I’ll be fighting weeds until the day I die. I invest money, spend time in gloves and work clothes, seek guidance from the experts, but the weeds always come back. I don’t like them, I don’t want them, and no matter what I do, I can’t keep them away permanently. I shouldn’t be surprised:
17-19 He told the Man:
“Because you listened to your wife
and ate from the tree
That I commanded you not to eat from,
‘Don’t eat from this tree,’
The very ground is cursed because of you;
getting food from the ground
Will be as painful as having babies is for your wife;
you’ll be working in pain all your life long.
The ground will sprout thorns and weeds,
you’ll get your food the hard way,
Planting and tilling and harvesting,
sweating in the fields from dawn to dusk,
Until you return to that ground yourself, dead and buried;
you started out as dirt, you’ll end up dirt.” (Genesis 3:17-19, The Message)
Weeds don’t belong; they divert nutrients from the rest of my yard and landscaping, and they look terrible. I spent almost four hours pulling weeds in the front and side yards of my house after lunch this past weekend. I filled five kitchen sized garbage bags. I had to kneel or sit by each one, use my special weed remover tool, and carefully dig each weed out by the roots. You see, getting the entire root is essential. Otherwise, the leftover root fragments will likely bring new weeds to the surface within a couple of days. It is a long, slow moving process. I haven’t even done the back yard yet.
When I compare weeds to other areas of life, I’m talking about personal habits, decisions, or anything else that shouldn’t be a part of your world. Some are easy to see, like over the top drinking, irresponsible eating habits, or a time and soul consuming addiction to pornography. Others are more subtle, like “justified” concealed gossip, severe laziness, repeatedly blaming others for your own perceived failures, or even sitting around accomplishing nothing watching television every night. Just like weeds, these things steal our attention and energy away from what we’re called to do, and we waste our opportunities to be what God intended each of us to be. It isn’t just about appearances. Although I finished my front and side yards, when I saw the weeds in my backyard it was depressing. Depressing because it looks terrible, for sure. But also depressing because I worked for hours already, and the work still isn’t done.
What sort of weeds are a part of your life? How deep do their roots go? In what ways are they seemingly smothering away your blessings and opportunities? What is stamping out your ability to live a life of faith in Christ? Getting rid of the weeds in your life is hard work, there is no denying it. Sometimes the roots go very deep. Will you take the time needed to do the hard work to address the weeds and dig up each root? Here is some advice…
They’ll Be back: They will always pop back up, in one form or another. No matter what you do, you’re going to see these “weeds” again in your life. Don’t get discouraged, and make it a regular part of your routine to examine your surroundings. Just like working in the yard, the more often you yank them out by the roots, the less of a struggle it will be to keep things in order. The longer you ignore them, the more they spread and damage everything around them.
Get them before their roots grow: It is easier to yank a weed out of the lawn before the root grows deep and wide. If left alone too long, it will spawn new weeds all around. Sin, when left unchecked in your life, will destroy everything around it. Look closely at your own yard, both out front, and in back hidden behind the fence.
The earlier the better: It is a lot easier to pull weeds in March than in the heat of August. The hotter the day gets, the easier it is to quit and let things slide. The older we get, the more our choices become more automatic and almost like reflexes. The life decisions we make early on can define who we are for years to come, and likely for the rest of our lives.
As you look for the weeds and their roots, ask God to search your life as well. Listen to His voice, and get rid of those things that don’t belong. Make this a part of your regular routine.