Growing a beautiful garden takes a lot of work, and so does growing a beautiful life. If you’ve ever been around a garden, I’m sure you are familiar with one of the most common gardening tasks: weeding.
As a child, I remember hating pulling weeds, but it was something that had to be done, and I couldn’t get out of it, no matter how hard I tried! My hands would get dirty, grunge would get under my fingernails. Thistles would leave invisible slivers in my fingers, and my knees and back would ache. It was such hard work, and I despised the process. However, there was nothing more gratifying than the moment when I finished and stepped back to survey a clean, cultivated patch.
And weeds just keep growing! So no matter how many weeds I pulled one week, in just a few days they would be back!! I’d clean the weeds out, clear the patch of anything but the flowers or vegetables that were supposed to be there. Then I’d wander off to do something else, but less than a week later, those annoying little green monsters were back in full force!!!
As a kid, I never connected weeds to real life, but as I pondered the idea of the garden of life, I suddenly realized how much weeds are like those sinful things in our lives that need to be rooted out and discarded. You all know what I’m talking about. We each have our own particularly nasty weeds: pride, hatred, fear, discontent, jealousy, anger, spitefulness, deceit…the list goes on and on and on. These weeds start out small and insignificant, but if allowed to grow can choke out the beautiful things in life, leaving behind a tangled, ugly mess. Consider these verses from Matthew:
“A farmer planted seed. As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road, and birds ate it. Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn’t put down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled by the weeds. Some fell on good earth, and produced a harvest beyond his wildest dreams” (Matt. 13:3-8, Message).
The weeds completely strangled the good seed, ruining that part of the garden. Think for a minute about your life and the weeds that are growing in you. What is it that chokes out your good seed? Which weeds are flawing your character and ruining the beauty of your wonderful garden? Take some time to seek out those weeds, identify them, and begin to pull them out!
Remember, however, that weeds don’t just go away. They are persistent. Some times you have to dig very deep to find all the roots of a particular weed. If you ever stop the process of weeding, your garden will soon be overgrown again! Unlike good character habits, weeds don’t need to be tended to grow. They seem to come from nowhere and take off on their own with no urging, wrapping around and choking out all the other plants. In order to nurture your life into a beautiful garden, you must be serious about getting rid of your weeds. Pull them out mercilessly, and be sure you discard them far from your garden so that no nasty seeds fall back into your life and cause more problems!