“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
idolatry and witchcraft;
hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.
I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is
love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Against such things there is no law.
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”
This past weekend was so beautiful! The sun was shining, the breeze was softly blowing, the birds were chirping…just GORGEOUS! The type of weather that beckons me to take the kids out to play in the yard, bathe in the warm sunshine and behold the beauty all around.
And then, while we are out playing, I notice the weeds. Threatening to take over the flower beds and infiltrate those mounds around the little trees in our yard. And ants! Ugh! Why would they want to spoil my day like that!
So, Aspen and I drag a beach towel out to the front yard, lay it out in front of the flower bed, put on our gloves, and start pulling those weeds. About ¾ of the way finished, I look down at that sweet child of mine and notice something on her little pink ruffle skirt: a huge, brown spider! Naturally, I freak out, slap that sucker off of my baby girl and grab her up to the sidewalk. Yeah. I’m a bit over dramatic, and a little done with that front flower bed! (My wonderful husband finished that last bit of weed pulling in the front yard for me)
We move on to the back yard, starting with power washing the falling-apart-deck. Not too bad of a job; Aspen sure enjoyed getting sprayed with the hose. Now moving on again, to weed pulling- around the little tree mounds and then just a little around the 10x bigger-than-the-front flower bed. Whew! I was sweating, dirty, and sore. Although I was wearing gloves, my fingers hurt from digging into the soil and mulch.
So I move to cleaning the too-big-for-our-tiny-deck patio furniture. Spray it all down, enjoying the breeze blowing the water droplets onto my hot face. I put the umbrella up and feel something on me- little spiders are climbing up the umbrella pole and onto my arm! Aagh! What is up with these spiders today!?! At this point, I am finished. It was almost time for evening service anyways, so I take off my gloves and begin getting my family ready for church.
While I was fighting off spiders and pulling stubborn weeds, I kept thinking about how much that resembles my life and the daily struggles that I encounter. Weeds are so easily grown. They just sprout up and normally they aren’t alone. Kind of like sin- normally where there is one, another is lurking by closely and sometimes, you can’t see them, either for their hiding so well, or because you aren’t looking for them, you aren’t keeping watch so they can’t take over your garden.
And what exactly do weeds do to an otherwise beautiful and flourishing garden? They choke the life out of it! They break it down; steal what makes it beautiful to begin with…the nutrients, the food, the life that makes it grow. Does that sound familiar to you?
"Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life,
the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word,
making it unfruitful"
My life is the garden. My sins are the weeds. And it’s a painful experience, seeing them in our life, knowing that we must put on our gloves and work super hard to extract them before serious damage is done. It hurts. Like my hands, knees and arms did after a day of yard work. Actually, it hurts much more, more deeply than a physical pain. Sometimes we put our hearts into those weeds; we have strong ties to them.
An example from my own life is my love for food. I extremely enjoy good food that is not so good for me. But, when my weight was the highest (and it was almost a year since I gave birth to our last child), I knew what had to be done. I began to see food as a weed in my life. I needed to take measures to remove the weed and bring that nutrient-stripped soil back to life. So began my healthy-living –journey, and now 15 pounds later, I am feeling much better. But that weed sure is tricky, the devil uses it to tempt me each day, proving to make the weed pulling/weed watching a part of my daily routine.
Because we all know how those weeds are: taken care of daily, they can be kept under control; but when left unsupervised, next thing you know they have taken over completely and getting rid of them becomes this enormous task that is not easily done, and guess what, it hurts that much more!
“Put to death, therefore,
whatever belongs to your earthly nature:
sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.”
Food isn’t my only weed though, I have issues with money, money management, jealousy, pride, quick-temper, insecurity…Anything can become a weed if it is placed before God or if it is not used the way that God intended for you to use it. And God may not only remove the weeds, the bad, the sin from your life- He may have to prune away some of the good growth in order to completely remove the bad.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.
He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit,
while every branch that does bear fruit
he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
Take heart, there is a way to eliminate the weeds, and He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to die for our sins; so that we could be set free from these weeds in our lives.
“Be alert and of sober mind.
Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
1 Peter 5:8
We must keep watch over our garden and tend it daily. Stay in His Word so that our focus is on Him and when these weeds threaten us, we can be aware and stop it before it begins or gets out of hand. Talk with Him so that He can show us what we have been neglecting, which areas need to be weeded and fertilized.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.
And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.
But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
1 Corinthians 10:13
God created us to glorify His Name. If we neglect our lives and continue to allow sin to take over, how then are we demonstrating God’s glory to the world? We must cultivate and nurture our relationship with the Lord so that we can be a beautiful garden for the Lord. So let's put on our garden gloves and set out for some weed pulling, then add some fertilizer, water daily, and watch for any re-growth of those pesky weeds. Amen?
“This is to my Father’s glory,
that you bear much fruit,
showing yourselves to be my disciples.”