June 11, 2012

The Toughest Weeds

On Saturday, my husband and I got up at 6 am to do yard work.

Yeah, I know. Exciting.

I had the wonderful task of pulling weeds in the side yard, which is full of rocks.

Some of the weeds were easy peasy. They came up just like that. One pull and they were toast.

Others took a few good yanks. I had to put a little bit of oomph into it.

And still others had taken root so deep that I struggled, and struggled, and still struggled to get them free of the dirt.

With some of these, I got the surface part torn away, but the root remained. I’ll have to get them next time, after they’ve re-grown.

And some I never got up at all. I gave up. I had to. My fingers burned in the attempt. My leg muscles quivered.

Frankly, it was too tiring, too much work, to get them up and outta there.

Okay, so why am I telling you all of this?

Because even though I was half asleep as I yanked at the weeds, God used it to speak spiritual truth to me.

He’s pretty cool like that.

We’ve all probably heard the analogy that weeds are like sin. They grow up next to the good things and choke the life out of our spiritual walk.

So those weeds that came up like that? They’re like the “little sins” in our lives, the ones that are occasional or that we don’t really make a habit of. Sins that, if we really focused on ridding our lives of them, we’d likely succeed with the help of God and possibly friends.

But those tougher weeds—aka more habitual sins, things like pride, or gossip, or pornography, or whatever—well, it takes a lot more focus to rid our lives of those.

Here are some principles I learned while actually weeding that I can apply to my spiritual life:

You have to build certain muscles to get the tougher weeds up. Spiritual muscles like praying, and hiding God’s Word in your heart, and fellowshipping with other believers.

You absolutely have to dig out the roots, or the weed will keep returning. In other words, sometimes it’s not enough to eliminate the surface part of the sin. You have to go deep enough to figure out what’s causing the sin. (I’ve heard that the root of most, if not all, sins is pride. Interesting thought.)

Once you’ve pulled the larger weeds, the smaller ones don’t seem so tough. By ridding our lives of the deeper, larger sins, often the smaller or less habitual ones become easier to get rid of. It’s really more about daily relying on Jesus than anything else. Once you’re in the habit, it’s harder for Satan to gain a foothold.

Using resources available to you, like weed killer and a rake, makes pulling up the weeds a whole lot easier. To get rid of sin, use the spiritual resources we’ve been given, like prayer, the Bible, and other believers who can support you and keep you accountable.

The more often you weed, the less chance weeds have of taking root. Likewise, the more often we confess our sins and focus on living holy before the Lord, the less likely a sin is to take root in our heart.

Your Turn: Any other ways that getting rid of real weeds is like getting rid of spiritual ones?

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

24 comments:

  1. We saturate weeds with Weed Killer, which is like the Holy Spirit saturating our lives and killing the roots as He continually sanctifies us.

    Linds, this post was wonderful. I love it when God speaks to us through every day life and teaches us valuable lessons! You RAWK!

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    1. I love your thoughts on the Holy Spirit. Totally right on!

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  2. Applying this today.

    The time it takes. Doing it over and over. The care. The love of the garden.
    ~ Wendy

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    1. Ooo, love your thoughts about the love of the garden. Totally applicable.

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  3. I love pulling weeds- it gets my frustrations out and helps me feel productive. Pulling Spiritual weeds helps me feel productive as well- like I am achieving something, growing and not becoming stagnant.
    Great illustration! Love it when God teaches me things from my daily tasks.

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    1. I love to be productive! I actually cheered when I pulled a really big weed out. It took me like 5 minutes and my dog looked at me funny when I declared, "Yes!"

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  4. Great analogy, Lindsay, and so true!

    Interesting because I was just talking with my son about how good it felt to pull up weeds by their roots--there's something so satisfying about it. I think the same is true with sin.

    Thanks so much for this post!

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    1. See my response to TC! Hard work is always satisfying, isn't it? You appreciate the result all the more when you have to work for it.

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  5. We do what Jessica does..saturate the weeds with the weed killer which I see as God's Word in our lives. When we forget to add the weed killer, the next storm that comes along drenches the yard and, poof! dozens of weeds pop up all over.

    Staying in God's Word is vital or those sins creep in.

