Lately, every chance I get, I am outside in the yard and garden. Now don’t get me wrong, I am very bad at growing things, except for weeds. I decided to start seedlings inside this year, and they all died. I have a fairly black thumb, and can only keep very stubborn plants alive, like roses and petunias. But nevertheless, I refuse to give up, so I keep going out there and trying.
My intention was to plant my seedlings in the bed out front, so weeks ago I pulled all the weeds, added compost, and turned over all the soil. I went out a week or two later and pulled all the baby weeds that were trying to start growing again. My mission this week is to go buy plants that someone without a black thumb has started, and finally plant my vegetable garden. But as I was out mowing the lawn today (yes, that’s my job because my husband is allergic and too manly to wear a mask), I noticed that the weeds were back with a vengeance. Even in my lawn, which has been untreated for several years now due to lack of time, lack of funds, lack of a spreader, the list goes on, I noticed that the grass itself was not half as high as the weeds that were growing in it. And trust me, once I plant those plants, if I don’t weed the garden, the weeds will overwhelm them, growing taller and more numerous, and eventually choking out the good plants.
I don’t know about you, but I see a parallel here to our spiritual lives. (Jesus obviously did too, since so many of his parables are about plants and farming.) Part of what we need to do if we want a healthy spiritual life, a healthy relationship with God, is to make sure the weeds don’t choke out the good growth. Our sins are like weeds. If left unchecked, they grow so much faster than anything good in us and eventually kill off the good. Sin wants to take over everything, and if we don’t get rid of it, it surely will. With enough time and neglect, nothing good will be left at all.
So what can we do to the weeds that threaten to overwhelm? In my garden, I rip them out. Sadly, however, many grow back because I wasn’t able to rip out all the roots that grow deep underground. Then I have to rip them out once again. When we remove sin from our own lives, do we get down to the root of the problem? Do we understand what caused that sin in the first place, and have we planned how to prevent it from sprouting back up as a problem in our lives? Weeds are stubborn, and so is sin. It takes a lot of persistence to get rid of both.
What else can we do about weeds? Maybe we can just cut them short, or we don’t have time to rip them all out, so we just rip out some of them. But when we just cut them back partially without removing them, they grow back even faster and they multiply. Aren’t our sins like that too? We try to keep them under control, but it usually doesn’t work when some of the sin remains.
How about weed killer? I like to think of God’s Word as sin killer. It’s about the only thing that can get to the root, and unlike most weed killers, it only kills off the bad and leaves the good stronger. Okay, so it’s not a perfect analogy, but one day maybe they will invent a weed killer that only kills weeds and not other plants. Just like weed killer gives us more power in getting rid of weeds, God’s Word, both the scriptures and the way God communicates to our hearts, is ultimately the effective way to get rid of sin in our lives. Just like Roundup kills weeds permanently, God can get rid of sin for good too if we trust that He will.
Please comment with your best gardening tips! Spiritually analogous or otherwise.