom.
Are you spending time in His Word? This is important to keep you rooted in His truth! His word is a “lamp unto [your] feet, and a light unto [your] path” (Ps. 119:105).
Are you listening to the Holy Spirit? God sent the Spirit to teach, comfort and correct us. You should welcome His activity in your life and not run from it, for when He has come into your life, “he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13).
Are you connected to a body of believers? So many are in the habit of forsaking the assembly of the saints. They say, “I don’t need the church to make it to heaven.” But friend, you need the church to make it here on earth.
This is precisely what Paul is saying in Ephesians 4. Christ gave us the church and the fivefold ministry gifts “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man” (Eph. 4:12-13, NKJV).
Feeling tossed around in the world? Get reconnected to His Word, the Spirit, and the body.
4. Tumbleweed believers spread their unwanted seeds at random.
One of the reasons farmers hate tumbleweeds is because each one has about 250,000 seeds that can grow in a wide range of temperatures. Imagine that. As a tumbleweed blows across the land, it scatters a quarter of a million seeds that potentially become tumbleweeds. So all year long, farmers have to put up with this nuisance.
How many tumbleweed believers do you suppose we have in America, rolling around the landscape of Christianity, spreading bad seed?
I can’t tell you how many unhealthy, anemic, cancerous individuals have come across my path attempting to scatter their bad seed in the garden of my life. Someone hurt them, so they want to plant that bad seed in my soil. They are bitter about an event that took place, and they want me to accept that seed of bitterness. The list goes on and on. Let’s not allow these seeds to take root. Shake off everything that happened in the past, settle in, and begin to grow again.
My friend, let us determine to allow our roots to grow deep in Christ. Know what you believe, and don’t let anything or anyone blow you off course. When you are confronted by an attack from the enemy, resist him. When temptation comes your way, stand strong. Let’s be believers who are deeply rooted, continually growing, and ever producing fruit for the kingdom.
Evangelist Steve Hill preached the Brownsville Revival for five years, is pastor emeritus of Heartland World Ministries Church and has authored 13 books, including Spiritual Avalanche. He can be reached at www.stevehill.org.