    Great life lesson!! Thanks for sharing and reminding.

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    1. I hadn't thought about how storms bring new weeds. What a great addition here! Thanks, Ruth. :)

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  6. I love this analogy - I love when God uses the natural to teach us a spiritual truth, especially when it comes to weeds & seeds. It's kind of funny, but I've always shied away from using weed killer because I've pictured getting to the bottom of a root using my own hands as the only "real" way to rid myself of a literal and figurative weed. I love what Jessica said about the weed killer being like the saturating presence of the Holy Spirit! An even better way to get rid of those deep ones!

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    1. Yep, we definitely need the help of the HS to get down deep and kill those roots!

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  7. So true! I can think of a few weeds in my life and even more, how easy (and tempting) it is to just whack off the top. But its really at the root where these buggers need to go. The Bible is my weed killer--all the more reasons to keep God's word written on my heart. :) Thanks for the great post!

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    1. It IS so easy to think we've gotten rid of the problem when really, our deeper sins are lurking beneath the surface.

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  8. Thanks for doing the yard work on Saturday so you could write such an applicable blog post on Monday, Lindsay!
    Another thought: Sometimes you need help pulling those weeds! So going it alone as a believer is never a good idea. When I do yard work, I don't always see the weeds. I think I do, but it's amazing how I miss that one ... and that one ... and that one ...

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    1. Haha, you'll have to thank my husband. I would have gone back to sleep if he hadn't wanted to go!

      I love that. Seeking help from other believers. Accountability goes a long way...

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  9. This is really great stuff, Lindsay. (Also, as silly as it sounds, I love yard work and probably, actually, would've been excited to get up at 6 to pull weeds. I'm weird.)

    I loved Beth's additional comment--that sometimes you need help pulling the spiritual weeds. So true. And also, I think there's a great truth to this analogy, too: No matter what, we are always stronger than the weeds. We are. Even when we don't always feel like it, even though we might have to pull incredibly hard. And with sin, because of Christ, we truly are stronger! The more we remind ourselves of that, the more we'll believe and the harder we'll fight against the weeds of sin that sprout up.

    Love this!

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    1. You can come pull weeds at my house any time! Just hop a plane and voila! :P

      I love, love, love your thought that we are stronger than the weeds. Makes me think of that verse that says God will not give us more than we are able to handle. There is no temptation, no sin, that cannot be overcome by the power of Christ in our lives.

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  10. I am a terrible gardner. I totally have a black thumb. But I've realized that in order to care for my plants and keep my garden weed-free, I have to learn about each plant and what it requires to grow and bloom. I have to make sure that what I'm using to kill the weeds won't harm the blooms, too.

    So I spend time in the Word, quiet, focused time with Him, listening for His voice and guidance to show me which plants need a little TLC and where the weeds need to be pulled.

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    1. I really like what you said about making sure you don't kill the blooms in an attempt to kill the weeds. Brilliant!

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  11. Oh, wow, Lindsay! I LOVE this. What a great teaching post, equally so in the comments. Another thing about weeds, obvious I guess, is that we have to be persistent. Our yard will probably take all summer with some here and there. Kind of like sanctification in our lives. A long process, but as God helps us we slowly begin to see those changes.

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    1. Thanks, Julia! :) And I love what you said...it's so true that getting rid of weeds AND sin takes an enormous amount of persistence, of dousing them with weed killer over and over again. It's not just done in one fell swoop.

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  12. Thanks for this. I'm giving a lesson in church on exactly this topic and was so grateful for your wonderful insights. Something I would add, that you touched on, but I loved the way this was put in my reading: The solution for a weed-ridden heart is to employ the Master Gardener, the Savior Jesus Christ. He has the power to heal any heart. He requires only one thing: we must offer our hearts fully to Him and let Him work in His own way.
    I love the idea of the Savior as "The Master Gardener." Anyway, just something I was thinking about. Thanks again.

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    1. Hey MJ! Thanks so much for visiting. You are so right...the only one who can truly rid our hearts of weeds is Jesus. We can tug and tug on our own, but sometimes all we'll get is bruised hands and a frustrated spirit. Until we yield to the Master Gardener, we cannot know true peace.

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