Spring has sprung here in SW Arkansas and so I am inspired to get out and work in the yard before the blazing summer heat rears its ugly head. Once summer hits, I tend to hunker down inside next to the a/c until the first batch of Trick or Treaters comes by . ;)
As I have been cleaning out flower beds and planting shrubs and trees, I've been thinking about the similarities between Christianity and gardening, specifically weeding. Pulling weeds is one of my least favorite parts of gardening, but without it my landscaping would blend right into my lawn.
|Photo by domdeen|
Weeding is a continual process. I have to check my garden and pluck the ugly stuff out on a regular basis to keep the weeds at bay. Whenever I slack off on weeding (which I often do), my weeds multiply, and if I'm not careful they can quickly get out of control. As a Christian, you must examine your heart, your motives and your thoughts daily in order to remove the weeds that Satan tries to plant in you. That way, as Barney Fife would say, you can "nip it in the bud."
"Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you-- unless indeed you fail the test?" 2 Cor. 13:5.
"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded." James 4:8.
To remove a weed for good, grab it at the root. Sometimes weeds break off before I can get a good hold on them. The root that is left behind typically grows back into a weed again in a few days. I could go back and forth with the weed like that forever or I could reach down, put forth the extra effort, and pull it up at the root. Sin has to be plucked out by the roots. Instead of keeping a temptation at arms length, remove it from your life completely. Otherwise it will be a constant battle which will leave you spiritually exhausted.
"If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell." Mttw 18:9.
"Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed." I Cor. 5:7.
Pulling weeds may require the help of friends. Sometimes I run across a thicker weed that is too much for me to handle on my own so I call the hubs to help. He jerks it out like a dandelion because is a lot stronger than I am. There is no shame in asking your Christian friends to help you with sins and temptations in your life. It makes you stronger, your friends stronger and the church stronger when you admit your weaknesses and seek the godly advice and wisdom of those who are mature in the faith.
"Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety." Proverbs 11:14.
"Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17.
Pulling weeds can be painful, but the end result is worth it. I don't know about you, but bending over to jerk weeds out of the ground is hard on my back. Those ugly, thorny weeds sometimes get lodged in my skin, leaving annoying splinters. It's all worth it when I look at my flower beds and see only flowers! Removing sin from can be a painful process. It quickly entrenches itself in your life and often affects more than just you. You may not only have to remove the sin, but mend relationships with others as well. On the bright side, the sin is gone and you walking, once again, in step with God. I can't think of anything better than that!
"But if we are living in the light as God is in the light, we have fellowship with each other and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we claim to have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." I John 1:7-9
I know none of these thoughts is new or earth shattering, but it has been a good reminder for me to spend more time caring for my spiritual garden. What lessons have you learned from working in your garden?