I noticed something as I watered the plants on my deck this morning. I noticed that although they were healthy, they were no longer pretty. They had become infected with weeds.
Normally, every time I water the plants, I pull off the dead flower heads and pull up any weeds I find in the pots; but we have been away for four weeks of this summer. I had asked the neighbor’s 10 year-old daughter to water the plants, and she had done a fabulous job of that; but I had not asked her to weed the pots.
And so, as I watered those flowers and vegetables in their pots this morning, I carefully pulled up the tiny weeds. As I did so, I noticed something: Some of those weeds looked an awfully lot like the plants I had placed in those pots, while others hid under the rich foliage of the healthy flowers, making it hard for me to see them. And after I had cleaned out about half of the many pots, I kind of got tired of the whole procedure and I started to leave those weeds that were less noticeable.
What will be the result of my slothfulness?
When I go out to water the plants tomorrow, I will find healthier, more well-established weeds, ones that have their roots well entwined around the roots of my flowers and vegetables. I will find weeds that are significantly harder to remove.
This all reminds me of sin.
The bible tells us: “But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death.” (James 1:14-15)
Thus, temptation is like those little weeds. If we pull them up by the roots the moment we see them, they will not conceive sin. But if we don’t keep watch, they will grow, giving birth to spiritual death.
Let’s also remember that: “Evildoers are snared by their own sin…” (Proverbs 29:6)
So what do we do to keep these “weeds” under control so that the “gardens” of our hearts can be pure and beautiful and bear the fruit of God’s spirit?
God’s Word says: “and we take every thought captive to make it obey Christ. We are also ready to punish every act of disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.” (2Cor 10:5-6, NET)
In other words, we analyze every thought in our heads, comparing it to the Truth of how God’s Word suggests we live. If it doesn’t line up, we “take it captive”, we send it away. And as we search our hearts, when we see any “weeds” that have been allowed in the past to grow up, we deal with them. We pull them up and discard them.
Let’s not forget Peter’s excellent advice: “Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour. Resist him, strong in your faith, because you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are enduring the same kinds of suffering.” (1Pet 5:8-9, NET)
As I examined my potted plants this morning, God began to speak to me about a little “weed” I had noticed in my heart a few days ago, that I had been too lazy to remove. Somehow I “liked” that little weed, and I didn’t want to get rid of it. Not yet. But God’s message was clear: The longer I let it “grow” in the “garden” of my heart, the more its roots would entangle with the good fruit I want to grow there, and the more this little “weed” will steal the water and nutrients of the “soil” of my heart, serving to “starve” and “dehydrate” the good fruit of the Spirit. I needed to get rid of it before it overtook the “garden” of my heart.
I fell to my knees and pulled up that weed by its roots, I gave it to God, and I repented of having allowed it to grow there.
Boy do I feel better!
And boy is it ever easier to act loving and kind, to be patient and gentle, to have joy and faith.
Want to truly bear the fruit of the Spirit?
Then it is important to remove the weeds of sin. Ask God to reveal them to you, and then “pull them up” by their “roots”.
Oh, and if you want to keep the garden of your heart clean, it is best to take personal responsibility for examining it daily. Only then will you find the “weeds” of sin before they take over your heart.
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.